Humiliating Loss For SMOC October 5, 2008
Steve W. Orr Metrowest Daily News
The plaintiffs, SMOC, have spent what I'm sure has been at least a half million dollars of their donors' money, and maybe also of taxpayers' money, alleging what they trumpeted as a major civil rights and conspiracy case, laid out in hundreds of pages of allegations.

Despite the fact that it has been almost a year since we were served our complaints on the floor of Town Meeting, we are still at a preliminary phase of this case. I say preliminary, in that everything they allege in the complaint is simply taken at face value. And now, before anything of any substance has been done, before even the first word of testimony from the first witness, at a very preliminary point in the case where the standard they're required to meet is the lowest, their three broadest and most important claims have been totally dismissed. There is no denying that their case has been crippled.

This has got to hurt them, in fact it's truly a humiliating loss. And this after the Blandin Avenue defeat, as well. And one of the two claims left in the case, the defamation claim, not only hasn't yet been measured up against the First Amendment defenses, but the judge openly warns that the issue of damages is "problematic." Why? Because how could any of those allegedly defamatory statements (aside from being true statements, and/or opinion or rhetoric, and protected by the First Amendment) have caused harm to their reputation, when their reputation is already so badly battered. Witness the criticisms from countless others here in Framingham and elsewhere, including throughout Worcester and Millbury.

There's no question, in light of the amount they've spent on this case, the grandiose claims they started out with, and the very preliminary stage of events we're at, that this is a stinging defeat for SMOC, for Cuddy, and for their Board of Directors for allowing this colossal waste of their resources.

Will this persuade them that this move was wrong from the start, or that they've done nothing but create opposition, and to unite the townsfolk in defense of the town (like nothing has ever united them before), that this was a wrongheaded strategy that ought to be dropped now, before they do any further damage to themselves, both financially and in terms of public relations?

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