Powers files appeal in case against Wilton and selectmen
WILTON — Michael Powers has filed an appeal following dismissal of his lawsuit against the town of Wilton and Board of Selectmen.
In his appeal filed with Stamford Superior Court, Powers claims the judge who granted the defendants’ “motion to dismiss” the case, did so on the merits of the case, and not on any issue raised in the motion to dismiss itself.
Powers’ lawsuit was filed on Sept 29, 2019, when he was a petitioning candidate for first selectman. He alleged the Board of Selectmen did not, on a number of occasions, follow Robert’s Rules of Order for making a motion and thus those motions were “null and void.”
Over the next several months, a number of motions were made by both sides, including a motion to dismiss the case made by the defendant, town of Wilton and Board of Selectmen.
At a hearing on Dec. 16, 2019, Judge David R. Tobin granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss “from the bench,” without adjourning to formulate a decision.
At a Board of Selectmen’s meeting later that night, First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice commented on the dismissal, saying, “It speaks to the absolute lack of merit in the allegations in the lawsuit.
She said the town was forced to pay taxpayer dollars on its defense for what she deemed a “frivolous” suit. She estimated the town’s legal costs were approximately $10,000. “Dollars that we might have otherwise spent on a more worthwhile purpose,” she said.
Discussing his appeal, Powers told the Bulletin he believed the judge dismissed the case on substantive issues when it should have been decided on procedural issues.
With the dismissal being done “from the bench,” Powers was also critical of the lack of a written decision with explanations as to the dismissal.
As to the costs the town has incurred for defending the lawsuit, Powers said the expense is “de minimis” considering the town’s multi-million dollar budget and having “officials act in the manner they are supposed to” exceeds the money spent on the suit.
Commenting on the appeal, Vanderslice said, “It is unfortunate and frustrating that the town must continue to waste tax dollars on this frivolous lawsuit.”
Editor’s Note: This story was updated to include the first selectwoman’s comment about the appeal.