UPTON,Mass. - A $20 million defamation lawsuit, filed by the owner of the Grafton and Upton Railroad against a former Upton selectman, has been settled out of court.
According to documents filed in Middlesex Superior Court on Aug. 30, the lawsuit, filed by Jon Delli Priscoli, owner of the rail line, versus Marsha A. Paul, the former selectman, was “resolved of all issues to mutual satisfaction.”
The lawsuit was initially filed in May. Delli Priscoli claimed Paul’s comments to the media hurt his business reputation and that she exploited her former seats with both the Upton Board of Health and selectmen.
The problems began when Delli Priscoli began developing the Upton rail yard, which had been dormant for years. Some residents, including Paul, objected to chemical tankers parked near a water source and train noise that they said impacted the residents quality of life. Delli Priscoli believed Paul’s comments in the press were inflammatory and without merit.
When the lawsuit was filed in May, Paul replied in a six page response denying any wrongdoing, while her attorney asked the court to dismiss the filing and order Delli Priscoli to pay Paul’s legal bill. They argued they were protected under a state law known as a SLAPP suit, or strategic litigation against public participation, which are filed to suppress opposition to development proposals.
The terms of the settlement were not disclosed in the court documents and Delli Priscoli said in a phone interview he can not elaborate on the terms. “I’m very satisfied with the result and I’m sure Mrs. Paul is also,” he said.
A phone call to Paul and to her attorney, Peter A. Palmer, were not returned by the time this story was filed.