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Town gets summons in lawsuit by Carlisle

April 04, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — The town and two former councilors received formal summonses in former Town Manager Clayton Carlisle's lawsuit against Southbridge last week.

According to documents obtained by the Southbridge Evening News Saturday, Carlisle's attorney, Robert Hennigan, specifically named ex-Councilors Ronald Chernisky and Robert King as individual defendants alongside the town as a whole in his claim to have been defamed and wrongfully terminated in early 2008. It gives them 20 days to file a response to the complaint in Worcester Superior Court after it was received, which was March 29, according to the Town Manager's Office stamp.

"He didn't get his way, and he's behaving like a spoiled child," said Chernisky. "I can't see anything in there he's claiming I did illegally."

Since Chernisky and King are no longer town officials, Town Manager Christopher Clark said it would probably require a Town Council vote in executive session to determine whether the town will provide their defense. Clark said he has asked the town's insurance carrier for advice on that, and predicted, based on his own experiences with other suits, that Southbridge probably will include Chernisky and King.

The question, Clark noted, is whether "they acted outside the scope of their authority" as councilors, but since Carlisle's suit refers to "actions they took as Town Council members," he said he believes they did not cross that threshold.

"It'd be my recommendation that the town does provide coverage," Clark added.

For more on this story, please see Monday's Southbridge Evening News.

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