If the lawsuits over the Wynn casino license were viewed as an athletic contest, then last Thursday’s hearing in Suffolk Superior Court was simply the coin toss.
And the coin seemed to have landed on its side.
The only action that came out of the highly-anticipated hearing was that Judge Janet Sanders allowed all cases to continue, but suspended all activity on those cases – including discovery activities such as the subpoenas Boston issued in regards to fraud allegations last week – until another hearing on Sept. 22.
“I am staying all discovery,” said the judge. “Without making any comments on the merits of the cases, discovery should not happen until we know what plaintiffs survive and what part of their cases continue…Revere made good points about continuing to compile the administrative record. I am staying discovery, though, in that case too.”
Somerville, unlike the others, has agreed to put its case on pause until the Wynn environmental process is completed. Until that action occurs, its case will be on hold.
That hearing will likely be moved though, as it falls on a Jewish holiday.
With representatives from lawsuits involving Boston, Revere, Somerville, Mohegan Sun and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) before the Business Litigation Division of the court Thursday afternoon, Judge Sanders listened to more than two hours of arguments from each locale and from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) – the actual defendant in the suit – and seemingly gave no clear indication of what she will eventually rule.
After listening to MGC attorney David Mackey argue to dismiss Boston’s case under a rule calling for such suit to be “short and plain.”
Mackey said the lawsuit was more than 1,000 pages and burdened the MGC with numerous allegations and exhibits. He also indicated that a box of information had been served to the MGC the night before by Boston, and that another box of information had been served to them that very morning as well.
“The sheer length of the complaint by Boston is significant,” said Mackey. “Allowing something of this length to simmer sends all the wrong messages. It sends the message a part can burden its opponent.”
However, Boston outside attorney, Tom Frongillo, argued that length should never be a reason to dismiss a lawsuit – noting that several other complaints before the court are just as long as Boston’s.
The judge agreed on that important point, giving Boston a bit of a victory, but she bookended the victory with the fact that she believed Boston would just file another complaint and slow the process down.
“Without in any way making any comment on the merits of the case, I am going to deny the motion (to dismiss the case),” she said. “By allowing it, it will only slow things down and I think we should move on.”
The victory was also bookended by the fact that she restricted most all activity on the case until late September, meaning Boston can no longer request information or make allegations about the casino license process based on the pursuit of their legal case.
Revere and Mohegan Sun’s case will also be heard at the same time, and the MGC filed on July 1 to dismiss those cases too.