Judge appointed to hear Jefferson County sewer lawsuit

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - A judge was appointed Monday to hear a lawsuit brought by a bank against Jefferson County over the sewer debt crisis.

Alabama Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb appointed Russell County Circuit Judge Albert Johnson to hear the case brought by Bank of New York Mellon. The bank was suing Jefferson County in state court for not raising enough revenue to pay off the sewer debt.

A successful lawsuit could lead to a receiver being appointed by the state court to oversee the county's sewer debt.

A similiar effort failed in federal court, when U.S. District Judge David Proctor ruled he did not have jurdisdiction to appoint a receiver with rate-making power.

Jefferson County owes almost $4 billion on its sewer loans. It has not paid anything recently on the debt because of forbearance agreements with investmant banks and bond insurers.