ADVERTISEMENT

NORTH TONAWANDA – A seven-year-old lawsuit over the sale of the former Lowry Middle School was thrown out on a legal technicality Friday by the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court.

The five-judge panel ruled unanimously that State Supreme Court Justice Frank Caruso should have dismissed the case because the papers were originally served on the school district’s attorney. The court ruled he was not part of the district’s “governing body” within the meaning of the Education Law provisions governing who should be served with a lawsuit against a school district.

The one-page ruling did not touch on the merits of the case brought by Kevin Gersh, who bought the Payne Avenue school for $700,000 in 2006. It’s now home to Gersh Academy and the Christian Academy of Western New York.

Gersh filed suit when he saw the building’s condition. The district had removed most of the furnishings and left the walls and floors in poor condition, he claimed. Gersh said the sale contract prohibited the district from stripping the building, and Caruso had denied the district’s motion for summary judgment, a victory without a trial.