Methadone decision expected next month

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 24, 2004

A Shelby County circuit judge said Friday he will deliver a decision on whether to issue a permanent injunction against the county’s first methadone clinic next month.

Judge Dan Reeves said plaintiff and defense attorneys will have seven days each to present their final legal arguments to the court, and he will make a decision in three weeks.

During Friday’s testimony, defense attorney David Belser called a series of witnesses to prove that the clinic’s owners intended to open the business in Calera.

Witnesses testified that clinic owner Susan Staats-Sidwell searched for suitable property for the clinic in Calera before buying a building in Saginaw.

A certificate of need was issued to Sidwell on Jan. 21, with the location indicated as Calera.

A project modification was approved in May for the Saginaw location. The certificate of need applies countywide, Belser said.

Plaintiff attorney Mickey Johnson and district attorney Robby Owens countered, claiming that Sidwell defrauded Saginaw residents by opening the clinic in their community without notifying them.

&uot;Our issue from the beginning has been whether or not the citizens of Saginaw are entitled to notice of what kinds of business are going into their community, and whether the defendant exercised that right,&uot; Owens said.

Reeves continually reminded attorneys that the issue the court was considering was whether clinic owners defrauded Saginaw residents.

On several occasions throughout court proceedings, however, testimony veered toward the pros and cons of methadone treatment