By Michael Morton/Daily News staff
Sunday, December 31, 2006 – Updated: 12:37 AM EST
FRANKLIN – A lawsuit over a middle school fund-raiser gone awry that was originally slated to go to trial this month has been pushed back to March, said School Committee Chairman and attorney Jeffrey Roy.
The trial is now scheduled to start March 1 in Wrentham District Court. It was delayed after a defense motion to postpone was granted, Roy said.
The Parent Communication Council at Horace Mann Middle School is seeking to recoup nearly $4,000 it spent on fund-raising gift certificates it paid for but never received. The council sued gift certificate supplier Scrip Advantage of Fresno, Calif., in February. All told, the company faces nearly 500 complaints from around the country, according to the Fresno Country District Attorney’s office.
Roy is working on the lawsuit as a lawyer at his Boston firm, Ravech & Roy, not in his capacity as the School Committee chairman. He filed the suit for free but may be able to recoup his fees later if he wins the case.
The Central California Better Business Bureau revoked Scrip’s membership last year, about 10 days after the parents council placed an order for $4,000 worth of gift certificates at discounted prices. It received only $60 worth.
After the company failed to respond to the council’s calls and letters, Roy filed a suit alleging breach of contract, fraud and violation of consumer protection laws.
Scrip representatives could not be reached for comment. On the company’s Web site, a note says the firm is seeking Chapter 11 restructuring.
“I’m confident we’ll win the case,” Roy said. “Where I have reservations is how I’m going to collect the money.” He said he hoped the FBI would open a criminal case that might allow further restitution.
A second Franklin parents’ group, at Benjamin Franklin Classical Charter Public School, also lost several thousand dollars in dealings with Scrip Advantage, Roy said. Members have spoken to him about the matter but have not decided whether to file suit, he said.
“They would have to sue separately,” he said.
Michael Morton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 508-634-7582 .