County’s insurance company settled suit with Top of the Hill over treatment center block
Published 2:10 pm Thursday, December 16, 2021
A lawsuit filed by Top of the Hill against the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors was settled for $400,000 by the county’s insurance company.
County Administrator said that while the insurance company covered the $400,000 payment, the county had to pay a deductible of $10,000.
The lawsuit was filed against the county after the Board put a cease and desist order on Top of the Hill after it was determined the developer was renovating a building formerly known as the Swim Hutch to rent it to an addiction treatment center under the name Crossroads back in 2018. Crossroads is a company that provides treatment to those dealing with opioid addiction, previous coverage states.
Community uproar, along with the move by the Board to use a county ordinance to block the deal, eventually led to the company pulling out of the deal, and caused the developer to file suit to recoup the expense of renovating the building. That expense included filling in a large swimming pool inside the building along with other work. The county ordinance was used to block Crossroads moving to that facility, which is located off of Sycamore Road just outside the limits of the city of Picayune, because of fears the treatment center would use methodone as part of the treatment program.
Previous coverage states that a lawsuit filed by Crossroads against the Board of Supervisors was later dismissed without prejudice back in 2018.
Board President Sandy Kane Smith said the result of the case between Top of the Hill and the Board has the Board ready to hold discussions about ordinances that may be necessary in the county. He added that the insurance company made the decision to settle the case out of court, informing the Board that if they did not agree with the insurance company’s decision, the county would be liable for any payouts should the case go to court and the county lost.
“I just want the public to know that the (case) didn’t just go away. We were sued and we lost,” Smith said.
Smith said he still supports the Board’s decision to block the project because it was one of the most controversial topics he has dealt with during his time in office.
“There was no second guess that my heart was in the right place to try to stop it,” Smith said.
An attempt to get a comment from Robert Thigpen with Top of the Hill about the settlement has so far been unsuccessful.