Andrew Gambaccini Selected To Write Employee-Side Commentary For The Massachusetts Civil Service Commission Reporter

In Massachusetts, a significant number of public employees, including many police officers, are civil service employees and see their employment governed by the Commonwealth’s civil service laws and regulations.  The Massachusetts Civil Service Commission is the agency that processes and decides appeals of various types involving civil service employees, including disciplinary actions, bypass decisions, job classification disputes and other issues related to the civil service laws and regulations.

The Massachusetts Civil Service Commission Reporter is an important resource that publishes regularly the official decisions issued by the Civil Service Commission.  In addition to publishing the Commission’s decisions, the Reporter also features exclusive commentary from noted and experienced civil service attorneys.  These expert commentaries analyze the decisions of the Commission and provide readers with useful insight from the selected attorneys, who represent the sides of management and employees in disputes before the Commission.  Beginning in 2018, RJA Attorney Andrew Gambaccini will be writing the employee-side commentaries for the Reporter.

April 11, 2018 – Federal Bar Association Panel Discussion

On April 11, 2018, the Civil Rights Section and Massachusetts Chapter of the Federal Bar Association will present a panel discussion on “Qualified Immunity on the Cutting Edge: Has the Doctrine Run Its Course?” RJA Attorney Andrew Gambaccini will be one of the panelists, speaking on the doctrine of qualified immunity from the defense perspective. Other panelists include Judge Timothy Hillman, United States District Court Judge for the District of Massachusetts, and Professor Karen Blum of Suffolk University Law School. Further details can be found in the flyer for the panel. [download flyer]




Vigliotti and Gambaccini Named Super Lawyers

The Worcester, Massachusetts law firm of Reardon, Joyce & Akerson, P.C. announces that two of its attorneys, John K. Vigliotti and Andrew J. Gambaccini, have been selected as Super Lawyers for 2017 by Super Lawyers Magazine.

Vigliotti receives the award for the third time, one for each year he has been eligible.  Prior to being named a Super Lawyer, Vigliotti was twice named a Rising Star by Super Lawyers Magazine.

Gambaccini receives the award in his first year of eligibility.  Previously, Gambaccini was named a Rising Star by Super Lawyers Magazine for eight years.

Each year, no more than five percent of the lawyers in Massachusetts are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor. Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a rigorous multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area.

RJA Defends Against Inmate’s $5.7 Million Dollar Lawsuit Associated With Drug Lab Scandal

The Daily Hampshire Gazette recently published a story concerning “[a] $5.7 million lawsuit filed in federal court in Springfield [that] sheds new light on the inner workings of the now-defunct Amherst Drug Lab and alleges failings of numerous state offices, a local police department and an entire municipality.

‘This is a case about government corruption,’ begins the 57-page lawsuit filed by Northampton attorney Luke Ryan on behalf of plaintiff Rolando Penate, of Springfield, in U.S. District Court.

The corruption, Penate alleges in the lawsuit, was widespread and led to his imprisonment for 5 years, 7 months and 12 days on a conviction of distribution of a class A substance. That conviction was ultimately dismissed in June in a 127-page ruling by Hampden Superior Court Judge Richard Carey.

Assistant attorney generals, Massachusetts State Police officers, state Department of Public Health chemists, leaders within DPH, Springfield Police and the city of Springfield are all alleged to have taken part in ‘multiple, overlapping conspiracies to suppress highly exculpatory evidence,’ the lawsuit states.”

RJA represents one of the named defendants in the lawsuit, Captain Steven Kent of the Springfield Police Department.  The Gazette article states that:

“Andrew J. Gambaccini, the attorney for Springfield Police Officer Steven Kent, said his client will file a motion to dismiss the claims against him.

It was not immediately known how many of the defendants have been officially served. Gambaccini is the only attorney named in court filing representing a defendant.

‘If that claim was trapped in a wet paper bag, it would not be able to fight its way out of the wet paper bag,’ Gambaccini said of the allegations against Kent.

In response, Ryan said, ‘I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.'”

[Read the entire article]

Worcester Super Lawyers – Vigliotti and Gambaccini

Vigliotti Named A Super Lawyer For The Second Time And Gambaccini Named A Rising Star For The Eighth Time

The Worcester, Massachusetts law firm of Reardon, Joyce & Akerson, P.C. announces that John K. Vigliotti, an associate with the firm, has been selected as a Super Lawyer for 2016. This is the second consecutive year that Vigliotti has received the award. Each year, no more than five percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the Super Lawyers’ research team to receive this honor. The annual selections, based upon the standards of a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement, are made using a multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. Prior to being named a Super Lawyer, Vigliotti was twice named a Rising Star by Super Lawyers Magazine.

In addition, Andrew J. Gambaccini, another associate with the firm, has been selected as a Massachusetts Rising Star by Super Lawyers. This award is the eighth time that Gambaccini has been selected for the honor. The award follows a rigorous, multi-phased process of review, limited to attorneys under the age of forty or who have been members of the bar for less than ten years and who already have distinguished themselves in the practice of law. No more than 2.5% of the attorneys in the state are given this award, recognition for which is published annually in Massachusetts Super Lawyers Rising Stars Edition and in Boston magazine.

Judge recommends against dismissing whistleblower lawsuit against former South Hadley electricity manager Wayne Doerpholz

By Jim Russell | MassLive

A federal judge this week recommended against a motion by the town’s former electric department manager, Wayne Doerpholz, to dismiss a $750,000 whistleblower lawsuit that alleges he permitted a hostile work environment.

The lawsuit, filed by South Hadley Electric Light Department employee Robert Blasko, also named the SHELD board of commissioners and a company engineer, Andy Orr, as defendants.

Orr resigned from the agency last month. Doerpholz’ contract was not renewed, and his employed ended in May.
Judge Katherine Robinson recommended that the complaints against Doerpholz, as well as a complaint against Orr in which Blasko alleges intentional infliction of emotional distress, should not be dismissed.

“Plaintiff claims principally that the defendants retaliated against him because he complained outside of SHELD about Doerpholz’s mismanagement of SHELD, including, in particular, Doerpholz’s longstanding tolerance of Orr’s harassing, threatening and, at times, violent workplace misconduct directed at fellow SHELD employees, including plaintiff,” the judge wrote.

In a footnote to the judge’s Aug. 22 decision, she wrote that if either party objected, they must file, within 14 days, a notice with the court, detailing their reasons, and that “failure to comply with this rule shall preclude further appellate review by the Court of Appeals.”

Dracut MA deputy police chief suspended

By Todd Feathers | Lowell Sun News

DRACUT — Deputy Police Chief David Chartrand has been suspended for two weeks without pay, following a civil service inquiry into his handling of documents in a Dracut lieutenant’s personnel file.

An attorney representing Chartrand said he will appeal the ruling, which was made by Town Manager Jim Duggan and based on a report by an independent hearing officer who oversaw the inquiry last month. The Board of Selectmen was notified of the decision Monday morning.

“The discipline is absurd and we’re looking forward to the deputy being exonerated by the Civil Service Commission,” attorney Andrew Gambiccini said, adding “(Chartrand) has given his life to the town of Dracut and nothing has changed about his desire to serve the community.

It’s just one individual in a position of power who is looking to abuse that power.”

Gambaccini has previously accused Duggan of engaging in a biased campaign against his client. Duggan declined to discuss the suspension, saying it was a personnel matter and must therefore be kept confidential. [Read more…]

Records show ex-police chief offered to leave for $350K

By K.C. Myers | Cape Cod Times

PROVINCETOWN — Getting rid of Police Chief Jeff Jaran could have occurred more quickly and cost the town nearly $163,000 less than it did, according to newly released minutes from closed-door selectmen meetings.

In May 2015, selectmen agreed to pay Jaran $512,797 after an arbitration panel determined he should have been suspended without pay for a year rather than fired for his actions related to the May 2013 town election that were found to violate local, state and federal laws.

Earlier this year, the Times requested the release of the minutes from executive session meetings that occurred between his termination in December of 2013 and the settlement agreement.

Last month, selectmen authorized Michele Randazzo, the town’s legal counsel with the law firm Kopelman & Paige, to release the minutes from 12 meetings over that period. But Randazzo blacked out chunks of the written records, citing attorney-client privilege, which allows conversations between public officials and their attorneys to remain private. [Read more…]

Dracut deputy police chief digs in for hearing

By Todd Feathers | Lowell Sun

DRACUT — Town Manager Jim Duggan has scheduled a civil-service hearing Monday to determine whether Deputy Police Chief David Chartrand violated department policy and state law when he released documents regarding a Dracut police lieutenant to The Sun.

Chartrand received a letter notifying him of the hearing on Wednesday and through a lawyer expressed his expectation that the hearing would be a “farce and a sham” due to Duggan’s bias against him.

“For some time, it has been evident that Town Manager James Duggan has waged an illicit campaign designed to discredit and harm Deputy Chief Chartrand,” attorney Andrew Gambaccini said in a statement.

“The vendetta has now lasted for many months and Manager Duggan’s latest step, to advance baseless administrative charges against the Deputy, is the culmination of that endeavor.” [Read more…]

Chicopee Police sergeant wins back job after Civil Service Commission rejects chief’s punishment

By Jeanette DeForge | MassLive

A Chicopee Police Department sergeant, once accused of sharing graphic photos of murder victim Amanda Plasse, has been reinstated by the Massachusetts Civil Service Commission after being demoted to patrolman for “untruthfulness” on a burglary case.

Following an appeal hearing, the commission reversed the demotion of Police Sgt. Jeffery Godere made by Mayor Richard J. Kos. It however upheld a five-day suspension imposed for failing to meet his responsibilities as a supervisor made by Police Chief William Jebb.

The reversal is the latest in a long series of battles fought and lawsuits filed in the deeply divided and troubled Chicopee Police Department.

This is the second Civil Service Commission decision released this month on an appeal of discipline meted out by Jebb. In both decisions, Commissioner Christopher Bowman referenced the ongoing divisions in the department. [Read more…]