By Sarah Champagne, Managing Editor
SOUTHBRIDGE – A lawsuit that was filed earlier this year against The Town of Southbridge, Town Manager Ron San Angelo and former town councilor Esteban Carrasco, Jr. has been dismissed by United States District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman. The order of dismissal was entered the morning of Sept. 28, 2018.
Plaintiff Scott J. Gibeault filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court May 29, 2018, alleging that his civil rights were violated at a public meeting of the Southbridge town council. Gibeault alleged in his lawsuit that he was prevented from speaking at the meeting through intimidation by associates of Esteban Carrasco, Jr., who was a town councilor at the time. Gibeault sought damages of $700,000 in the case, first in the amount of $350,000 and an additional “exemplary and punitive damages in the amount of $350,000.”
At the time that Gibeault filed the lawsuit, Carrasco was running for re-election to the Southbridge Town Council for a one-year seat. The lawsuit was filed exactly two weeks before the town election of June 12, 2018. Carrasco did not win the seat in that election and is currently not a member of town council.
Southbridge Town Manager Ron San Angelo commented on the dismissal of the lawsuit.
“It is sad that it damaged the reputation of one of our town councilors who in my opinion was one of the most honest and ethical members of the Town Council,” San Angelo said. “The person who filed the case simply wanted to damage his reputation.”
The co-defendants in the case filed a motion to dismiss June 19, 2018. The motion to dismiss provided arguments including that the complaint did not adequately demonstrate the nature of the alleged intimidation and that the complicity of the town manager and the Town of Southbridge were not clear.
The motion to dismiss also argued that, “Municipalities can act only through natural persons and governments should only be held responsible when, and only when, their official policies cause their employees to violate another person’s constitutional rights.”