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Stop & Shop lawyer fires back at Cernak in court over proposed Easthampton store

Kenneth Cernak, who owns Cernak Buick across Route 10 from the proposed site of the supermarket at the Tasty Top location, sued the supermarket chain and the city in February 2010. He alleged the Planning Board’s January 2010 approval of the project was unlawful because of communication outside of public hearings between the board and supermarket representatives, and that zoning and traffic issues from the project could affect Cernak’s business.

But Superior Court judges ruled in Stop & Shop’s favor on all counts, most recently on June 19.

Cernak’s attorney, Mark A. Tanner, filed an appeal July 16 of all the court’s decisions in the case.

But Stop & Shop attorney Kevin P. O’Flaherty suggested in a motion Wednesday that Cernak should be required to post bond to protect Stop & Shop and landowner Courtney Easthampton LLC, from “losses and damages as a result of the plaintiff’s appeal.”

O’Flaherty argued that in past cases in which someone appealed a zoning decision, courts have ordered plaintiffs to post bond “to discourage frivolous and vexatious appeals.”

“The plaintiffs have sought to prolong and delay the progress of this case at every turn,” he wrote in his motion. As a result, Cernak has successfully prevented the store from being built, despite the court’s decision that the project can go forward.

During the 3½ years the project has been in court, Stop & Shop and the landowner have already incurred “significant cost,” including legal fees and the cost of sitework and engineering for the proposed 45,000-square foot supermarket and 4,900-square-foot attached retail space.

No court dates have been scheduled in regards to Tanner’s appeal.

Rebecca Everett can be reached at reverett@gazettenet.com.

Comments
Legacy Comments5

The Courtneys stand to make millions of $ on this deal. Leasing a portion of the land they own to Stop & Shop is just the first step. This will be the catalyst for them to develop their adjacent parcel into 40B housing that will fill their pockets with gold and only cost the town money in the form of increased taxes for everyone to pay for the necessary services for this development. Do not feed the Courtneys greed. I am all for economic development but this is the wrong project for Easthampton. This is capped off by trying to take away the driveway access that Cernak has used for over 70 years. Stop & Shop is trying to use their money and media influence to steamroll Cernak in the courts. This bond is ridiculous.

The thing that I find amazing is this article has no mention that Stop & Shop is simultaneously closing all of its New Hampshire stores and putting 670 people out of work. How can they be doing that in much larger markets and really be serious about opening an Easthampton store? I say forget Stop & Shop. Easthampton doesn't need an empty hulking grocery storefront a couple of years down the road and also to lose its last new car dealer in the process.

Economic growth for Easthampton means-stepping outside the box. This mean expanding outward from Main, Union, and Cottage Street. Easthampton lost a lot of revenue by not letting Big Y in. I hope the powers that be in Easthampton don't let Cernak ruin the chance to get some much needed money for the City!!!!! Cernak is just being a selfish, pompous dweeb and I'm glad Stop and Shop started fighting back.

Finally Stop & Shop will confront this bully and end what must be a nightmare. Cernak just wants money and everyone knows it. People want this store built---hopefully now it could move forward.

The opposite is actually true. Stop & Shop could’ve built their store any time after receiving town approval 3 years ago. Stop & Shop’s delay appears to be that they/their attorneys believe Cernak’s case must have merit and Stop & Shop has a reasonable risk of losing. So now they ask Cernak to pay because of their decision to delay building the store? I thought part of the reasons we fought the British in the Revolutionary War was equality and justice for ALL in the American legal system. Oops sorry, Stop & Shop isn’t British they’re a Dutch-held Corporation who, in my opinion, is bullying a small American business. The request for bond seems un-American to me. Only those with deep pockets get to receive justice? This means that justice will NEVER HAPPEN for the little guy. Hopefully, the judge will see through this ploy by Stop & Shop, otherwise I believe it condemns the entire American legal system.

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