Field case trudges toward summary judgment

The MVRHS field court case is making its way to summary judgment. — Eunki Seonwoo

The Oak Bluffs planning board is scheduled to submit its legal argument early next week for the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) athletic field court case, high school Principal Sara Dingledy said during a Monday evening committee meeting. 

“Not much has changed since the last that we met,” Dingledy said. “We’re in the process for summary judgment.” 

Dingledy added that submittals were made on the school’s behalf on Jan. 13, and submittals will be made on the town’s behalf on Feb. 14. 

Arguments before a judge will follow, although Dingledy wasn’t sure when that would take place.

Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School vs. the Town of Oak Bluffs Planning Board is currently ongoing in Massachusetts Land Court because of the planning board’s rejection of a special permit for a synthetic turf field at the high school over PFAS concerns.

When committee chair Robert Lionette asked how questions to the attorneys could be asked when developments about the case surface, committee member Kimberly Kirk pointed out committee member Kris O’Brien was the one elected to communicate with the attorneys. Having O’Brien act as a “central resource” and funnel questions to the attorneys would be “in the interest of conserving resources and being sensitive to those costs,” since the lawyers are paid by the hour, according to Kirk. 

Lionette clarified he wanted to discuss certain topics with the attorneys. “I’m being cryptic intentionally, because there have been things discussed in executive session I don’t want to elaborate on or build on, so pardon me for being a little bit vague in this format,” Lionette said. “I think it might be appropriate to understand the costs to set something up again.”

For now, Lionette said, he will make a list of thoughts and questions to be sent to the attorneys.

In other news, the committee unanimously accepted donations and a grant that added up to $41,400. These were a $40,400 donation from the Sound Foundation, a $500 donation from the National Education Association, and a $500 grant from the National Education Association. The committee also unanimously accepted a combined gift from E.C. Cottle and Mark Matinos from Milwaukee Tools, who donated tools and supplies — including power tools, hand tools, and personal protective equipment — to the MVRHS building trades department. According to MVRHS finance director Suzanne Cioffi, the new tools are valued at around $15,000.