Lawsuit Not Over. New Filings, New Magistrate Judge.
BY: ANDREW COLTON | Editor and Publisher
DELRAY BEACH, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) (Copyright © 2021 MetroDesk Media, LLC) — The litigation against the Seven Bridges (Delray Beach) Homeowners Association continues, despite a summary judgment entered last week by a federal judge in the $7M claim.
Signaling that litigation is not anywhere near over, the Federal Judge overseeing the case just assigned a new “Federal Magistrate Judge” who is responsible for managing settlement talks. That Magistrate, William Matthewman, was assigned days ago.
As we reported exclusively on May 14th, U.S. District Judge Donald Middlebrooks agreed largely with the Seven Bridges HOA when it argued that homeowner Deborah LaGrasso’s claims of harassment and discrimination don’t rise to the level required under the “Fair Housing Act.”
But his summary judgment, while referencing two claims, only covered one. He wrote the second order was forthcoming, but nearly two weeks later, nothing has been filed. That led LaGrasso Attorney Scott Weires to request an explanation from the court. You can read that request, in its entirety, below.
While initially considered good news by homeowners in Seven Bridges, legal observers suggest the summary judgment — as it stands now — may cause more problems than it solves. It does not address all issues raised in the lawsuit, leaving the door open for LaGrasso to better focus her case. To that end, Judge Middlebrooks also gave LaGrasso’s attorneys several days to file a motion, arguing why the summary judgment is wrong.
Regardless of how the federal lawsuit ends, sources say another lawsuit in Palm Beach County Circuit Court is all but guaranteed. Experts suggest that may have been the strategy all along — see what happens in federal court, then use that knowledge to file in Circuit court where judgments tend to have significantly higher value.
History Of The Seven Bridges Lawsuit
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. We published the video that does exist. 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 Seven Bridges homeowner Rachel 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.
The sanctions imposed: $5,000 and a year long ban from using amenities in the Seven Bridges community.
We are publishing two documents, below. The first is the response by attorneys for Deborah LaGrasso, following the summary judgment. The second is a motion to remove the case from the trial calendar (which has been granted) while both parties await further guidance from the judge.7B-Response-To-SJ
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