Posts tagged "1103517"

Quarterman v. City of Springfield, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-035-17)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA, 02108-1750; (617) 557-1030; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us   16-P-223                                        Appeals Court   WILL QUARTERMAN  vs.  CITY OF SPRINGFIELD & another.[1]     No. 16-P-223.   Hampden.     November 9, 2016. – March 29, 2017.   Present:  Kafker, C.J., Kinder, & Lemire, JJ.     Alcoholic Liquors, License, Local licensing authority.  Anti-Discrimination Law, Race, Damages, Attorney’s fees.  Practice, Civil, Judgment notwithstanding verdict, Motion to amend, Instructions to jury.  Judgment, Amendment.  Damages, Loss of profits, Attorney’s fees.     Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on August 14, 2008.   The case was tried before Daniel A. Ford, J., an award of attorney’s fees was ordered by him, and motions for judgment notwithstanding the verdict and to alter or amend the judgment were heard by him.     Leonard H. Kesten for the plaintiff. Edward M. Pikula, City Solicitor, for the defendants.     KINDER, J.  On April 13, 2006, the board of license commissioners (board) of the city of Springfield (city) denied plaintiff Will Quarterman’s application for a liquor license.  Quarterman, an African American, brought this action against board chairman Peter Sygnator and the city, claiming that denial of the application was discriminatory and in retaliation for Quarterman’s earlier filing of a complaint with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD).  Ultimately, a Superior Court jury rejected the claim of racial discrimination, but found that the city, through the actions of former Mayor Charles Ryan, had retaliated against Quarterman in violation of G. L. c. 151B, § 4(4).[2]  The jury awarded damages of $ 250,000 in lost profits and $ 100,000 for emotional distress. The city challenged the verdict in posttrial motions for judgment nothwithstanding the verdict (judgment n.o.v.), to alter or amend the judgment, and for a new trial.  Principally, the city argued that the evidence of retaliation and damages was insufficient.  In a comprehensive written decision, the trial judge denied the motions as to liability for retaliation, but allowed them, in part, as to damages.  The judge concluded that there was evidentiary support for the award of $ 100,000 for emotional distress.  However, he found that the evidence of lost profits was “lacking in substance.”  He also reasoned that Quarterman had failed to establish standing to claim lost profits because the profits were not direct and personal to him.  Accordingly, the judge reduced the damages from $ 350,000 to $ 100,000.  Quarterman challenges that ruling on appeal. On cross-appeal, the city […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - March 29, 2017 at 2:52 pm

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