For a second time, jury sides with family in Frankenmuth lawsuit - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

For a second time, jury sides with family in Frankenmuth lawsuit

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(03/27/2014) - For the second time, a family has won a legal battle against Frankenmuth over selling its land to Walmart.

Ronald Loesel and his family sued the city, after the city council passed a law restricting the size of stores.

The question now is, will Frankenmuth appeal the court's decision?
"It was hard keeping it together, its been a long, long haul," says Ron Loesel.

He describes the road traveled by himself, his wife Gayle, and other family members.  The Loesel's own about 38 acres on the north side of Frankenmuth.  About ten years ago Walmart offered the family four million dollars for the land. The company planned to build a store here.  The family and its attorneys claimed an zoning ordinance passed by the Frankenmuth City Council a short time later limiting building size on the property violated their 14th Amendment equal protection rights.

"It took awhile to figure out we were the only ones affected," he remembers.

A jury awarded the family $3.6 six million in 2010, but that verdict was overturned two years later.  A new trial began earlier this month, with the same result, but an even larger award for the family, $3.8 million.

"Its not the money as it is just the fact that someone agreed that what was done to us, wasn't right," Loesel says.

Walmart eventually gave up plans to build in Frankenmuth and the land is still being farmed by a Loesel family member. Further legal action is possible. The Loesel's attorney is Andrew Kochanowski.

"The city can appeal again, I feel very strongly and comfortable that they would lose that appeal outright and in very quick time,"says Kochanowski.

"Two independent juries, twelve people, found the same thing, hopefully that is the end of it," Loesel adds.

Frankenmuth City Manager Charles Graham says he is disappointed with the verdict, and the decision on whether or not to appeal will be made by the city's insurance liability provider.

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