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Thompson, et al. v. Civil Service Commission, et al. (and a companion case) (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-144-16)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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   15-P-330                                        Appeals Court   PRESTON THOMPSON & others[1]  vs.  CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION & another[2] (and a companion case[3]).     No. 15-P-330.   Suffolk.     May 10, 2016. – October 7, 2016.   Present:  Cypher, Blake, & Henry, JJ.     Civil Service, Police, Termination of employment, Testing, Reinstatement of personnel, Decision of Civil Service Commission.  Labor, Police, Collective bargaining, Discharge.  Municipal Corporations, Police, Collective bargaining.  Police, Discharge, Collective bargaining.  Public Employment, Police, Collective bargaining, Termination, Reinstatement of personnel.  Administrative Law, Substantial evidence.  Damages, Back pay.       Civil actions commenced in the Superior Court Department on April 3, 2013.   After consolidation, the case was heard by Judith Fabricant, J., on motions for judgment on the pleadings.     Alan H. Shapiro (John M. Becker with him) for Preston Thompson & others. Helen G. Litsas for Boston Police Department. Amy Spector, Assistant Attorney General, for Civil Service Commission.     BLAKE, J.  Between 2001 and 2006, ten officers of the Boston police department (department) submitted hair samples to the department that tested positive for cocaine.  In response, the department terminated their employment.  The ten officers appealed the terminations to the Civil Service Commission (commission).  After extensive hearings, the commission issued a decision upholding the terminations of Preston Thompson, Rudy Guity, Oscar Bridgeman, and William Bridgeforth (hereinafter, four officers), and overturning the terminations of Richard Beckers, Ronnie Jones, Jacqueline McGowan, Shawn Harris, Walter Washington, and George Downing (hereinafter, six reinstated officers or six officers), who were ordered to be reinstated with back pay and benefits to the date the commission hearings commenced. The department and each of the ten officers filed a complaint for judicial review.[4]  A judge of the Superior Court affirmed the commission’s decision, modifying only the back pay and benefits awards for the six reinstated officers to the date of each of their respective terminations.  The four officers appeal, claiming that the department lacked just cause for their terminations.  The department cross-appeals, claiming that there was substantial evidence to warrant the termination of the six reinstated officers.[5]  We affirm. Background.  1.  Legal framework.  A tenured civil service employee who is aggrieved by a disciplinary decision of an appointing authority may appeal to the commission.  See G. L. c. 31, § 41.  After finding facts anew, the commission then must determine, by a preponderance of the evidence, whether the appointing authority met […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - October 7, 2016 at 4:42 pm

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