Judge Recommends Dismissing Suit Against Southampton Village, Warns Against Future Litigation

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A federal court judge has recommended that more than a dozen civil rights claims filed by a Southampton Village resident against neighbors and village officials be dismissed—and added a scolding of the plaintiff to the official recommendation.

U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Thomas Boyle warned that the resident, Evelyn Konrad, could be barred from filing future claims if she continues to “harass” the village and neighbors via the courts. Ms. Konrad, an attorney, started filing the suits in 2007, saying her rights were being violated by the construction of large homes in her neighborhood.

The village awaits an official dismissal of the lawsuits from the Eastern District of New York judge handling the case, Joseph Bianco, but Village Mayor Mark Epley, a defendant in the suit, said this week that he is happy with the recommendation. According to Village Administrator Stephen Funsch, the village has spent roughly $100,000 fighting the lawsuits.

In the recommendation, which is dated July 31, Judge Boyle said that the claims filed by Ms. Konrad need to stop and could be considered harassment. He goes as far as to say that the court will take action against Ms. Konrad if she proceeds in the future. “The ‘vexation, harassment, and needless expense’ to the village and the homeowners of the Rosko Place subdivision has persisted long enough,” the recommendation says.

“It is my recommendation that plaintiff be warned that any further attempts to use her 
status as a licensed attorney to further harass the village and her neighbors will ‘result in the issuance of an order barring the acceptance of any future complaints without plaintiff’s first obtaining leave of court,’” Judge Boyle said.

Ms. Konrad this week countered that the judge’s recommendation is not based on fact, and that she intends to file a legal objection to the recommendation next week. She also said the tone was “mean” and that a judge has no right to bar a citizen from future legal filings.

“It totally misrepresents the case,” Ms. Konrad said this week. “It ignores over 1,000 pages of village and county clerk documents and threatens me personally—which I really don’t enjoy, and I don’t think a magistrate should do.”

The 17 claims in the suit stem from a 2005 village zoning ordinance that altered the village code to allow construction of homes within the village with a living space exceeding 4,500 square feet. The change paved the way for homeowners in the Rosko Place subdivision, where Ms. Konrad lives, to alter or build homes much larger than previously allowed and, according to Ms. Konrad, changed the “character of the Rosko Place subdivision.”

Also named in the suit are former Village Trustee Paul Robinson, an assistant attorney for the village, Elbert Robinson Jr., and private landowners William Brown, Denis Guerin, and Donald and Melinda Quintin.

This week, Mr. Epley said he is believes the recommendation speaks for itself.

“I think this is a very strong statement by the court,” Mr. Epley said. “When a property owner has to defend themselves in court on a decision that was approved by the village, I could see how they would feel they are being harassed. I am an elected official, I am open game and I know that, but a private property owner is not.”

Ms. Konrad said she will not consider the claims dismissed until the judge overseeing the case dismisses them. She added that most of the arguments presented by Judge Boyle are false and misquote past court decisions.

“None of my supporting evidence is quoted by this judge,” Ms. Konrad said. “Every plaintiff’s allegation would be frivolous if you don’t use the evidence to support it.”

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