Posts tagged "O’Neill"

O’Neill v. School Committee of North Brookfield, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-019-13)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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;     SJC‑11108     ROBERT O’NEILL  vs.  SCHOOL COMMITTEE OF NORTH BROOKFIELD & another.[1]     Hampshire.     October 4, 2012.  ‑  February 8, 2013. Present:  Ireland, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Gants, Duffly, & Lenk, JJ.       School and School Committee, Superintendent of schools, Retirement benefits.  Contract, Employment.       Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on October 11, 2006.   The case was heard by Mary‑Lou Rup, J., on motions for summary judgment; a motion for reconsideration was considered by her; and entry of final judgment was ordered by her.   The Supreme Judicial Court on its own initiative transferred the case from the Appeals Court.       Brian M. Maser for the defendants. John J. Driscoll for the plaintiff. Sandra C. Quinn & Matthew D. Jones, for Massachusetts Teachers Association, amicus curiae, submitted a brief.       BOTSFORD, J.  Robert O’Neill served as superintendent of schools in the town of North Brookfield (town) from 1998 to 2005.  His employment contract provided that on his retirement, he would be reimbursed thereafter for a percentage of his health insurance premiums on an annual basis.[2]  The question we consider is whether an employment contract between a school committee and a superintendent that contains a provision for annual reimbursement of health insurance premiums in the indefinite future is invalid and unenforceable because it exceeds the six-year limit on such contracts imposed by G. L. c. 71, § 41.  We answer the question “No” and affirm the judgment of the Superior Court. Background.  The school committee of North Brookfield (school committee) hired O’Neill as superintendent of schools in the spring of 1998.  O’Neill continued in that position until July of 2005, and during that time he was party to a series of employment contracts with the school committee.  Each provided that while employed as superintendent, O’Neill was to receive all employment-related benefits available to teachers, including health insurance coverage pursuant to G. L. c. 32B.[3]   On October 21, 2002, O’Neill and the school committee executed an employment contract with an effective date of July 1, 2002, and extending through June 30, 2005.  This contract contained for the first time a provision entitling O’Neill, on his retirement, to be reimbursed annually for a fixed percentage of the premium costs for an individual health insurance plan (reimbursement clause).  The reimbursement clause reads: “Upon retirement from […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - February 8, 2013 at 3:37 pm

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