Pelham attorney plans methadone appeal

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Mickey L. Johnson, a Pelham-based attorney, expects to file an application for a re-hearing by the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals on Thursday or Friday regarding its recent decision that appears to clear the way for a Methadone Treatment Center in Shelby County.

The court ruled 4-1 that there was no misrepresentation by Shelby County Treatment Center which plans to open a Methadone treatment center in Saginaw and that District Attorney Robby Owens had no authority to bring the case.

The ruling in favor of Shelby County Treatment Center (SCTC), Susan Staats-Sidwell, Dr. Glen Archibald and Frank Combs was issued Friday, Oct. 21.

&8220;It was never proven that a misrepresentation was made by Shelby County Treatment Center and therefore the injunction was lifted. This allows my client, after two years, to begin operation of this facility that is so needed in Shelby County,&8221; said David Belser, who represnted Sidwell and SCTC.

When contacted Tuesday morning, however, attorney Mickey Johnson, who entered the case on behalf of those trying to stop the clinic said, &8220;What I intend to file this week is an application for a re-hearing with the Court of Civil Appeals.&8221;

He said he would file for the re-hearing on Thursday or Friday.

He said depending upon the outcome, he may file for a writ of certiorari with the Alabama Supreme Court to hear the case.

Johnson said essentially, he will challenge all the premises used to determine the outcome of the case, no misrepresentation, the service area and that the notice provided to the neighborhood was insufficient.

Johnson said he has not discussed with Owens the court’s ruling concerning his authority to bring the case.

Belser said, &8220;Until an appeal is filed, we are going forward.

Even if an appeal is filed and a stay is not granted by the Appellate Court, we will move forward as fast as possible.

&8220;If a reconsideration request is being filed, it is my opinion that it is only being done to delay this project because the Court of Civil Appeals spoke so strongly on the issues and was unequivocal in its findings that the injunction should never have been issued.&8221;

According to the opinion issued by the Appeals Court, &8220;The state Health Plan does not designate a geographical area for methadone treatment … the county is the health-service area. Calera and Saginaw are both in Shelby County … SHPDA had no regulation requiring that any further notice be given to the residents of Saginaw when SCTC sought a modification of the CON to change the location of the clinic from Calera to Saginaw.&8221;

The ruling stated that project modification requests such as the one by SCTC to change locations from Calera to Saginaw are routinely granted by the CON Board