Amherst Media ends suit over building site with insurance settlement

A Hampshire Superior Court docket lawsuit that pitted Amherst Media in opposition to a former neighbor and developer, and which reached the Massachusetts Appeals Court docket in November, has been resolved with a monetary settlement.

By way of its insurance coverage, Amherst Media, which operates the city’s public entry station, agreed to pay $12,000 to Jerry Guidera, who in 2013, on behalf of his mom, Barbara Guidera, offered the nonprofit two Fundamental Road heaps the place it intends to assemble a brand new headquarters.

The settlement brings to an finish the authorized actions that started in January 2018 when Amherst Media sued Jerry Guidera, alleging he devalued the 2 parcels and probably made them unsuitable for a constructing that may home its manufacturing facility and know-how middle.

A 12 months later, Guidera filed counterclaims below the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act, demanding that Amherst Media pay damages, prices and lawyer’s charges associated to the continuing lawsuit. Guidera claimed an abuse of course of, malicious prosecution, tortious interference with advantageous contractual relations and civil conspiracy.

Guidera mentioned this week that the settlement exhibits what Amherst Media did to him was fallacious, that the group is a “dangerous neighbor” and that it makes use of an method that’s combative for no purpose.

“Amherst Media is a foul neighbor with no sense of dedication to the group they’re chartered to serve,” Guidera mentioned.

Amherst Media Govt Director Jim Lescault issued an announcement on behalf of the group that oversees the general public entry, instructional and authorities tv channels for the city, and broadcasts quite a few public conferences and native applications.

“The $12,000 settlement releases Amherst Media from all future judicial proceedings of any form, and isn’t to be construed as any admission of legal responsibility and legal responsibility is expressly denied,” Lescault mentioned. “The settlement was paid by the insurance coverage service solely to keep away from the burden and expense of extended litigation.”

Amherst Media is planning to assemble a 1½-story Greek Revival constructing on the Fundamental Road properties, a transfer necessitated by an eviction discover it obtained from its longtime Faculty Road website by constructing proprietor Eversource in August 2010. The Native Historic District Fee has issued a certificates of appropriateness so the constructing can go up within the Dickinson Native Historic District, and the Planning Board has permitted website plans for the constructing, which may very well be constructed at a value of $1.5 million.

The lawsuit started in Land Court docket in early 2018 when Amherst Media argued that there have been unlawful encroachments by abutting properties onto the Amherst Media website, together with plantings, a shed, a wall and fence, and a driveway, in addition to water drainage.

A 12 months later, after the case was moved to Hampshire Superior Court docket, Guidera filed counterclaims. Whereas these have been dismissed by Choose John A. Agostini, who in his resolution acknowledged that Amherst Media’s actions have been “viable and affordable,” the state’s appeals court docket dominated in November that the case ought to stay lively, and the events reached the settlement quickly after.

Guidera beforehand lived within the Hills Home dwelling, which he renovated and which abuts these Fundamental Road heaps.

Guidera mentioned he believes he might have obtained considerably more cash within the settlement, calling what he confronted a “shakedown” and energy by Amherst Media to muzzle him. However he understands Amherst Media is within the midst of a capital marketing campaign for its new dwelling.

“I accepted this token settlement from Amherst Media reasonably than crippling them with a pricey lawsuit as a result of I consider there’s nonetheless an amazing want in our group for public entry to authorities and a discussion board for open debate on the problems affecting us all,” Guidera mentioned.

A second lawsuit involving Amherst Media in opposition to the city, associated to the issuing of the certificates of appropriateness, stays lively. That lawsuit was filed out of concern that the fee ought to have granted a certificates of hardship as an alternative, and that the certificates of appropriateness may very well be on shaky authorized floor if neighbors who oppose the challenge file litigation.

Scott Merzbach could be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.



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