BY: ANDREW COLTON | Editor and Publisher
DELRAY BEACH, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — Seven Bridges homeowner Rachel Tannenholz is no longer a defendant in the Federal lawsuit brought by another homeowner against her and the Seven Bridges Homeowners Association.
“It’s huge for us,” said an elated Debbie Klingsberg, attorney for Tannenholz. “We’re done. This is what we had been hoping for all along. Complete vindication that she didn’t belong in this case.”
The ongoing lawsuit stems from allegations made by Seven Bridges Homeowner Deborah LaGrasso that several “tennis league” women verbally assaulted her children while playing tennis on the community’s tennis courts.
LaGrasso was accused of physically attacking one of the women, although there is apparently no video evidence that proves whether or not a physical altercation took place. The incident led to sanctions against LaGrasso by the HOA. Several months later, after LaGrasso is believed to have posted her opinions about the HOA on an anonymous Facebook page, LaGrasso and Tannenholz allegedly made derogatory comments about the other on social media. The HOA once again sanctioned LaGrasso, including for writing anti-Semitic and derogatory comments online. When LaGrasso complained to the HOA about Tannenholz, however, the Board of Directors did not sanction her. Among the complaints allegedly ignored by the Board: LaGrasso’s claim that Tannenholz told her to move to a community that isn’t primarily Jewish.
LaGrasso filed a federal lawsuit claiming religious discrimination by the HOA and intentional infliction of emotional distress by Tannenholz. She argued it’s unfair that she, as a non-Jew, was sanctioned while Tannenholz was not. While the lawsuit continues against the Seven Bridges Homeowners Association, Federal Judge David Middlebrooks said that Tannenholz is not a proper party to the “Fair Housing Act” discrimination lawsuit. LaGrasso’s claims against her were dismissed.
“The allegations against Rachel Tannenholz just aren’t true,” said Klingsberg. “She hasn’t really been able to scream at the top of her lungs to say it isn’t true.”
An attorney for Deborah LaGrasso did not immediately respond to a request for comment from BocaNewsNow.com.
Earlier this week, BocaNewsNow.com reported that Judge Middlebrooks refused to dismiss the case against the Seven Bridges Homeowners Association. While such a decision is routine at this stage of litigation, several legal experts told BocaNewsNow.com that the Judge’s decision — and his language — suggested that Middlebrooks wasn’t convinced that the HOA didn’t make errors. Our experts pointed to Middlebrooks choosing to have both sides endure the cost of depositions and discovery instead of dismissing the case at this point.
Our reporting frustrated George Kramer — an attorney who sat on the Seven Bridges Board of Directors until the end of his term this week. Kramer told BocaNewsNow.com that anyone who interprets the judge’s words as a negative for the HOA is mistaken and doesn’t understand that the judge must assume that a Plaintiff’s facts are true until they are proven otherwise. Kramer said the focus should be on language from Middlebooks that calls into question the strength of LaGrasso’s religious discrimination claim. He believes the case is heading for dismissal.
“Any experienced attorney reading the judge’s decision would conclude that it is a very weak case, barely surviving a motion to dismiss, where a judge is required to accept everything alleged by the Lagrassos as true,” wrote Kramer who does not represent the Seven Bridges HOA as a lawyer. “That will not be the case when the HOA files a motion for summary judgment.”
Kramer is on the deposition list for the case. You can read a complete list of all parties that either have — or will be — deposed, below.
Even if the federal lawsuit comes to a close before its scheduled trial date in March, the battle in Seven Bridges will continue. Tannenholz is suing Deborah LaGrasso in State court for defamation, libel and malicious prosecution. The Seven Bridges Homeowners Association is not a defendant in that case.
The order regarding Tannenholz, as well as two deposition lists, are below. If you are reading in a news app, just click here.7BTannen
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