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Long-Standing Feud Between Neighborhood Association, Bar Owner Lands Before Judge Again

A judge ruled not to grant relief for attorney’s fees Monday on a lawsuit stemming from a long-standing feud between a neighborhood association and a bar owner.

Members of the Cielo Vista Neighborhood Association had been sued by Mike Armstrong, the owner of east El Paso’s Three-Legged Monkey bar.

He alleged the neighbors defamed his bar, but the neighbors said they were practicing their freedom of speech. District Judge Linda Chew dismissed the lawsuit, but ruled each party had to pay for their own court costs, which include attorney’s fees.

Monday afternoon the judge stuck to her judgment about the legal fees, despite a request from the defendants to consider having Armstrong’s side handle the fees.

ABC-7 tried speaking with the defendants about the judge’s decision but they declined. Instead, the president of the Cielo Vista Neighborhood Association, who himself was not named in the lawsuit, spoke on their behalf.

Mark Benitez said he believed the legal fees in question amounted to “about $8,000-$10,000.”

Armstrong said he was satisfied with Monday’s decision but would likely appeal the judge’s ruling altogether. He said he found the defendant’s request for the legal fees “ridiculous.”

A separate lawsuit against members of the association was recently dismissed. Business owner David Cooper had also wanted to put a business at Hawkins Plaza where the Three-Legged Monkey is located. Cooper sued the association in federal court, but that lawsuit was also dismissed. The association said it is asking for legal fees to be covered in that case, too.

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