Gosselin v. Town of North Hampton, Doc. No. 218-2012-CV-1597 (Rockingham Super. Ct., January 24, 2013) (McHugh, J.)

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The State of New Hampshire







On December 4, 2012, the plaintiff filed a Petition for Right to Know Law against the defendant. While the Petition indicated that the plaintiff had been treated unfairly by the Town, it did not set forth the specific facts that caused the plaintiff to reach that conclusion. Accordingly a hearing was held in this matter on January 2, 2013. Both parties appeared.

Mr. Gosselin explained to the Court that in May of 2010 there was an incident involving two EMT's who were called to treat him for an injury that he had received. As a result of his interaction with these two persons he felt he had been mistreated and felt that the Town should be aware of his dissatisfaction with their performance. In essence he alleges that in the last year and a half his attempts to arrange a meeting with the appropriate town officials to discuss this matter have all been dismissed by the Town. His request of this Court is to order the Town of North Hampton to provide him with all correspondence between he and former Town Administrator Steve Fournier and between he and the Board of Selectmen. He has further requested that he be provided with all non-public meeting minutes from January 12, 2011 forward.

The defendant vehemently denies that it engaged in any inappropriate conduct with respect to Mr. Gosselin. It provided the Court with a copy of a series of emails and letters going back and forth between the Town and Mr. Gosselin since May of 2010. Perhaps the most informative letter was a letter addressed to the plaintiff from the [2] Chairman of the North Hampton Board of Selectmen dated January 26, 2012. That letter contained the chronology of events up to that point in time. Based upon the correspondence received by the Court it cannot conclude that the reason why there has not been a meeting to resolve the dispute which the plaintiff initially raised in May of 2010 is because of an avoidance of such a meeting by the Town.

The plaintiff acquainted the Court with a medical condition that he has which makes meetings involving large groups of individuals difficult for him to attend. The Court appreciates his condition. Given the fact that so much time has passed since the original complaint was made against the EMT's in May of 2010, Mr. Gosselin indicated to the Court that that issue is no longer worthy of pursuing. His current complaint centers around the fact that various town officials have accused him of conducting himself inappropriately at subsequent aborted meetings. With all due respect to Mr. Gosselin, given the Court's excessive caseload, it simply cannot afford the time to hold hearings the purpose of which would be to determine whether or not the plaintiff acted appropriately when conversing with town officials. It would seem that the best course of action would be to leave those issues unresolved and move forward with a clean slate.

Irrespective of the underlying history between the parties in this case, the Court can not lose track of the specifics of this litigation. Mr. Gosselin filed a Right to Know Petition and made two requests. The Town represented to the Court that it has supplied him with all of the correspondence between the parties that he requested. As far as non-public meeting minutes are concerned, unless some specific dates are suggested to the Town wherein the plaintiff was aware that his case was being discussed, it is unreasonable to expect the Town to review all non-public minutes for a two year period to report whether or not any involved the plaintiff. In that regard the [3] Court gave Mr. Gosselin ten days to file any copies of any documents which he believes were not included in the documents submitted by the Town to the Court involving his case. He did so. The Town also reviewed its file and submitted additional documents. They add nothing to the dispute. Upon review of all of the documents presented and considering the offers of proof made by the parties at the January 2, 2013 hearing, the Court finds that there is no merit to the plaintiff's Right to Know Petition and therefore that Petition is dismissed.

The plaintiff's request for a continuance so as to enable him to retain an attorney is denied. Given the limited issue this case presents, an attorney would be of little assistance to the plaintiff. There is simply no documented evidence of bad faith on the part of the Town in this case.

So Ordered.

   January 24, 2013       /s/   

DateKenneth R. McHugh

Presiding Justice