VILNIUS - The Lithuanian telecommunications company Teo LT is suing Vilnius resident Vytautas Petrauskas for an initial 12 million litas (3.48 million euros) in damages after Petrauskas' court case against the municipal government delayed construction of the company's new headquarters.
Teo LT representatives said the sum was enough to cover the losses they incurred over a period of litigation with Petrauskas. They say that because they had already sold their old headquarters they had to continue renting space at a heightened rate.
Petrauskas landed in the legal nightmare after taking action against the local authorities. The Vilnius municipal government did not inform him of the implications of the new construction. He sued the municipality, but lost and lost again on appeal 's not because he was wrong, but because he had tendered his complaint too late.
Teo LT does not accept any responsibility for the actions or consequences of the saga. Teo LT press officer Antanas Bubnelis told The Baltic Times: "We didn't do anything wrong."
Petrauskas' lawyer Andrius Hudenkovas said that common sense was not at the forefront in this case. "The question of ethics is in the last place," he said. "If he loses this one case, he will lose 12 million litas, which is a lot for one person," Hudenkovas added.
"If he stays in his current position, he will have to pay the money, but he needs to protect himself and his family," Hudenkovas said.
Bubnelis maintained that the company wasn't to blame. "There are a lot of procedures and a detailed plan. People nearby need to be made aware. He sued the municipality because they didn't inform people adequately," he said.
Hudenkovas said that if Teo LT was successful, it would have dire consequences for his client. Already he is unable to build on his land because of the company's new building. "Vytautas Petrauskas will have a direct outcome from these outrages. He will suffer because he can't develop anything on his own plot [of land]," he said.
Bubnelis said 12 million litas is just the initial sum. The company has estimated that it incurs 2 million litas (580,000 euros) in losses each month because of the delayed construction.
"We have already sold our current headquarters and are forced to lease premises because of the halted constructions. We have incurred many losses and would like for them to be compensated," Bubnelis said.
Hudenkovas suggested that the legal system had let down his client. "In some aspects, the court that ruled against Petrauskas did not have the competence to fully investigate the case," he said.
The dispute between Petrauskas and Teo LT began in 2007. The Vilnius local, who lives in the vicinity of the future administrative building of the company, asked the court to ban construction of the building, alleging that the construction plans were fraught with forged documents and legal violations. The court refused, and when he appealed, the Supreme Administrative Court also rejected his request.
The ruling meant that construction could resume. The court based its ruling on the fact that the plaintiff made note of the violations too late. The high court's ruling is final and cannot be appealed.