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Fish House lawsuit

PENSACOLA  --  It's an ugly fight between a local business and the mayor's office.
Fish House owner Collier Merrill is suing the City of Pensacola --seeking damages-- after the city tried to say the restaurant owed money.

It's a story of politics and leases with millions of dollars potentially on the table.
And the latest twist in this saga has the City of Pensacola asking that a lawsuit brought by the Fish House be dismissed.

They say you  can't fight city hall but local businessman Collier Merrill isn't buying that.

His Fish House restaurant has been battling with the city after being hit with a notice saying the city was entitled to a percentage of sales going back 13 years.

That notice was later rescinded but not before it hurt business.
Merrill decided to take it to court.
Collier Merrill
"For this to come out of nowhere, and now we've had to fight it every day, we're tired of it. It's time to go to the court and have them solve it. For the city now to try to delay that, you know it's just ridiculous."

That delay is a notice for dismissal of Merrill's case filed on the city's behalf by local attorney Bob Kerrigan.

Kerrigan told us by phone that the lawsuit was filed improperly and without the needed notice.

The city claims that they agreed to withdraw the notice of default on the grounds that the two sides would negotiate issues with the Fish House lease.

Ashton Hayward
"We agreed to rescind the notice and works towards a resolution. And my attorney was going to have a meeting with Mr. Merrill's attorney, and then that meeting was called off a couple weeks ago and then they filed suit against the city."

Collier Merrill
"You know we tried to work with the city. We weren't getting anywhere. We want it in front of a judge. Let's make a declaratory judgment."

That notice for dismissal has been filed. We'll wait and see how a judge rules in this case, but it's pretty clear that we haven't seen the end of this story just yet.