SMOC, town may go to mediation for lawsuit Thursday, November 15, 2007
D. Craig MacCormack 508-626-4429 Metrowest Daily News
FRAMINGHAM - Officials on both sides of the federal lawsuit last month by SMOC alleging "a coordinated effort" by town leaders to push disabled people out of town are talking about entering mediation to resolve the case.

As part of this week's request for an extension to respond to the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Boston in October, Town Counsel Chris Petrini said one of the reasons Judge Douglas Woodlock should grant the extra time - until Dec. 15 - was "active discussions concerning the early mediation of this case before a professional mediator."

"There's a possibility that may occur," said Petrini.  "The parties are exploring the idea in good faith.  You could say it's a sign for cautious optimism."

SMOC attorney Howard Cooper said the agency has agreed to the extension and hopes to resolve the matter "sooner rather than later."

"SMOC is very eager to talk with and mediate with anyone who is willing to sit down in good faith," he said.

Woodlock granted the extension late yesterday afternoon, pushing the deadline to Dec. 17.

SMOC named Town Manager Julian Suso, Human Services Coordinator Alexis Silver, three selectmen, four Planning Board members and four Town Meeting members and private citizens Anthony Siciliano and Harold Wolfe in its 99-page complaint.  All but Siciliano and Wolfe are covered by the town's legal budget.

Send comments to: