Stop & Shop lawyer fires back at Cernak in court over proposed Easthampton store
EASTHAMPTON — A lawyer for Stop & Shop has asked Hampshire Superior Court to require the man suing to stop construction of a store in Easthampton to post bond in the amount of $183,167 to make up for potential losses the company and landowner may suffer while the case remains tied up in court.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.