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Judge refuses to dismiss three complaints

Thursday, July 27, 2000

Former School Committee candidate will have a case against member:

A Middlesex Superior Court judge has refused to dismiss complaints that School Committee member Susan Heyman and her husband took signs belonging to School Committee candidate Brenda Loew last October.

The court did, however, dismiss all Loew's complaints against the city, and three of the six complaints against the Heymans.

"What happened last week is pretty much what we expected to happen," said Susan Heyman, who was running against Loew for a School Committee seat when the alleged incidents occurred.

Alan Posner, the Heymans' attorney, said the couple is pleased the court dropped three of Loew's claims.

"We expect we will be successful on the remaining part of the case,' .said Posner.

The court failed to dismiss Loew's claims that the Heymans trespassed to take personal property, conspired to take the signs and did not intend to retum them to their owner, known in legal terms as conversion.

The court did dismissed the claim that Loew's First Amendment rights were compromised, as well as claims of violation of the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Loew's partial victory comes after Newton District Court twice denied

"What happened last week is pretty much what we expected to happen."
Susan Heyman

her request to have complaints filed against the Heymans. The Chestnut Street resident alleges the two removed her campaign signs from public property last October without intending to return them to her.

"I thought a terrible precedent had been established," said Loew, adding the court's recent decision is just the first step in long battle. She has chosen to represent herself in the proceedings.

She claims the Heymans' actions hindered her chances at a fair election. The incumbent Heyman eventually won the Ward 5 election for another temm on the School Committee.

Newton Corner resident Lise Rubin testified in previous proceedings that she witnessed Ken Heyman yank a sign belonging to Loew from in front of the Day Middle School before driving off.

Susan Heyman was in the car and Rubin said she followed them to the Newton police station, where an officer discovered 11 signs in their back seat, but did not press larceny charges.

The Heymans contend they were merely following a Newton ordinance that disallows the placement of campaign signs on public property. Posner said the Heymans planned to give the signs to police, and a Newton judge agreed.

Loew contends it was not within the Heymans' rights to take the signs, even if they were placed illegally. The Superior Court dismissed her claim against the city that the sign ordinance is unconstitutional.

Loew said she wants the matter to go before a jury, but is uncertain what she wants in restitution. Since she has chosen to represent herself in court, she wants to restore the $5,000 in legal costs she expects to lose.

If the case proceeds, both sides will begin the process of presenting their evidence.

By Patrick Golden


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