EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

October 25, 2012

Judge tosses out McCann's third suit

Former Mayor Sullivan mulls his own lawsuit against former DPW chief

LAWRENCE — A Superior Court judge has dismissed a third defamation and negligence lawsuit by former public works director Frank McCann against brothers and former mayors Michael and Kevin Sullivan.

Calling this latest suit “harassment,” Kevin Sullivan is now considering his own legal action against McCann and his attorney Scott Gleason of Haverhill to recoup legal costs he spent defending himself against the “obvious frivolous” litigation, he said.

“They used a carnival ‘pitch until you win’ game. That’s probably the most disturbing aspect of this episode ... This was real harassment and the effected intent was to harm and misuse the court’s valuable time and they should know better,” Kevin Sullivan said this week.

McCann, a 41-year city employee who retired in June 30, 2010, sued the city and the Sullivans three times. His first attempt, a $1 million civil suit filed in federal court, was dismissed, and a second suit was similarly tossed from Essex County Superior Court.

On Oct. 3, McCann’s third lawsuit was dismissed by Associate Justice Maynard M. Kirpalani. As previously cited, Kirpalani pointed legal flaws and statute of limitations issues in the suit.

When she threw out the federal suit, U.S. District Magistrate Judge Judith Dein rejected arguments that McCann’s due process rights were violated.

The three failed lawsuits all stemmed from disciplinary action Mayor Michael Sullivan took against McCann in February 2007. Sullivan then placed McCann on a two-week unpaid suspension for what he said were a number of police violations, including the unauthorized firing of four parking garage employees over allegations of illegal gambling and theft.

McCann was also blamed for cost overruns at the city’s Water Department facilities and for spending $800,000 on repairs to High Street, where then-City Council President Patrick Blanchette lived. A failed mayoral candidate, Blanchette is now a top aide to Mayor William Lantigua.

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