Knox Cattle Company lake
The lake at The Landings on Yauger Road. Aug. 30, 2023 Credit: Cheryl Splain

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story is in response to a reader-submitted question through Open Source, a platform where readers can submit questions to the staff.

MOUNT VERNON — A Knox Pages reader asked about the status of the Knox Cattle Co. dam on Yauger Road.

The dam is the subject of a lawsuit between the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and numerous defendants. The case is in Knox County Court of Common Pleas. The objective is to determine ownership and, therefore, repair and maintenance responsibility.

The answer: The case is ongoing.

The last real progress in the cattle dam saga was in March when visiting Judge James Kimbler dismissed several parties from the suit.

At the same case-management conference, Kimbler granted the state’s motion to add Phase 7 and Phase 8 property owners in The Landings to the suit.

Since then, attorneys for the involved parties have filed an amended complaint, answers to the amended complaint, and amended answers to the amended complaint, counterclaim, and cross-claim.

Responses from property owners include the following reasons as to why they are not responsible for dam repairs:
•The city is the owner and responsible for maintenance.
•There was a failure to notify homeowners of how to maintain the lake/dam.
•It is unreasonable that a homeowners association would be owners.
•They were not notified of ownership.
•They cannot enjoy the lake; therefore, they cannot be owners.

In the filings, ODNR agrees terminology does not expressly state the dam, but it does say lake maintenance. ODNR contends you cannot maintain a lake without a dam; hence, the dam is part of the maintenance.

The state also admits that being in a watershed does not make property owners owners of the dam. The state contends the owner is one or more of the following: The Landings POA, The Landings Phase 7 and 8 property owners, and Mullins Bros.

July 31 conference

Judge Kimball held a case-management conference on July 31. It did not yield much. The only action since then is an Aug. 17 court order stating attorney Stephen Chappelear must file any dispositive motions by Oct. 15.

A dispositive motion is a motion that seeks to end a case or claim in favor of the moving party without the need for a full trial. It can dispose of the entire or part of the lawsuit and asks the court to decide the legal issues.

Additionally, the court granted permission for Mullins Bros. to file any summary judgment motions by Oct. 15.

A summary judgment is a judgment entered by the court for one party against another party without a full trial.

Counsel must respond to any motions within 28 days of Oct. 15.

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