Adams Fire District Signs $600K Lawsuit Settlement
ADAMS, Mass. — The Fire District's Prudential Committee has officially signed a $600,000 settlement agreement for a class-action lawsuit over its fire protection and street lighting fees.
The committee discussed the agreement after a final briefing from district Counsel Stephen Pagnotta. Pagnotta said this is one of the final requirements before the district can move on from the lawsuit.
"This settlement agreement outlines the process of the settlement, who is going to get what funds and outlines a timeframe for doing that," he said at Thursday's Prudential Committee meeting.
Pagnotta said, per the agreement, residents of the district who paid fire protection and street lighting charges between September 2019 and June 2022 will receive a proportional share of the $600,000 settlement. The district approved the appropriation of surplus revenue for the settlement at its annual meeting in May.
Pagnotta explained that the agreement can be filed with the court once both sides officially sign it.
"We will also be engaging a settlement administrator to assist in the distribution of the funds to the recipients," he said. "... There will be court hearings that the court will schedule, and it will be required to approve this because it is a class settlement action. We anticipate the court will do so. This is one of the last steps in putting this matter behind us."
The lawsuit resulted in a change to the district's collection of fire protection and street lighting. A Superior Court judge found that the district did not have the authority to charge for anything other than water, according to an 1873 act by the Legislature.
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