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Flaherty v. Sheriff of Suffolk County, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-023-15)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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   14-P-778                                        Appeals Court   GEORGE H. FLAHERTY  vs.  SHERIFF OF SUFFOLK COUNTY & another.[1] No. 14-P-778. Suffolk.     December 9, 2014. – March 16, 2015.   Present:  Cohen, Fecteau, & Massing, JJ.     Sheriff.  Correction Officer.  Public Employment, Assault pay benefits, Worker’s compensation, Retirement.  Workers’ Compensation Act, Public employee.  Limitations, Statute of.  Commonwealth, Claim against.       Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on November 15, 2010.   The case was heard by Linda E. Giles, J., on motions for summary judgment.     Christopher G. Perillo for the defendants. Arinda R. Brooks for the plaintiff.     MASSING, J.  The defendants, the sheriff of Suffolk County and the Suffolk County sheriff’s department (collectively referred to as the Commonwealth[2]), appeal from a judgment of the Superior Court finding the Commonwealth liable for assault pay owed to the plaintiff, George H. Flaherty, under G. L. c. 126, § 18A (sometimes referred to as the statute).  The Commonwealth contends (1) that Flaherty’s entitlement to assault pay terminated when he reached the mandatory age of retirement for correction officers and became entitled to superannuation retirement benefits and (2) that his action is barred by the statute of limitations.  The Superior Court judge rejected both contentions.  We agree with the judge’s conclusion that Flaherty was entitled to assault pay as long as he was receiving workers’ compensation benefits, and that his action is not time barred, but we agree with the Commonwealth that the applicable statute of limitations is G. L. c. 260, § 3A, precluding Flaherty from recovering payments that became due more than three years before he filed his complaint. Background.  While working as a Suffolk County correction officer in January, 2006, Flaherty was injured as a result of prisoner violence.  An administrative judge of the Department of Industrial Accidents found that he was partially disabled and awarded him workers’ compensation benefits beginning January 4, 2006.  He continued to receive workers’ compensation benefits until September 1, 2010, the effective date of a lump sum settlement agreement that ended his entitlement to those benefits.  On November 15, 2010, Flaherty filed an action in the Superior Court claiming that the Commonwealth was required by G. L. c. 126, § 18A, to compensate him with assault pay during the period he received workers’ compensation benefits.  The Commonwealth did not dispute that Flaherty was entitled to assault pay but argued that his superannuation […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - March 16, 2015 at 5:46 pm

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