By Alex Bridges -- firstname.lastname@example.org
WOODSTOCK -- A court fight between Strasburg and a town resident over unpaid trash fees may not go to a jury trial as the debtor wants.
Judge Dennis L. Hupp on Thursday in Shenandoah County Circuit Court scheduled July 26 to hear motions posed by the town to deny Dwight Henry a jury trial for the case as requested by the defendant. The town's attorney also has sought a summary judgment to, in effect, find for the plaintiff and order Henry to pay money owed to Strasburg.
Strasburg claims Henry, who calls himself "Taxpayer Henry," owes the town nearly $800 in trash-collection fees. Henry appealed the ruling in favor of the town, which originated in Shenandoah County General District Court, to the circuit court, at a price of $900 in civil bonds and $129 in related costs.
Henry, of 194 Abby Lane, has challenged the validity and constitutionality of Strasburg's ordinance governing the collection of recycling and trash, as well as water and sewer service, and the related fees. Henry has argued he should not have to pay the town to collect his trash, the cost of which Strasburg includes in its bill with water and sewer services.
Hupp on May 9 scheduled the matter for a jury trial Sept. 27. Henry did not appear at the hearing despite having received notice. Legal counsel for Strasburg, Nathan H. Miller, argued against Henry's request for a jury trial. At the May hearing Hupp sided with Miller and ruled the town's ordinances cited in the case were constitutionally enacted, and are valid and enforceable. Hupp rendered his decision in an order entered June 1.
But Henry claims in a filing Miller has not tried to contact him to settle the matter outside court. The defendant also claims neither Miller nor the court contacted him to determine if the Thursday hearing date would be convenient.
Henry on June 6 filed with the court clerk a request to take a plaintiff motion off the Thursday civil docket. The defendant claimed Miller failed to comply with the rules of the Virginia Supreme Court regarding the scheduling of motions. Henry states Miller failed to certify with the court by certificate "by a certification that the movant has in good faith conferred or attempted to confer with other affected parties in an effort to resolve the dispute without court action."