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Case Dismissed: Caucus Attorney to Appeal Case Against Dunwoody, Sister Cities

Last year, a group of legislative leaders and residents sued Gov. Nathan Deal in federal court over claims that forming the new cities was a violation of minority voting rights.

A lawsuit that claimed newly formed cities in the Atlanta metro area, like Dunwoody, should be dissolved because they violated minority voting rights has been dismissed.

U.S. District Judge Timothy C. Batten, Sr. ruled in the case last week. Dunwoody, Sandy Springs, Johns Creek, Milton and Chattahoochee Hills were named in the lawsuit.

Dunwoody Mayor Mike Davis said that when the city was incorporated in 2008 it had nothing to do with disenfranchising voters.

"We're still a part of the county. All we're trying to do is get a hold of our own zoning and our local issues," he said.

Prominent advocates of new cities, like Wendell Willard, the Sandy Springs city attorney, have said the lawsuit filed against the city and its sister cities by the Georgia Black Legislative Caucus had no merit.

In March 2011, in federal court over claims that forming the new cities was a violation of minority voting rights. The plantiffs sought to dissolve each city’s charter citing a violation of the Voting Rights Act and state legislative procedure. The caucus also wanted to launch a preemptive strike against the formation of Milton County.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution ran a portion of Batten’s opinion: "If the court were to adopt plaintiffs’ proposed benchmark, it would effectively prohibit the state from creating a municipality in any area that is predominantly white but is located within a majority-black county."

Jerome Lee, an attorney for the Caucus believes Batten, a former Sandy Springs resident, has a conflict of interest, the AJC reported. Lee added that he plans to appeal.

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