Lawyers in SMOC suit to meet Thursday, December 20, 2007
D. Craig MacCormack 508-626-4429 Metrowest Daily News
FRAMINGHAM - Lawyers on both sides of South Middlesex Opportunity Council's discrimination case against a dozen town officials will be in U.S. District Court in Boston on Jan. 18 to schedule dates for trial.

The scheduling conference could also be used to give Judge Douglas Woodlock an update on the three mediation sessions with retired federal magistrate Charles Swartwood III, the last of which is scheduled for earlier that day.

The first two mediation sessions will be at Swartwood's office Jan. 9 and 10.

Woodlock this week filed a document giving all defendants until Feb. 1 to answer the complaints leveled against them by SMOC, which accuses the people named in the suit with "a coordinated effort" to rid Framingham of disabled people.

Under the current time line, which may be extended later depending on whether mediation is successful, SMOC would have until April 1 to respond to the defendants.

Selectmen hired Mintz Levin attorney Jeffrey Robbins to represent the public officials and the town in the case after Town Meeting approved the creation of a special account and the transfer of $150,000 from the town's reserve account last month.

In other news related to the case, Town Meeting member Cynthia Laurora this week became the latest defendant to have a lawyer appear on her behalf in U.S. District Court in Boston.

Douglas S. Brooks and Sarah Wenhardt-Walsh from Boston-based firm Kelly, Libby and Hoopes will represent Laurora in the case.

The only defendants whose lawyers have not appeared on their behalf are Town Meeting members Peter Adams and Steven Orr.  Private citizen Harold Wolfe has not hired a lawyer yet.

Selectmen Vice Chairman Jason Smith, Town Meeting member Laurie Lee and private citizen Anthony Siciliano each hired their own attorneys.  Siciliano and Wolfe are the only defendants not covered by the town's legal budget.

Town Manager Julian Suso, Human Services Coordinator Alexis Silver, selectmen Ginger Esty and Dennis Giombetti and Planning Board members Sue Bernstein, Andrea Carr-Evans, Carol Spack and Ann Welles will be represented by John J. Davis and Seth B. Barnett of Boston firm Pierce, Davis and Perritano.  

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