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Exeter Possibly Hit With Over $250,000 in Attorney Fees and Costs

The town of Exeter may face over $250,000 in attorney fees over a long-time dispute with Brentwood. The disagreement all began about three years ago when Exeter “illegally placed an 8-ton weight limit on its 500-foot portion of Pine Road.”

“[A] total of $256,555.76 in legal fees and costs had been filed at the court against Exeter.” Immediately, Exeter filed a motion for reconsideration in hopes for a favorable ruling. If not granted, Exeter’s attorney, Sumner Kalman, believes the town could appeal to the state Supreme Court. Not only are the attorney fees put on hold, but the $60,000 awarded to Exeter for their industrial upgrade on Pine road is on hold as well. Such an upgrade was forced upon Exeter due to “the industrial traffic traveling to businesses at the Brentwood end of the road and short-term fixes to the Pine Road/Route 27 intersection in Exeter.”

As of now the largest attorney fee comes from an attorney who represented Brentwood Distribution at Shaheen & Gordon, P.A., who is seeking a total of $197,603.14. Another attorney who represented Brentwood in the lawsuit is looking for $36,345.27, claiming the case entailed a lot of research, which he charged at $175 an hour, “a discounted rate”.

Even though the Exeter Board of Selectmen cited safety as their main purpose for the posting, the record revealed their true monetary motives. Judge Delker said Exeter should have never posted the weight limit, which created a safety hazard in Brentwood. The posting forced industrial traffic to travel through a residential area of town. Kalman argues that the Exeter Board only acted in good faith and no plaintiff is entitled to attorney fees. Ultimately though, it will be up to the court as to whether or not the request for attorney’s fees will be granted.

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