Safer Human Medicine files legal complaint against Development Authority, seeks to enforce agreements

Published 3:35 pm Thursday, February 15, 2024

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At last month’s county commissioner meeting, the board of commissioners acknowledged a legal error in the December 11 meeting regarding Safer Human Medicine. Chair Pete Stephens stated that the public had not been properly notified of the meeting, rendering the decision not legal or binding. Shortly afterwards, on February 2, the Bainbridge-Decatur County Development Authority voted 8-1 to revoke the facility’s bond resolution. And most recently, the county commissioners followed up on their prior meeting, voting on Tuesday to reject the proposed tax abatements.

Safer Human Medicine has responded, filing a verified complaint on Tuesday against the Development Authority (referred to in subsequent documents as simply “The Authority”) in the United States District Court, specifically the Middle District of Georgia.

According to the complaint, “The Authority is refusing to fulfill its obligations under the Bond Resolution and the Bond Documents. The Authority has confirmed to the Company’s representatives that it will not close the bond transaction pursuant to the terms of the Bond Resolution and Bond Documents (as approved by the Bond Validation Order), without a court ordering its specific performance.”

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Safer Human Medicine contends in this complaint that the Authority has breeched its contract, and that it “cannot ‘revoke’ its entry into a contract.” The complaint further states that if the Authority does not close the bond transaction, the project will fail, resulting in “the loss of hundreds of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in economic investment for the City and the County.”

The document further states that this would cause irreparable harm to SHM “that cannot be remedied with money damages.”

“Section 12.11 of the Project Agreement provides that Plaintiff and the Public Authorities, including the Authority, acknowledge and agree Plaintiff would be damaged irreparably if ‘any of the provisions of [the Project Agreement] are not materially performed by the Public Authorities in accordance with their specific terms or otherwise are materially breached.’”

This complaint seeks the following relief for SHM:

1. A permanent injunction requiring the Authority to perform its obligations under the Project Agreement.

2. A permanent injunction requiring the Authority to perform its obligations under the PILOT Agreement.

3. In the alternative, SHM be awarded compensatory damages as a result of the breech of contract.

4. SHM be awarded its litigation costs.

5. Any additional relief the court deems.

Additionally, SHM has filed a motion for an emergency hearing and shortened briefing schedule on the matter, hoping to close the $300 million bond transaction by February 29, 2024, arguing that the transaction would otherwise “unravel, leaving Plaintiff without opportunity for relief.”

The Post-Searchlight will provide updates on these legal proceedings as they continue.