BREAKING NEWS: Late Tuesday evening, GOOD Morning Wilton learned that Michael Powers has filed an appeal after the lawsuit he filed against the town was dismissed by a judge in December.
According to the appeal document filed with the court, Powers is appealing because the judge “…ruled on the merits of the case in the granting of the defendants’ motion to dismiss, and not on any iss[ue] raised in the ‘motion to dismiss’ itself.”
Powers had filed his suit against Wilton and the Board of Selectmen in September, in the middle of his unsuccessful bid for first selectman, seeking an injunction to nullify 37 BOS votes taken in 2019. He asserted that the selectmen didn’t follow proper procedure in deliberating those 37 votes, because they didn’t exactly follow steps prescribed by Robert’s Rules of Order for making motions, seconding, discussing and voting.
The case was heard in Stamford Superior Court on Dec. 16, 2019 by Judge David Tobin. Tobin took 30 minutes to dismiss the lawsuit when he found that Powers failed to show any legal case citation or state or municipal law supporting his argument.
“I understand what you’re saying but when I challenged you to show me a state law that indicates a violation of Roberts Rules of Order to render an action null and void, for anything in the Town Charter, we got to the dead end. I know it’s something you would like to have but you can’t find anything to support because it’s not in the law.”
Tobin added, “In this case you’re not claiming FOIA violation, you’re claiming Roberts Rules of Order violation, and despite my repeated request to you to show authority–either legislative [or charter]–but I don’t think you’ve shown any legislative authority either at the state level or municipal level.”
With that Tobin granted the Town’s motion to dismiss the case completely.
Last night, First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice provided a comment to GMW on a separate matter–the results of the Wilton Republican nominations for membership on the Republican Town Committee. In that comment, she referred to Powers’ suit as something that is costing the town money, saying, “… one of the individuals on the slate has caused and continues to cause the Town to waste thousands of taxpayer dollars on frivolous litigation.”
Officials have estimated current legal costs to the town from the case thus far at around $10,000, something that will increase as an appeal moves forward.
Developing, will update accordingly.
Can the town countersue Powers for all legal fees on the basis of frivolous litigation?
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