Posts tagged "Springfield"

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NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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 […]

Read more...

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

Categories: News   Tags: , , , , ,

City of Springfield v. United Public Service Employees Union (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-035-16)

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-742                                        Appeals Court   CITY OF SPRINGFIELD  vs.  UNITED PUBLIC SERVICE EMPLOYEES UNION. No. 15-P-742. Hampden.     February 11, 2016. – March 25, 2016.   Present:  Kafker, C.J., Rubin, & Agnes, JJ. Arbitration, Collective bargaining, Authority of arbitrator, Judicial review.  Employment, Sexual harassment, Termination.  Public Policy.  Public Employment, Collective bargaining, Termination, Reinstatement of personnel.  Civil Service, Termination of employment, Reinstatement of personnel.       Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on January 2, 2014.   The case was heard by John S. Ferrara, J.     Gordon D. Quinn for the plaintiff. Lan T. Kantany for the defendant.     KAFKER, C.J.  The issue presented is whether an arbitrator exceeded her authority when she ordered a terminated employee reinstated without loss of pay or other rights, even though she found that he had engaged in conduct amounting to sexual harassment.  Because the mitigating circumstances the arbitrator identified supported her determination that the employer lacked just cause for termination, and her order does not preclude appropriate remedial action to address the employee’s sexual harassment, we conclude that her award does not offend public policy or require a result prohibited by statute.  We therefore affirm the Superior Court judge’s decision confirming the validity of the award. 1.  Background.  The city of Springfield (city) discharged Gregory Ashe, a long-time employee, following an investigation and hearing after a coworker complained of sexually inappropriate conduct.  Ashe, through his union, grieved the city’s decision to terminate his employment.  Pursuant to the parties’ collective bargaining agreement (CBA), the case was submitted to an arbitrator.  The parties presented the following question:  ”Was the termination of the Grievant Gregory Ashe supported by just cause?  If not, what shall be the remedy?”  After two days of hearings, the arbitrator issued her award.  She determined that much of the alleged harassing conduct did occur, but found that mitigating circumstances meant there was not just cause for termination.  She concluded:  ”As a remedy, the Grievant is entitled to be reinstated to his position without loss of compensation or other rights.” The city sought to vacate the award in the Superior Court under G. L. c. 150C, § 11.  In its appeal, the city argued that the arbitrator exceeded her authority under the CBA by reinstating the employee in direct violation of the public policy and statutory requirements governing sexual harassment.  The judge, in […]

Read more...

Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - March 25, 2016 at 3:52 pm

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

City of Springfield v. Local Union No. 648, International Association of Firefighters, AFL-CIO (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-107-15)

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   13-P-1691                                       Appeals Court   CITY OF SPRINGFIELD  vs.  LOCAL UNION NO. 648, INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FIREFIGHTERS, AFL-CIO. No. 13-P-1691. Hampden.     September 11, 2014. – August 13, 2015.   Present:  Trainor, Rubin, & Sullivan, JJ.   Fire Fighter, Appointment.  Arbitration, Fire fighters, Authority of arbitrator, Damages.  Labor, Fire fighters, Arbitration, Civil service, Damages.  Civil Service, Fire fighters, Appointment.  Contract, Collective bargaining contract.  Damages, Back pay.       Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on December 14, 2011.   The case was heard by John S. Ferrara, J., on motions for judgment on the pleadings; a motion for reconsideration was heard by him; and entry of a final judgment was ordered by him.     Albert R. Mason for the plaintiff. Joseph G. Donnellan for the defendant.      RUBIN, J.  The city of Springfield (city) appeals from a judgment of the Superior Court confirming a labor arbitration award issued in favor of a public employee union representing firefighters, Local 648, International Association of Firefighters, AFL-CIO (union).  We affirm. Background.  Because the arbitration award incorporated by reference certain legal conclusions of the Civil Service Commission (commission), we first summarize the commission proceedings, followed by the arbitration proceedings.  Under the civil service law, G. L. c. 31, in order to fill a vacant position, the city may appoint either a “permanent” replacement, or, if the vacancy or the position is temporary, a “temporary” replacement.  See G. L. c. 31, §§ 6-8.  In either event, the appointment must be made through the detailed procedural steps set out in the civil service law. As the commission ultimately found, for an extended period of time the city’s appointments to vacant positions in the fire department did not comply with the above requirements.  Rather, in 2009 and 2010, the city filled certain vacancies in its fire department not by promoting firefighters, but by making extended appointments of firefighters to higher-ranking civil service positions on an “acting” basis.  These firefighters were paid additional out-of-grade compensation pursuant to the terms of art. 31 of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the union and the city.  Even with this additional out-of-grade amount, their compensation and other benefits fell short of that set forth in the CBA for the positions in which they were serving.  The city’s justification for this discrepancy was that the firefighters were serving only on an “acting” basis. […]

Read more...

Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - August 13, 2015 at 8:37 pm

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

City of Springfield v. Civil Service Commission, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-142-14)

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-11540 CITY OF SPRINGFIELD  vs.  CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION & another.[1] Hampden.     April 8, 2014. – August 18, 2014.   Present:  Ireland, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Gants, Duffly, & Lenk, JJ.[2] Civil Service, Provisional promotion, Termination of employment, Notice.  Labor, Civil service.  Employment, Termination.  Jurisdiction, Civil Service Commission.  Administrative Law, Evidence.  Notice, Termination of employment, Administrative hearing.  Waiver.     Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on July 29, 2010.   The case was heard by Bertha D. Josephson, J. on motions for judgment on the pleadings.   The Supreme Judicial Court on its own initiative transferred the case from the Appeals Court.   Maurice M. Cahillane, Jr. (William E. Mahoney with him) for city of Springfield. Andrew M. Batchelor, Assistant Attorney General, for Civil Service Commission. Bart W. Heemskerk for Joseph McDowell.     BOTSFORD, J.  Joseph McDowell was hired by the city of Springfield (city) in 1987 as a skilled laborer, and soon thereafter achieved the status of a permanent, tenured civil service employee of the city.  In 1993, he received the first of two provisional promotions;[3] he worked in the second of these provisional positions until 2005, when the city terminated his employment.  One issue we consider in this appeal is whether, despite being terminated from his provisional position, McDowell was entitled to appeal his termination pursuant to the relevant provisions of the civil service statute, G. L. c. 31, §§ 41–45; agreeing with the Civil Service Commission (commission), we conclude that he was.  We also consider whether the commission, in deciding McDowell’s appeal, permissibly could consider that subsequent to the city’s discharge of McDowell, he had been indicted and then pleaded guilty to the crime of filing false tax returns.  We decide that in the particular circumstances of this case, the commission was permitted to take the criminal proceeding against McDowell and its disposition into account, but that McDowell’s indictment for filing false tax returns did not qualify as an indictment “for misconduct in [McDowell’s] . . . employment” within the meaning of G. L. c. 268A, § 25, and thus a suspension based on the indictment would not have been valid. 1.  Background.  McDowell began working as a skilled laborer for the city in 1987.  In 1989, he was promoted to the position of carpenter within the city’s civil service system.  After completing his probationary period, McDowell […]

Read more...

Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - August 18, 2014 at 8:16 pm

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

Serrazina v. Springfield Public Schools (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-027-13)

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; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us     SJC‑11148   MARIA SERRAZINA  vs.  SPRINGFIELD PUBLIC SCHOOLS.       February 15, 2013.       School and School Committee, Arbitration, Suspension from employment, Termination of employment, Compensation of personnel.  Arbitration, School committee, Confirmation of award.  Damages, Back pay.  Labor, Arbitration.       When the plaintiff, Maria Serrazina, became the subject of a certain Federal indictment, the defendant school department suspended her, without pay under G. L. c. 268A, § 25, from her position as a school adjustment counselor.  Thereafter, she entered into a pretrial diversion agreement with Federal authorities, and the indictment ultimately was dismissed.  After Serrazina sought reinstatement, the school department terminated her employment pursuant to G. L. c. 71, § 42, and she filed a grievance challenging the termination.  An arbitrator ordered that she be reinstated.  Serrazina then commenced an action in the Superior Court seeking confirmation of the arbitration award, as well as back pay for the period of her suspension and the period between her termination and reinstatement.  A Superior Court judge affirmed the arbitration award reinstating Serrazina, but allowed the school department’s motion for summary judgment with respect to her back pay claims.  Serrazina appealed, challenging the denial of compensation.  The Appeals Court affirmed the denial with respect to the period between her termination and reinstatement, but reversed with respect to the period of her suspension.  Serrazina v. Springfield Pub. Schs., 80 Mass. App. Ct. 617 (2011).  We granted Serrazina’s application for further appellate review.     We have considered the parties’ arguments and thoroughly reviewed the record.  We agree with the result reached by the Appeals Court for substantially the same reasons.  The judgment of the Superior Court is reversed insofar as it denies Serrazina back pay for the period of her suspension beginning on August 10, 2004, and ending on October 22, 2007; it is otherwise affirmed.  The case is remanded for a calculation consistent with this opinion.   So ordered.   Maurice M. Cahillane (William E. Mahoney with him) for the defendant. Timothy J. Ryan (Henry M. Downey with him) for the plaintiff.     Full-text Opinions

Read more...

Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - February 15, 2013 at 10:59 pm

Categories: News   Tags: , , , , , ,