A lawsuit between the Baldwin County Bridge Company (BCBC) and Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) director John Cooper is heating up in Circuit Court as the dates for several hearings in the case near.

BCBC, the toll bridge company that built and has maintained the Foley Bridge Express over the Intercoastal Waterway for 22 years, filed the lawsuit against ALDOT in October over plans for ALDOT to build a new bridge not far from the toll bridge.

Several motions were entered in court over the past few days, and while a lot of them were routine motions, Cooper is now requesting some counts to be dismissed. In the motion to dismiss, Cooper claims some of the issues have already been determined in a previous case and are precluded from relitigation.

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In a court filing, Cooper's team said claims that the new bridge serves no public interest, that Cooper acted in bad faith and that Cooper's decision to build a new bridge could harm BCBC was previously litigated by Judge James Reid as part of a case in 2018. That case was initiated by ALDOT when attempting to condemn a parcel of land needed to access the new bridge.

The new motion reads, "Judge Reid, after hearing two days of live testimony from Director Cooper, the ALDOT Regional Engineer, and the president of BCBC, and receiving numerous exhibits, adjudicated all of BCBC's issues and objections against BCBC, and ruled that the new bridge was in the public interest and that Director Cooper made the decision to build the bridge, and otherwise acted "without any showing of fraud, corruption, bad faith or gross abuse of discretion."

The judge in the current case ruled the motion to dismiss will be considered next week during three days of hearings. The first hearing is scheduled for February 22.

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email erica.thomas@1819news.com.

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