HIGHWOODS PROPERTIES, INC. ET AL. v. CITY OF MEMPHIS (Tenn. Sup. Ct. July 27, 2009)
The Plaintiffs filed an action for declaratory judgment seeking to set aside a consent judgment entered in a lawsuit between property owners in an area of a proposed annexation and the City of Memphis. The earlier lawsuit, which the Plaintiffs failed to timely join, was a quo warranto challenge to an ordinance purporting to annex certain territory contiguous to the boundaries of the City. The consent judgment provided for the annexation of the territory described within the ordinance in two stages, with a portion of the area having an effective annexation date in 2006 and the remainder having an effective date in 2013. The trial court dismissed the complaint and the Court of Appeals affirmed. We granted permission to appeal in order to determine the propriety of the challenge to the consent decree approving of the two-step annexation. We hold that (1) the Plaintiffs are not authorized to file a declaratory judgment action challenging the consent judgment as violative of the terms of the annexation ordinance; and (2) the consent judgment did not create an unconstitutional taxing structure. The judgment of dismissal is, therefore, affirmed.
Opinion may be found at the TBA website: