WORCESTER — While city housing advocates say out-of-town constables and other special process servers from outside the city can use forceful tactics against direct-action protests, the city solicitor has found the city cannot interfere with who a judge appoints to carry out an eviction or foreclosure.
Following requests from a group of city activists and a city councilor for the city manager to stop outside constables from carrying out evictions, City Solicitor Michael Traynor wrote in a legal opinion attached to the City Council agenda released Friday that the city manager does not have legal authority to prevent a court-appointed special process server from carrying out what the court has empowered them to do.
“The judge reviewing the request exercises their judgment in the approval or denial of the motion,” Traynor wrote. “For this reason, the court would not agree to preemptively refuse to issue any special process server appointments.”
At the May 9 City Council meeting, Councilor-at-Large Thu Nguyen requested City Manager Eric D. Batista not allow anyone, including a special process server and an outside constable not licensed as a constable in the city of Worcester, to have the ability to execute an eviction.
Nguyen’s request came after members of the Worcester Anti-Foreclosure Team, a mutual aid fund whose volunteers have used direct-action protests such as human blockades to prevent residents from being evicted from their homes, reported constables who come from outside of Worcester are serving foreclosures and have resorted to attempting to physically move protestors from the property.
Nguyen shared a video on Instagram May 3 that appeared to show a 2017 incident where people carrying out an eviction being physically held back by protestors. The man trying