GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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July 10, 2013

Conomo plaintiffs cannot depose town lawyers

ESSEX — Two lawyers central to the fight between residents and town over Conomo bridge leases will not be deposed and forced to produce documents in the case.

The court denied the motion by plaintiffs suing the town, alleging unreasonable bridge lease rates, to depose two Kopelman and Paige lawyers representing the town and to force the production of documents related to the case.

The motion and decision is related to a suit filed in November 2012 by some Conomo Point residents against the town, alleging the second-year bridge lease rates are being increased far too much. The lease rates were determined by Mark Tyburski of Tyburski Appraisal Corp. on behalf of the town; the plaintiffs assert that Tyburski had improperly appraised the properties and the appraisals do not represent fair market value.

Another suit, filed in the summer of 2012 by Conomo Point residents, asserts the residents themselves own the houses they live in, not the town.

The Boston-based law firm Todd and Weld LLP represents the different plaintiffs in both cases.

The bridge lease suit, Walker et. al. vs. Town of Essex, and the home ownership suit, Pratt et. al. vs. Town of Essex, have been consolidated, as fair market value and bridge lease rates will be affected by the Pratt case.

The plaintiffs in combined case filed a motion to depose Gregg Corbo and Katherine Klein, both of Kopelman and Paige, and to have the town’s law firm produce documents related to the case. The motion was ultimately denied late last week, following lengthy opposition by Kopelman and Paige, according to court documents.

The court will only try three issues in the Pratt case: if there was a general agreement that the tenants owned the houses; if not, were any structures affixed on the land; and, if not, what was the understanding between the tenants and the town.

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