Lawyers for the town of New Castle and for the developers of the former Reader’s Digest property met in U.S. District Court in White Plains Monday and argued over the developers’ request for emails from the personal accounts of Town Board members.
Lawyers for the town were looking for some restrictions on the scope of the searches to be done to protect the privacy of unrelated emails and limit the number of emails to be searched. John Walsh of Hodges Walsh & Slater, one of the town’s lawyers, called it a fishing expedition.
“There’s certainly no basis for them to assume that there’s a smoking gun of any kind on somebody’s personal email account,” he said.
Walsh also asked whose job it is to go through the emails.
But Magistrate Judge Lisa Margaret Smith said it was likely the board members had used their personal email accounts and refused repeatedly to micromanage the process of sifting through them. She said the attorneys and clients had to work out a process based on the document demands of the developers, Summit Development and Greenfield Partners. The judge noted that the town’s lawyers hadn’t objected to the requests when they came in.
David Hennes, Summit/Greenfield’s lawyer, said the emails are critical to the case.
“It’s been five months since we served our document request,” he said.
The judge set Dec. 2 as a date to have everything possible produced and Oct. 31 to meet in court to discuss any remaining issues.
Both sides told the judge there is no movement on settling the case.
Another judge is considering the town’s request to dismiss the case against the individual Town Board members named.