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Sterling Heights Settles Freedom Hill Suits

STERLING HEIGHTS, MI (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — City officials in Sterling Heights, Michigan, have reached an $18.75 million settlement with two insurance agencies that refused to pay the city after it lost a 2-year court battle with Hillside Productions Inc., the operators of the Freedom Hill Amphitheater.

Hillside and the city had reached a $31 million settlement, ending a series of civil suits that accused city officials of harassment and of conspiring to close the Freedom Hill Amphitheater because of noise and traffic complaints, according to the Detroit Free Press.

The city sold bonds to cover that settlement while negotiating with three insurers over who would handle the hefty tab.

John Ellison, an attorney representing the city, said Sterling Heights would likely go to trial with the third insurer, United National Insurance Co., in the near future.

“Our discussions with the other party have no advanced very far,” Ellison told the paper. “I think what we have been able to accomplish is a positive development for the city. Sometimes the court system isn’t as fast as you would like it to be, but in the end we think it is a fair settlement.”

The settlement calls for Specialty National Insurance Co. to pay the city $8.5 million and General Star Indemnity Co. to pay $10.25 million. –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers