Wal-Mart must have gone “postal” this week, when its attorneys failed to properly notify defendents in a lawsuit because they used the wrong postage on their letters. Wal-Mart was rushing to meet a deadline for filing an appeal of the state Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) decision to back the city of Central Point over a rejection of a Wal-Mart supercenter. Having lost at the city level, and the LUBA level, Wal-Mart had to pursue its plans for a 207,000 s.f. supercenter by going to the Appellate Court. Wal-Mart filed its papers on July 1st, just before the end of the 21 day appeal process. They met the time deadline, but blew the whole deal on postage. The retailer was required by state law to file all papers by certified mail. They did so with the court, but the city and a citizen’s group were notified only by first class mail. The court then dismissed the case because the appeal was “not considered to have been timely filed.” Residents in Central Point who backed the city’s rejection of the plan, were thrilled with the news of Wal-Mart’s postage problems.
I have seen volunteer citizen’s groups make simple mistakes about proper notification, but in this case, Wal-Mart was paying its lawyers good money to represent them. Maybe their final check to the law firm should be posted without a stamp. Central Point thus becomes the latest addition to the growing number of Oregon communities that have sent Wal-Mart supercenters packing. To see similar stories, search Newflash by “Oregon.”