Motion filed to DQ town attorney from Hatton Meadow case

Gavel 1

By TAYLOR HARTZ
STAFF WRITER

Attorney David Rosenberg, representing Richard Panek and the Community Coalition to Save Hatton Meadow, has filed a motion to waive the bond requested by the Town of Southington and Greenskies Renewable Energy, LLC, and a motion to disqualify Mark Sciota as the counsel for the town in this case.

In the latest motion, filed on Aug. 31, Rosenberg requests that the court disqualifies Town Attorney Mark Sciota as the town’s legal counsel, claiming a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

Rosenberg said that Sciota, serving as counsel for the town in this case, violates Rule 3.7, which does not allow an individual to serve as counsel and witness in the same trial.

Since Sciota also serves as Deputy Town Manager, Rosenberg said it is likely that he will be a necessary witness at the trial as he “was instrumental in negotiation the power purchase agreement.”

Rosenberg said this presents of conflict of interest and “is unnecessarily damaging to the town,” by complicating the possibility of attorney client privilege.

“In the spirit of fairness, I’d rather get that out of the way early and not play games,” said Rosenberg.

Neither Sciota nor Whitney could be reached for comment on either motion.

The case will be heard in New Britain Superior Court at 9:30am on Friday, Sept. 11.

The case was first heard in court on Aug. 4, after a temporary injunction was put into place on July 24, preventing construction of the 2.1 acre solar array from beginning on the meadow.

A motion to dismiss the case, filed by Sciota and Diane Whitney of Pulman and Comley for Greenskies, was turned down by Judge Abrahams on Aug. 11.

The bond request was made in an affidavit issued by Attorney William Herchel, General Counsel of Greenskies, in which the company claimed to face “liquidated damages” of $1,672.47 per day, in addition to a $13, 222 reimbursement demand to subcontractor Horton Electric.

Rosenberg issued a motion for a waiver of the requested bond on Aug. 31, citing Connecticut General Statutes 52-472, where Rosenberg said that the issuance of a bond is not a mandatory precedent to an injunction.

Rosenberg detailed in his motion that the Power Purchase Agreement between Greenskies and the town of Southington requires a completion date in Sept. 16, with a four-month plan for construction.

Due to this deadline and timeline, Rosenberg argued that the company would not suffer damages due to the temporary injunction. Rosenberg said the two parties agreed not to pursue the bond, largely due to the “expeditious manner” of the case.

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