Southborough couple denied request in faulty home lawsuit

Above: This home on Lovers Lane is crumbling around its owners (Photo from Town of Southborough Property Record Card)

Yesterday came word that the state’s Supreme Judicial Court denied a Southborough couple’s request to remove the district judge in their lawsuit over their crumbling Lover’s Lane home. Kathryn and Christian Culley want the district judge removed because of an alleged conflict of interest.

In its ruling (you can read the whole thing here), the SJC said while they weren’t taking a position on the charge of judicial misconduct, they denied the Culley’s request because they said the couple has “alternate remedies” to deal with their complaint that should be explored first.

The Culleys had sued their builder and a host of others claiming they were defrauded in the purchase of their shoddily-built million-dollar home. In 2010 a jury awarded the Culleys $1.1M in damages, but Middlesex Superior Court Judge Thomas Murtagh overruling the verdict saying the Culleys had failed to provide proof of damages, and instead awarded the couple only $140K.

The Culleys want Judge Murtagh to recuse himself from the case due because they say he has a prior relationship with the defense attorneys.

An attorney for the Culleys told the Metrowest Daily News the decision is not necessarily bad news for his clients.

(Michael McLaughlin of Boston) noted that the SJC did not claim that the allegations against Murtagh were false.

“We express no view on the merits of this or any other allegation of judicial misconduct in this case,” the court wrote, adding that such a complaint against a judge must first be presented to the Commission on Judicial Conduct by law.

McLaughlin said because of secrecy requirements he could not confirm or deny whether the Culleys have filed a complaint against Murtagh with the CJC.

He also said he intends to file a motion as opposed to a notice requesting Murtagh’s recusal from the case this week. He had not done so before because he didn’t think it was proper to allow the defense to argue against him and ingratiate itself to the judge.

Related stories:
MWDN: SJC hears appeal of Southborough homeowners
MWDN: Southborough couple have a $1 million money pit
Boston Globe: Family imprisoned in a home of horrors

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Chris
10 years ago

There are those that wonder how the American spirit seems to be crumbling before them. Straining to believe the fundamentals of the world we grew up in will at least be somewhat representative of the world in which we now live. This ruling is yet another example of the New America. One that rewards the under-achiever. Build a shody house, get it approved by a shody building inspector, bring it to a shamelessly connected judge in a state that rewards weakness and influence over morals and hard work. What starts with “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…” turns into lets provide a safety net for everyone, whatever the cost with zero reflection on the family and whose bread-winers decided that a certified builder in a premier town like Southborough was part of the key to the success of their children and their way of life. I’m appalled both at the system and the apathy. Wake up my fellow neighbors.

Curious
10 years ago
Reply to  Chris

I don’t understand this post.

Don
10 years ago

Does Southbough have some culpability here regarding the in/actions by the former building inspector?

southsider
10 years ago

This is Supreme Justice? Looks more like an old boy network looking after its own. Let’s dream up some more ways to squeeze additional legal fees out of these people who lost so much already; disregarding the decision of a legally chosen jury. Maybe they can finally be driven into bankruptcy and then they’ll leave the ‘system’ alone so it can move on to shaft the next unsuspecting citizen to come along.

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