Significant Cases/Decisions

The following are summaries of cases in which Skoler, Abbott & Presser, P.C. obtained summary judgments, dismissals, affirmations, jury verdicts, and other favorable outcomes for Skoler Abbott clients.

Marcelina Powell v. Goddard House et al., Docket No. 15:1945 (1st Cir. March 11, 2016)

Attorney Marylou Fabbo successfully persuaded the First Circuit Court of Appeals to affirm the decision of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts (Sorokin, J.) dismissing a complaint brought by a former employee. The employee filed a complaint in which she alleged a variety of alleged wrongdoings on the part of the defendants; however, she did not identify any law that the defendants violated by their alleged behavior. As it was impossible to respond to the complaint as written, Attorney Fabbo filed a Motion for a More Definite Statement, which the District Court promptly granted. The employee filed an Amended Complaint which also failed to identify the legal theory under which the employee was proceeding, and the Court dismissed her lawsuit. The employee appealed to the First Circuit, and it affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of the lawsuit.

Gary Dufresne v. O.F. Mossberg & Sons, Inc., Docket No. 3:14-cv-0021-WIG (D. Conn. June 15, 2015)

Attorney Kimberly A. Klimczuk successfully obtained summary judgment on behalf of O.F. Mossberg in a case where an applicant for employment alleged he was discriminated against on the basis of perceived disability and was entitled to reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act.  O.F. Mossberg had offered the plaintiff a machine operator position contingent on passing a pre-employment physical, but rescinded the offer after he failed the physical.  The U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut awarded summary judgment to O.F. Mossberg, concluding that no reasonable jury could find that O.F. Mossberg had discriminated against the plaintiff or had any obligation to accommodate the restrictions imposed by the physician who conducted the pre-employment medical exam.

Rutherford v. Employer, Docket No. 13-CV-30056-MAP (D. Mass March 31, 2015)

Attorney Amelia J. Holstrom was successful in obtaining a dismissal in a case where a former employee alleged that she was retaliated against for taking Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Leave, that her FMLA rights were interfered with, and that she was constructively discharged.

After the self-represented Plaintiff failed to respond to discovery and refused to appear for her deposition, despite being warned multiple times by the Court that she had to participate in her case, Attorney Holstrom filed a Motion to Dismiss the matter. The Motion was granted by Judge Ponsor on March 31, 2015

Grover v. Employer, Docket No. 2013-P-1501 (July 7, 2014)

Attorney John Gannon successfully persuaded the Massachusetts Appeals Court to affirm a decision denying Plaintiff’s unemployment benefits. The employee was terminated for insubordination after failing to properly clean patient rooms. The employee continually failed to clean the rooms despite several warnings. She was fired but pursued unemployment benefits. Plaintiff’s benefits were denied, and she appealed all the way to the Massachusetts Appeals Court. The Appeals Court concluded Plaintiff was not entitled to benefits because she committed deliberate misconduct in willful disregard of the employer’s interest, and there were no circumstances that mitigated her misconduct.

Guardia v. Clinical & Support Options, Inc., Docket No. 12-30151-KPN (D. Mass. June 3, 2014) and Guardia v. Clinical & Support Options, Inc., Docket No. 14-1716 (1st Cir. February 20, 2015).

Attorneys Timothy F. Murphy and Amelia J. Holstrom were successful in obtaining summary judgment in a case where a former employee alleged that she was disciplined and constructively discharged because she acted as a mandated reporter when she spoke to the Department of Children and Families (DCF) about one of her clients.  Following her separation from employment, she brought claims against our client for retaliation under the state’s mandated reporting law and  for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

The plaintiff, a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker, was hired by our client as an out-patient therapist in 2006.  From 2007 to January 2010, plaintiff was a salaried employee.  As a therapist, plaintiff provided mental health therapy to clients. Under Massachusetts law, there is a social worker-client privilege that protects communications between the social worker and her client.  Pursuant to the Massachusetts Mandated Reporter statute, there is an exception to the privilege.  The statute provides that when a social worker has reasonable cause to believe that a child under the age of 18 is suffering physical or emotional injury due to abuse or neglect, the social worker, who is a mandated reporter, must report the suspected abuse or neglect to DCF.  If there is no suspected physical or emotional injury due to abuse or neglect, then a social worker cannot disclose the confidential communications without a signed release from the client.

When our client learned that plaintiff had disclosed confidential information about a client to DCF without a signed release and under circumstances that were not covered by the mandated reporter statute, it decided to discipline plaintiff.  Plaintiff then resigned and, thereafter, in August 2012 filed a suit for retaliation for acting as a mandated reporter and violation of the FLSA for the time period when she was a salaried employee.

A United States District Court judge granted summary judgment for our client.  The court found that plaintiff, by her own admission, was not acting as a mandated reporter when she disclosed confidential communications to DCF and, therefore, her discipline was not an act of retaliation. The court also concluded that plaintiff was not constructively discharged.

As to the FLSA claim, the court found that a two year statute of limitations period applied.  Under the FLSA there is a two year statute of limitations period unless an individual can establish that an employer’s violation of the law was willful.  In this case, the court concluded that there was no evidence of a willful violation.  As a result, plaintiff could not recover for any alleged wage violation prior to August 2010 because she did not file her claim until August 2012.  Additionally, the court went on to find that even if a three year statute of limitations period applied, the plaintiff was properly classified as an exempt employee.  As a result, there was no violation under the FLSA.

Plaintiff appealed. The First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the grant of Summary Judgment.

Coburn Technologies v. Employee, Docket No. 3:13-cv-00925-JCH (D. Conn. Aug. 2013)

Attorney John Gannon was successful in dismissing a case where a former employee allegedly violated a non-compete agreement. The former employee was working in Canada and his former employer was located in Connecticut. The United States District Court (New Haven) dismissed the case because the former employer could not establish the court had personal jurisdiction over the employee.

Hymel v. Brunswick Laboratories, et al., Docket No. BRCV2011-00020-A (Mass. Super. September 24, 2012)

Attorneys Timothy F. Murphy and John Gannon were successful in obtaining summary judgment in a case where a former employee alleged she was laid off because of her age and national origin.  Following her separation from employment, she sued our client for violations of Massachusetts anti-discrimination law.

The plaintiff was hired by our client as a laboratory scientist in 2007.  Unfortunately, like many other businesses during the Great Recession, the company began experiencing financial difficulties in 2009.  Based on declining revenue and profits, our client was forced to lay off the plaintiff.   She responded by filing a discrimination lawsuit.  The plaintiff alleged that her age and national origin were the true reasons for letting her go.  In support of these claims, the plaintiff pointed to several comments allegedly made by her supervisor that showed favoritism for younger employees who were not of the plaintiff’s national origin.  Specifically, she alleged that her supervisor said younger scientists would work for less, and Chinese employees had superior work attitudes.

The Superior Court dismissed the lawsuit concluding that the supervisor’s statements were not made with discriminatory intent.  Although the alleged comments made allusions to age and national origin, they were based on real economic factors.  The financial well-being of the company was deteriorating, and his comments were more of a “pep talk” to inform all of the employees that their jobs were in jeopardy, including his own.  His remarks were made to the entire workforce, and were not aimed specifically at the plaintiff.  In the end, the court concluded that these comments were not enough to defeat our client’s motion for summary judgment.  The plaintiff failed to show that the decision to lay her off was not based on our client’s financial predicament.

Although this case was a win for our client, it serves as a reminder that comments in the workplace that reference protected characteristics (i.e., age, race, disability, etc.) can invite a costly lawsuit.  For more information reducing the likelihood of discrimination claims, contact Attorney Timothy F. Murphy.

Kathy Henry v. United Bank, 2012 WL 2866097, Docket No. 11-1666 (1st Cir. July 13, 2012)

Attorney Marylou Fabbo successfully defended an appeal from a decision of the U.S. District Court, which had granted summary judgment to a local bank and dismissed the lawsuit against it.

Henry was a Credit Analyst who had a medical condition that United accommodated for several months until she could no longer work at all.  Henry took a medical leave, but at no time could she or her doctors provide United with any idea of when she may have been able to return to work.  After twelve weeks, United terminated her employment because it could no longer hold her position open indefinitely.  As a result, Henry filed disability discrimination and FMLA claims against United in Massachusetts Federal Court.

The First Circuit affirmed summary judgment to United Bank, finding that it supported its legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for ending Henry’s employment such as such as the extra workload her co-workers had been required to carry in her absence, an outside auditor’s recommendation that three people hold the position of Credit Analyst for regulatory compliance purposes, the expected increase in the department’s workload, and the inability to fill her position with a temporary employee due to confidentiality concerns.

The First Circuit also held that Henry failed to establish material factual disputes about whether United’s stated reason for her discharge was a pretext for not only FMLA retaliation, but also disability discrimination and retaliation under Massachusetts and federal law.

Furthermore, the appeals court concluded that Henry lacked a claim for denial of a reasonable accommodation because she had not pleaded it with specificity in her complaint.  It also stated that even if she had, the court said, Henry’s requested accommodation, which amounted to an “open-ended or indefinite leave extension,” was unreasonable.

Abbiati v. Wyle Information Sys., LLC, et al., Docket No. 10-00258 (Mass. Super. May 8, 2012)

Attorney Marylou Fabbo was successful in obtaining summary judgment for clients in a case where they were alleged to have aided and abetted gender discrimination, retaliated against the plaintiff for complaining about discrimination and attempted to interfere with plaintiff’s business relationship with a potential employer.

Our client, Wyle, never employed the plaintiff.  Rather, the plaintiff had been employed by a company that subcontracted work from our corporate client, and she had worked with the individual defendant at that company before he began work at Wyle.  The plaintiff made a complaint of gender discrimination to her employer when she failed to receive a promotion that was awarded to the individual defendant when he had worked with her.  The Plaintiff then claimed that when this individual began working for our client, he retaliated against her as the result of the gender discrimination complaint she had made and that he aided and abetted her employer’s discrimination.  The Plaintiff also claimed that our clients interfered with her ability to obtain employment with a subsequent employer by “badmouthing” her to that employer.

The Superior Court granted summary judgment to our clients and dismissed the lawsuit.  The court held that the Plaintiff could not establish that defendants “aided and abetted” her employer’s discrimination because an arbitrator had concluded that no discrimination had in fact occurred.  The court also held that the defendants’ actions, including removing the Plaintiff from work on a contract when she continued to jeopardize their relationship with the ultimate customer, were based on legitimate, non-retaliatory factors.  Finally, the court also held that there was no evidence that any defamatory statements had been made to the potential employer and that the Plaintiff’s own admission that the potential employer did not believe any defamatory statements that allegedly had been made must result in a dismissal of that claim.

Thomas v Lutheran Social Services of New England, et al.,  Docket No. PLCV2010-00303 (Mass. Super. February 21, 2012)

Attorneys Marylou Fabbo and John Gannon were successful in persuading the court to dismissa former employee’s discrimination claim when she and her attorney failed to cooperate during the discovery process.

A Superior Court judge dismissed a lawsuit brought by a former employee of Lutheran Social Services of New England who alleged that he had been discriminated against based on his religious beliefs.  The employee had a documented history of poor performance, which included several written warnings.  Even so, he claimed that his termination was causally connected to his Christian values.  The employee brought a Chapter 151B claim against Lutheran Social Services of New England and several of its managerial employees in their individual capacities.

During the discovery phase of the litigation, Skoler Abbott partner Marylou Fabbo brought a motion to dismiss the case based on the plaintiff’s, and his counsel’s, failure to cooperate in the discovery process.  The plaintiff had failed to answer interrogatories, produce documents, or make himself available for deposition.  Attorney Fabbo argued that such uncooperative behavior was completely unfair to her clients, who were distressed over being named in the lawsuit and eager to resolve the matter.  Ultimately, Attorney Fabbo won a very substantial costs award for her clients based on plaintiff’s and his counsel’s continued uncooperative behavior in the case.  The costs were not paid, and Attorney Fabbo, along with Skoler Abbott associate John Gannon, brought a renewed motion to dismiss the case.  The court granted the motion and dismissed the plaintiff’s lawsuit.  This decision demonstrates that dismissal of a discrimination claim, although difficult to obtain, is not an insurmountable hurdle.  It’s also a reminder that the court views both parties’ active participation in discovery as an essential component to the litigation process.  For more information on effective discovery strategies, contact Marylou Fabbo or John Gannon.

NLRB Dismisses Unfair Labor Practice Charges that Blocked Decertification Petition (January 2011)

Under the National Labor Relations Act, at certain times, employees represented by a union can seek to bring that representation to an end, by petitioning the NLRB to conduct a secret ballot decertification election.  Employees at New England Confectionary Company (“NECCO”) filed a decertification petition seeking such an election so that employees could vote on whether employees wished to continue to be represented by the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers & Grain Millers International Union.   However, the Union filed unfair labor practice charges, alleging that the petition was tainted by employer misconduct.  Specifically the Union claimed that petition was tainted  and that NECCO had violated the National Labor Relations Act by allowing a rank and file employee to solicit signatures on the decertification petition during work hours, and through the actions of an HR generalist at NECCO who allegedly assisted employees in obtaining signatures supporting the decertification petition.  Based on the Union’s unfair labor practice charges, the Boston Regional Director issued a Complaint against the company and dismissed the decertification petition.

The matter proceeded to a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) with Jay Presser, a partner at Skoler, Abbott & Presser, PC, defending the Company.  The ALJ, after hearing, agreed with the employer’s argument that the HR generalist was not an agent or apparent agent of the employer, and that her conduct therefore was not attributable to the employer as an unfair labor practice. The ALJ also found no evidence that NECCO had interfered with the petition by discriminatorily allowing employees to solicit signatures on the petition during work hours.  The ALJ did find that it was an unfair labor practice for a manager, while complimenting a pro-Union employee’s work efforts, which because of the Union’s contract with the company, unfortunately could not pay the employee more.

The NLRB’s General Counsel and Union appealed the ALJ’s decision.  On December 30, 2010, the Board affirmed the decision of the Administrative Law Judge, including his dismissal of the charges of conduct that were alleged to have tainted the petition process.  As a result, the previously dismissed petition for decertification may be reopened in the future.

Court Enforces Non-Competition Agreement for Skoler Abbott Client (January 2011)

A Superior Court judge recently affirmed the validity of a non-competition agreement, sending a warning to both employees who violate non-competition agreements and the employers who hire them in violation of those agreements.  A sales employee of Kinsley Equipment Co., Inc. (“Kinsley”), entered into an agreement with Kinsley agreeing not to solicit the company’s actual or potential customers for a two-year period after his employment ended.  Upon learning that his Kinsley employment might end, the employee applied for a job and was hired by one of Kinsley’s direct competitors, Authorized Services of New England, LLC (“Authorized”).  Kinsley contacted Skoler Abbott partner Marylou Fabbo, who contacted Authorized Services and informed the company of the existence of the non-competition agreement.  Authorized was not persuaded to rescind its job offer, and so Attorney Fabbo filed a lawsuit on behalf of Kinsley against Authorized and the employee, seeking enforcement of the non-competition agreement and requesting an injunction immediately enforcing the Agreement.  After hearing the parties’ respective arguments on the validity of the non-competition agreement, the Superior Court issued an order prohibiting the employee from competing with Kinsley in any manner within his former assigned sales territory; from contacting, directly or indirectly, any business entity or individual who had been one of Kinsley’s actual or prospective client with whom the employee had contact during the employee’s last year of employment with Kinsley; and from revealing any of Kinsley’s confidential information to anyone.  This decision demonstrates that courts will enforce non-competition agreements if they are reasonable in terms of the length of the prohibition on competition and geographic scope, and if they also serve to protect employers’ legitimate business interests.  For more information on how to effectively draft a non-competition agreement or how to pursue a breach of such an agreement, contact Marylou Fabbo.

Eastman v. Massachusetts Motor Transport Association: Jay M. Presser Wins Summary Judgment for Defendant (December 2010)

Skoler, Abbott & Presser was able to obtain Summary Judgment in favor of our client, the Massachusetts Motor Transport Association in Eastman v. Massachusetts Motor Transport Association (MMTA), et al.  The MMTA had offered a life insurance policy as part of the benefit package for a new executive director.  The offer letter referenced “$100,000 life insurance, no cost” to employee.  There were no discussions between the new executive director and the MMTA regarding how the life insurance would be provided.

After he began work, the newly hired executive director was told that he would have to apply for life insurance coverage.  He did so, but unfortunately, the life insurance application was turned down by the carrier, due to an existing health condition.  While other efforts to obtain life insurance were being explored, the executive director tragically died, without the life insurance in place.  His widow then sued, claiming that he had been promised insurance immediately and without need for an application process and that therefore the MMTA had breached the employment “contract” outlined in the offer letter.

Contract claims to have a six year statute of limitations, and the lawsuit was commenced just before the six year anniversary of the director’s death.  However, Skoler Abbott successfully argued that the statute of limitations began to run, not with the employee’s death, but months earlier, when it became clear that there was no life insurance in place.  That being the case, the six year limitations period had run out before the commencement of the suit, and even if the failure to provide coverage was a breach of the employment contract, the widow’s lawsuit was time barred. The court agreed and dismissed the complaint.  Jay Presser represented the MMTA in this matter.

Wise, et. al. v. Patriot Resorts Corporation, et. al.:  Summary Judgment for Defendant (July 2009)

A Berkshire County Superior Court judge granted summary judgment for our clients in a purported wage hour class action brought by former timeshare sales employees who claim they were not paid commissions that had become due and payable to them.  The employees claimed their written contracts with their employer were unenforceable because the contracts allegedly violated Massachusetts public policy and violated the state’s Wage Act. The contracts specified that the sales staff would be paid commissions, but only after three, timely monthly payments had been made by the purchaser.  We argued that the Wage Act only requires an employer to pay commissions promptly after they become definitely determined and due and payable, and that the Act does not interfere with the parties’ ability to establish the event upon which the commissions become due and payable. The Superior Court judge agreed with us and ruled in favor of our clients, dismissing most of the case before trial.  In addition to establishing that our client’s commission structure did not violate the Wage Act, we persuaded the court that that our client was not unjustly enriched and that its parent corporation located in Florida was not liable to the plaintiffs.  Marylou Fabbo was counsel of record for Patriot Resorts on this decision.

Skoler Abbott Clients Win Elections (April 2009)

John Glenn represented a beer distributor  in Saranac Lake, New York which was the target of an organizing drive by Teamsters Local 687.  On April 2, 2009, the Employer prevailed in an NLRB election with 10 votes against the Union and one vote for the Union.

John Glenn represented a large national health care client whose long term care facility in Wilmington, Delaware  was the target of an organizing drive by Teamsters Local 325.  On March 4, 2009, the Employer prevailed in an NLRB election with 38 votes against the Union and five votes for the Union.

Walonoski v. Goodrich Pump & Engine Control Systems, Inc.: Marylou Fabbo Wins Summary Judgment for Defendant (March 2009)

Connecticut Federal Judge Peter C. Dorsey granted summary judgment for our client, Goodrich, in a case brought by a former employee, who claimed that Goodrich had violated his rights under the Connecticut and federal Family Medical Leave Acts, ERISA, and that the company had breached the terms and conditions of its own policy and procedure manual.  Specifically, the employee claimed that the company treated him unfairly when it placed him on a Performance Improvement Plan and terminated him, thus denying him the opportunity to apply for and obtain FMLA time off and disability benefits.  The company did not dispute that the employee was disabled, but denied violating any of his rights, and the judge agreed.  The court found that Goodrich had treated the employee fairly during his employment and that the employee was not entitled to state or federal FMLA because he did not apply for it until after his employment had been terminated.  The court also held that the company’s policy and procedure manual did not constitute a contract of employment and, even if it were considered, the company had not breached its terms.  Marylou Fabbo represented Goodrich in this litigation.

Haberern v. Goodrich Pump & Engine Control Systems, Inc.:  Summary Judgment for Defendant (January 2009)

A federal judge in Connecticut  granted summary judgment for our client, Goodrich, in a case brought by a former employee claiming that Goodrich’s termination of his employment was a wrongful and negligent, constituted an unfair trade practice, and denied him pension benefits.  The employee had claimed that records relating to a specific Goodrich product were incomplete and that he was terminated because he insisted they be completed, thus acting to protect the safety of the public who would come in contact with the product.  Not only were we able to demonstrate that our client’s records were, in fact, fully complete, but we also demonstrated that the real reason for the employee’s termination was his blatant refusal – not once, but twice —  to attend a meeting with an individual with whom he had been having a dispute.  Judgment on all counts was entered for Goodrich, avoiding the need for further litigation.  Marylou Fabbo was counsel of record for Goodrich on this decision.

DeSouza v. DRS Power Technology, Inc.: Marylou Fabbo Wins Jury Verdict for Defendant (January 2009)

A Worcester County Superior Court jury recently sided with DRS Power Technology, Inc., in a lawsuit filed by a three-week, temporary employee.  The employee had been assigned by his employer, a temporary placement agency, to work as an Engineer on a specific project at DRS in the fall of 2003.  After a few weeks, DRS concluded that the employee did not have the necessary skills for the position and ended his temporary assignment.  The employee, however, claimed that his assignment had been cut short after he revealed purported “design defects” at a meeting on his second day on the job.  The employee claimed that his separation constituted a wrongful discharge in violation of public policy and, thus, was illegal under Massachusetts law.  After a 5-day trial in January 2009, the 13 person jury quickly concluded that the employee’s claim had no merit and, in fact, found he had not even made the complaints about design defects upon which his claims were based.  Our client, DRS Power Technology, Inc., was vindicated.  Marylou Fabbo was trial counsel for DRS.

Culhane, Cooper and Saunders v. Baystate Medical Center (September 2007)

The client was awarded summary judgment in a discrimination lawsuit brought by three former employees, including a manager. While the employees contended that they had done nothing warranting termination, which followed an investigation into allegations of time-theft and related misconduct, the employer was able to prevail on summary judgment by convincing the court to focus on the mental state of the decision makers, rather than the dispute over actual culpability. Since the evidence indicated that the employer acted because of an earnest, and fairly based belief of wrongdoing, the protests of innocence were insufficient to create a material issue of fact necessitating a jury trial.

Skoler Abbott Client Vindicated at MCAD Hearing (December 2006)

An MCAD Hearing Officer recently dismissed the claim of a former employee of Metso Automation, Inc., who had claimed that he was not promoted because of age discrimination. Robert DeLorge filed a charge of discrimination against Metso after his job was eliminated in November 2001. DeLorge claimed that he should have been promoted to the position of service technician instead of another younger man who was selected for the job. Metso contended that the successful candidate had more technical expertise and was more experienced in dealing with customer service issues and the extensive travel commitments of the position. The matter went to Public Hearing in June 2006. Jay M. Presser and Susan G. Fentin represented Metso at the Public Hearing and submitted proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law to the hearing officer after the close of testimony. In December, the Hearing Officer dismissed the complaint, concluding that Metso had legitimate concerns about DeLorge’s qualifications for the position. Metso believed that DeLorge lacked both the machining expertise and the personal skills necessary to perform the essential functions of the position, including dealing with emergencies and potentially anxious customers. The Hearing Officer dismissed DeLorge’s complaint, finding that there was no evidence that Metso had selected the other candidate based on his age, and that there was no evidence that the legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons that the company put forth as its justification for its decision were in any way pretextual.

Caron v. Georgetown Condominium Association (December 2006)

Client moved for and was awarded summary judgment on five counts in a case where a former employee alleged breach of contract, wrongful termination in violation of public policy, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent infliction of emotional distress and the former employee’s spouse alleged loss of consortium. In granting summary judgment, the superior court found that the Plaintiff’s breach of contract claim failed because she was an at-will employee and, as such, her employer was free to modify the terms of her employment; the Plaintiff’s wrongful termination claim failed because she could not establish constructive discharge and the intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress and loss of consortium claims were barred by the exclusivity provisions of the Workers’ Compensation Act.

Woods v. Baystate Medical Center (June 2006)

In this federal court case the Plaintiff, an African-American woman alleged that she was terminated due to her race, and in retaliation of her protest of allegedly racist comments by a coworker about her brother. The court granted summary judgment finding that the hospital had acted appropriately in response to the comments, and concluded that the evidence compelled a conclusion that the employee was actually terminated for legitimate reasons, including her confrontations with co-workers and supervisors. Plaintiff appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, which affirmed the district court’s decision.

Desenso v. Lincare Inc. and Charles Lopresti (May 2006)

Clients moved for and were awarded partial summary judgment in a case where a former employee alleged common law violations of public policy, age discrimination, breach of employment contract and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. In granting summary judgment for the employer and manager, the federal court found that: the public policy claims were barred as there are existing statutory remedies; the Plaintiff could not establish a prima facie case of age discrimination because he could not show that any of the employees who remained at Lincare and took over his job responsibilities were substantially younger than he was; the Employee Handbook was not a contract; and the claims for intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress were barred by the exclusivity provisions of the Workers’ Compensation Act.

Tashjian v. Springfield Foodservice Corporation (March 2006)

Our client was awarded summary judgment in a case where a former employee had alleged that the company had not paid him sales commissions according to his original commission agreement. In granting summary judgment for the company, the superior court found that the company had notified the former employee that it was modifying his commission agreement and the employee continued to work for the company for years in full knowledge that his commission agreement was modified.

Hall v. MeadWestvaco Corp. (May 2005)

An employee who took a bona fide FMLA leave was not restored to his prior position. After trial a jury awarded back pay. However we convinced the judge that we had met our affirmative burden of establishing “good faith” thereby overcoming the presumption favoring liquidated damages in such cases. We also convinced the judge not to allow the issue of front pay to go to the jury. As a result, the judgment was a fraction of Plaintiff’s lowest settlement demand.

Bruno v. Allegro MicroSystems, Inc. (February 2005)

A black former employee brought an action in the state court alleging that he was terminated due to his race, and that he was subjected to racial harassment while employed. The jury, after a week long trial, issued a verdict for Defendant.

Bleau v. PMC-Pro; Hoynoski v. PMC-Pro (June 2004)

Our client, PMC-Pro, had a reduction in force that led to two separate lawsuits by a supervisor and a plant manager whose positions were terminated without notice or severance. Claims included age, sex, and retaliation for having complained about sexual harassment of subordinates. Both cases were tried to a jury. We prevailed in both cases, with the court ordering a directed verdict in the A.D.E.A. action.