Judge sets schedule in Bolin Hill Road case

By Ben Holbrook | Mar 07, 2017
Source: File Image

Liberty — Both parties in a lawsuit challenging the status of a portion of Bolin Hill Road will meet in the coming months for mediation after the case was remanded to a lower court.

In December, the state's Supreme Judicial Court ordered that a lawsuit filed by members of the Paul family against the town be revisited because the justices disagreed with a lower court's interpretation of the laws governing municipal grievances.

Town Attorney Bill Kelly said March 3 he recently received a scheduling order from the court that lays out the next steps in the process. That process will include meeting with a mediator who will then issue a report to the court. However, Kelly said it is likely to be two or three months before mediation begins.

Both parties also have additional time for discovery, which gives each side the chance to collect information about the case.

About two years ago, in February 2015, members of the Paul family, Adam, Debra and George, filed a two-count complaint, challenging the town's ruling that Bolin Hill Road was abandoned. The Pauls assert in their lawsuit the abandonment determination conflicts with evidence that indicates the town intended to use the road as a public way, and that they suffered a reduction in the fair market value of their home because of the abandonment.

The complaint was dismissed in 2015 and at the same time, the lower court denied a motion from the Pauls to amend the complaint. The Pauls subsequently appealed that ruling.

Town officials said the case has cost slightly more than $12,000, and during a March 2015 town meeting, a resident suggested the town should pay to fix the road. The cost to do those repairs, however, is estimated to between $800,000 and $950,000, according to the town's road commissioner.

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