Tuesday, October 11, 2005

You Can't Buy Class

Shame on Jay Tea for not picking this one up in his home state.

Beverly Hollingsworth, 69, is a former New Hampshire state Senate president who ran for governor three years ago. Last year, she and her husband, William Gilligan, purchased a century-old oceanfront house located at the end of a narrow gravel road that served another oceanfront house owned by Peter and Kathy Hutchins. Kathy Hutchins is a local Hampton Beach realtor; her husband is an attorney who was one of the lawyers who successfully represented victims of Roman Catholic priest abuse. After netting his fees in the multi-million dollar settlement, the Hutchinses moved into their oceanfront mansion around the same time as Hollingsworth/Gilligan.

You'd think that these two well-to-do neighbors would have no problems in the world, both having just found their Shangri-las. But when the Hollingworths began parking their car at the end of the road in front of the Hutchins' house, problems arose. Apparently, the unspeakable offense of parking a car caused lawyer Hutchins and his wife such grief that animosity sprouted:

Kathy Hutchins was caught on videotape hammering a nail into a tire on Hollingworth's car at night. Videotapes showed the Hutchinses giving the finger toward the Hollingworth house and Kathy Hutchins slapping her buttocks and bending over as Hollingworth and Gilligan passed in their car. Witnesses saw her douse her neighbors' guests with a lawn sprinkler.

Of course this is all the subject of a lawsuit -- and reading of Ms. Hutchins' behavior, you would think that the lawsuit had been brought by Mrs. Hollingsworth and her husband. But you would be wrong.

The lawsuit was filed by the butt-slapping, finger-giving, guest-dousing Mrs. Hutchins.

She claimed that she had been harassed, stalked and threatened when Mr. Gilligan told her ''You have no class," and ''You have no shame," after witnesses said they saw her douse her neighbors' guests with a lawn sprinkler.

Well, Judge Thomas Rappa agreed with Mr. Gilligan's assessment of Mrs. Hutchins, finding that she " has engaged in a course of conduct that is both provocative and harassing," and ''...the fact that (Gilligan) responded to this conduct with comments demonstrating his disdain for such actions does not constitute stalking as defined by the statute."

Welllllllllll you certainly might want to believe that this would end the matter -- but of course, Mr. Hutchins is a lawyer, so he is appealing.

Hutchins said he plans to seek reconsideration of the decision this week. He said he and his wife have a right to water their property ''which includes a portion of the road." He also said Rappa was wrong to describe his wife as having hammered a nail into a tire.

''There was no puncturing of the tire," he said.

There was, however, a demonstrable puncturing of the flimsy ego of a litigator.

UPDATE: Beachcomber's comment (edited here) corrects my facts -- and in so doing reveals the Hutchins to be worse that I could have fictionalized:

Beverly Hollingsworth and Bill Gilligan have owned "The Barnacle" for YEARS . They (and family, friends, and tenants) have had right of way use to the road for ages.

The "front lawn" that the Hutchins keep referring to in the articles is in reality their back yard and their actual yard (lawn) is fenced in and no one parks on it. Just on the dirt road (which can only park 2 cars wide and that is pushing it).

The road in question is a centuries old private road used for all the homes and Inns that used to be on the rocks (which The Barnacle is the only remaining building). It was also considered a Fire Road.

Everyone who lives in that neighborhood, or has friends/family that live there, all know that that road has been used by Hollingsworth and her family for years and the previous owner of the Hutchins home never had a problem with the cars being parked.

The Hutchins knew what they were purchasing, knew about the right of way and the status of the road, and also know the building restrictions. This was no secret when the home was on the market. They purchased anyway and now want to cry foul and make everyone's life in that neighborhood miserable.

Doesn't that just wanna make you love lawyers?

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