By Frank Haggerty
Falmouth Taxpayers Face Treble Damages Over Future Wind Turbine Litigation.
The Massachusetts statute authorizing treble damages directs the judge after a jury trial to multiply by up to three a number of monetary damages awarded by the jury in those cases and to give judgment to the plaintiff in that doubled amount.
The decision to award treble damages is up to the discretion of the judge who presides over that case. Generally, a judge can award a consumer plaintiff who proves the compensatory or actual damages. Multiple (double or treble) damages are also available if the plaintiff can prove the defendant willfully and knowingly violated Chapter 93A,"unfair or deceptive practices."
The Town of Falmouth faces at least two scheduled litigation cases in September and multiple cases awaiting the court schedule.
The Falmouth town attorney has stated an appeal of the recent June shut down could take one and one half years.
Falmouth Town Meeting Members have been approving up to $300,000.00 every six months for litigation and now the turbines are shut down.
Outside Boston law firms are now the only ones with a revenue stream.
As the litigation proceeds at some point, the case of criminal neglect and intent will surely be brought up.
The Town of Falmouth just prior to a town-wide election in 2013 withheld warning letters, emails, maps, and a memo that showed the turbines needed Special Permit 240-166. The omissions have been written off as mistakes... Multiple deliberate omissions can be considered a lie if the lack of information alters the intent of the project.
The Town of Falmouth is touting a win in an April jury trial as a major victory but a more recent ruling by Judge Cornelius J. Moriarty II to shut down Falmouth Wind II spells major problems with those new court documents going forward into future trials.The court documents involve extensive litigation between the Town of Falmouth vs the Falmouth Zoning Board of Appeals.
The courts found in favor of the Zoning Board of Appeals.
The April jury trial was won in part because many documents were no allowed in that case but going forward because of the June, Judge Moriarty case they will be allowed in future trials.
Local residents in a letter in the media referenced the documents that were not allowed in the April jury case.
The jury did not know that the Falmouth ZBA had determined that there was a nuisance at the Andersen home.
The jury did not learn that both turbines were under a court-ordered injunction to operate only half the time (only during daylight hours), because the high bar of detrimental impacts had been recognized by a Superior Court judge.
The jury did not know that a special permit had been denied by the Falmouth ZBA and that Wind 1 has been completely off since September 2015.
The jury did not know that infrasound tests have been conducted outside and inside the Andersen home, showing significant negative impacts on the residents.
The jury did not have a site visit.
The jury never heard this industrial wind turbine noise.
The jury did not know that the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection conducted sound tests showing multiple violations of the state noise pollution limit of 10 decibels."
The entire letter can be viewed at this link:
The local letter ia also on a US National website:
The Falmouth Select Board and town attorney have to determine what is going to happen if all or any of the above information above is allowed at the future trials.
The courts have shut down the turbines.