Posts tagged "Middleborough"

St. Laurent, et al. v. Middleborough Gas & Electric Department (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-039-18)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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   17-P-835                                        Appeals Court   ALLISON ST. LAURENT & another[1]  vs.  MIDDLEBOROUGH GAS & ELECTRIC DEPARTMENT.     No. 17-P-835.     April 4, 2018.     Municipal Corporations, Municipal electric plant, Governmental immunity.  Middleborough.  Massachusetts Tort Claims Act.  Statute, Construction.     Middleborough Gas & Electric Department (MGED) appeals from a Superior Court order denying its motion to dismiss for lack of presentment.  The motion judge denied the motion on the ground that MGED is not a “public employer” subject to the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act, and thus the presentment requirement of G. L. c. 258, § 4, did not apply.  We disagree and remand so that the Superior Court can address whether the presentment requirement was satisfied on the facts here.   Background.[2]  The complaint alleges that the plaintiffs were injured in October, 2013, when a ladder they were near came into contact with an “arc[ing]” electrical current.  They claim that the current came from an “improperly grounded” line maintained by MGED, and that MGED was negligent.  Between November, 2013, and July, 2015, and prior to filing suit, the plaintiffs’ attorney communicated with representatives of MGED multiple times, both orally and in writing.  Eventually efforts at presuit resolution failed, and the plaintiffs filed this lawsuit on April 19, 2016.   MGED filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the plaintiffs had failed to make presentment as required by the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act, G. L. c. 258, § 4.  The plaintiffs responded (1) that no presentment was required because MGED is not a “public employer” as defined in G. L. c. 258, § 1, as amended by St. 1993, c. 110, § 227, and thus the Tort Claims Act does not apply and (2) that in any event the plaintiffs had satisfied the presentment requirement through correspondence with representatives of MGED.  The motion judge denied MGED’s motion on the ground that MGED was not a public employer, but rather was a “commercial business.”   Discussion.  The question before us turns on the definition of “public employer,” found at c. 258, § 1, which provides that “public employer” includes “any . . . town . . . and any department . . . thereof . . . including a municipal gas or electric plant.”  In construing a statute we begin with its plain language, and we think the language here admits of only one interpretation.  See Commonwealth v. Stewart-Johnson, 78 Mass. App. Ct. 592, 600 (2011) (“A statute is to be interpreted according […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - April 4, 2018 at 3:57 pm

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Twomey, et al. v. Town of Middleborough, et al. (and a companion case) (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-092-14)

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     SJC‑11435   GAIL E. TWOMEY & others[1]  vs.  TOWN OF MIDDLEBOROUGH & others[2] (and a consolidated case[3]).     Plymouth.     February 6, 2014.  ‑  June 2, 2014. Present:  Ireland, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Gants, Duffly, & Lenk, JJ.       Municipal Corporations, Home rule, Group insurance, Selectmen, Town meeting.  Insurance, Group.  Retirement.  Middleborough.       Civil actions commenced in the Superior Court Department on October 30, 2009, and June 1, 2010.   After consolidation, the case was heard by Jeffrey A. Locke, J., on motions for summary judgment.   The Supreme Judicial Court on its own initiative transferred the case from the Appeals Court.     Sandra C. Quinn for Gail E. Twomey & others. Thomas J. Burns, III, for Charles Armanetti & others.   Leo J. Peloquin for the defendants.     SPINA, J.  In this case, we consider which municipal entity, the board of selectmen or the town meeting, has the authority to establish the percentage of the total monthly premium for insurance coverage by a health maintenance organization (HMO) that is to be paid by a town’s retired employees.  We conclude that, pursuant to G. L. c. 32B, § 16, the board of selectmen has such authority. 1.  Statutory framework.  Under the Home Rule Amendment, art. 89, § 6, of the Amendments to the Massachusetts Constitution, municipalities of the Commonwealth may choose to provide health insurance coverage to their employees.  See Cioch v. Treasurer of Ludlow, 449 Mass. 690, 695 (2007).  General Laws c. 32B is a so-called “local option” statute that governs the provision of group insurance (medical and certain other coverages) once a municipality has voted to accept the terms of the statute.  See Connors v. Boston, 430 Mass. 31, 37 (1999); Yeretsky v. Attleboro, 424 Mass. 315, 316-317 (1997).  Recognizing that various municipalities may have different priorities, we have said that “a municipality is permitted to adopt ‘only those provisions of the statute that best accommodate its needs and budget.’”  Cioch, supra at 697, quoting Yeretsky, supra at 317.  Where the municipality at issue is a town, acceptance of many, but not all, of the provisions of G. L. c. 32B is “by vote of the inhabitants at a town meeting.”  Yeretsky, supra at 317 n.5.  See G. L. c. 32B, § 10. When it was enacted, G. L. c. 32B, inserted by St. 1956, c. 730, § 1, authorized municipalities to offer certain employees and […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - June 2, 2014 at 2:57 pm

Categories: News   Tags: , , , , , , ,