Scott McGowan

A filing Wednesday is the latest move in a federal lawsuit from Williamstown Police Sgt. Scott McGowan, above, that accuses Williamstown’s police chief and town manager of bias.

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WILLIAMSTOWN — The attorney for a Williamstown police sergeant has until Friday to oppose an effort by the town to dismiss elements of a lawsuit filed in August. 

David A. Russcol, the Boston attorney representing Sgt. Scott McGowan, won an additional week to file opposition, after notifying the judge handling the case that he faced a heavy workload and also encountered child care issues linked to the pandemic.

Russcol was given until Friday to reply to an Oct. 9 filing in which the town’s attorney, Patricia M. Rapinchuk, asked U.S. Magistrate Katherine A. Robertson to dismiss elements of the complaint.

Rapinchuk argued that McGowan, who remains on the job, does not provide enough evidence that he was discriminated against by Williamstown Police Chief Kyle Johnson — one of the accusations of the lawsuit.

In a filing, Russcol said he intends to oppose that motion on behalf of McGowan. “However, due to other pressing matters and commitments,” Russcol said in the filing, “as well as child care responsibilities due to the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, Plaintiff has not yet completed his opposition and will be unable adequately to do so by the current deadline,” Russcol wrote.

Robertson granted the request for additional time.

The town’s legal team — Rapinchuk and Hunter S. Keil of Robinson Donovan PC in Springfield — have questioned McGowan’s assertion that he was treated illegally on the basis of a disability after he was placed on leave in early 2019, after citing workplace stress.

The lawyers noted in their Oct. 9 filing that since McGowan was cleared to return to work, the issues were “transitory and minor.” They asserted that McGowan was not handicapped and cannot make legal claims on that basis.

Larry Parnass can be reached at lparnass@berkshireeagle.com and 413-588-8341.

Investigations editor

Larry Parnass, investigations editor, joined The Eagle in 2016 from the Daily Hampshire Gazette, where he was editor in chief. His freelance work has appeared in the Washington Post, Boston Globe, Hartford Courant and CommonWealth Magazine.


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