The case of Lisa Bright, former head of the Boynton Beach Community Redevelopment Agency, vs. Boynton Beach could go to trial Oct. 15, but only if attorneys for both parties file the required paperwork with the court and have communicated with each other about potential witnesses and other case issues, Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Jack Cox said Tuesday.
Cox, in a hearing with attorneys for Bright and the CRA, also delayed ruling on several motions filed by both parties, including one filed by Bright’s attorney Christina Kitterman that looks to add the city, former Mayor José Rodriguez and the city’s attorney to a lawsuit filed by Bright in 2011.
In court documents filed in July, Kitterman indicates that Rodriguez and city attorney James Cherof “are intertwined in violating Lisa’s constitutional right to due process.”
In addition, the complaint said, a former city commissioner requested information on city ordinances from the city manager and city attorney to support terminating Bright, despite the fact that city officials knew Bright was governed by the CRA policies, not city policies.
In the lawsuit, Bright alleges that then-Commissioner Rodriguez orchestrated Bright’s departure partly in retaliation for her rejecting his sexual advances and for contacting police after, she said, he manhandled her and shouted at her during a 2008 workshop.
The suit also says after Rodriguez was elected mayor in March 2010, he wanted Bright out so he could control the CRA.
Bright — whose base salary as director was $128,125 — has said she is demanding back pay, vacation pay, pension and benefits dating to September 2010, when the board voted not to renew her contract.
Lyman Reynolds, who represents the CRA, also filed several motions, including one to strike two witnesses from a list provided by Kitterman and another requesting an updated deposition from Bright, whose deposition took place almost two years ago.
Bright was in court, but she and Kitterman each declined comment.
Cox chastised both attorneys for not following a pretrial order that representatives for both parties meet in person 30 days before they were to meet with Cox to decide a trial date.
The judge also said it was important for the two to discuss, at length, specific issues with the case, so it is a smooth process for jurors in the event that the case goes to trial next month.
“I’m a little concerned that you all didn’t do what I told you to do. As a result, now I have this problem,” Cox said, referring to the numerous motions presented to him Tuesday.