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]

What You Need To Know If Your Child Suffers an Injury Due to Negligence

In Massachusetts, if a child suffers an injury due to faulty playground equipment, a bike accident, a slip and fall accident, or any type of negligence, that child’s parents or legal guardians have the right to pursue a claim on the child’s behalf.

It is often a challenge determining whether your child was injured due to the negligence of another party. Ask yourself:

  • Did your child simply fall, or did he slip on ice or snow that property owners neglected to clear? Property owners must make reasonable efforts to ensure that snow and ice are cleared for pedestrian traffic and may be liable for not doing so.
  • Did your child get injured at the pool due to unsafe conditions? Was there a lifeguard on duty who could have prevented the accident? Was the injury due to poor maintenance in the pool area, such as damaged or uneven cement, missing drain covers or broken ladders?
  • Did your child get injured by a product or toy that could have been defective? Did parts come off easily that your child swallowed or that punctured her skin?

[Read more…]

After a Car Accident: Three Facts About Massachusetts Law

If you have been injured in a car accident, there are several things you should know.

First, if you suffer personal injuries or damaged property caused by a car accident, you have three years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit in court for damages. After this time, known as the statute of limitations, a court is likely to dismiss the lawsuit.

Second, Massachusetts law provides that car accidents are adjudicated under modified comparative fault. This means that the amount of your damages is decreased by any percentage of fault you are found to have had in the accident. For example, if a jury finds the other driver 85% at fault and you 15% at fault, then the total damage award of $10,000 gets reduced to 85% of $10,000.

Third, modified comparative fault in Massachusetts also means that a plaintiff can only be awarded damages if he or she is found to be 50% or less at fault for the accident. This is quite different from many other states in the U.S., which operate under a pure comparative fault rule. That rule means that a plaintiff can be awarded whatever percentage of damages a jury has decided they are not at fault. For example, if a jury found a plaintiff 60% at fault and the other driver 40% at fault, the plaintiff would still receive 40% of any total damages under pure comparative fault. That is not the case in Massachusetts, where the plaintiff would not be entitled to any damages.

If you have been injured in car accident and would like a free case evaluation to learn your options, please call our Worcester law office and speak directly to an experienced Massachusetts personal injury attorney.

What You Need To Know To Start Your Personal Injury Case in Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Accident Data Center website reveals an array of accidents that occur in our State every day: a 8 year old boy was injured while riding his bicycle in Worcester; a pedestrian was struck by a vehicle in Shrewsbury; and a two-car wreck in Paxton left four people seriously hurt. You can’t help but wonder what YOU would do, if you — or your little boy — had been injured. It’s an upsetting time, and it gets worse when you realize that you now have another challenge: finding a personal injury lawyer who will protect your rights and fight for just compensation. After all, it’s the only way you can be sure that you receive the care you need, whether it is immediate care for a broken bone or longer-term care, such as physical therapy or other rehabilitation therapy, to help you get back to where you were before the accident.

There are so many ways that injuries occur, and you certainly will require both medical and legal guidance in determining how to proceed in recovery. Our attorneys understand not only the stress and physical burdens you will endure, but also the financial challenges that lay ahead. Serious personal injury can change your life, and you need an experienced legal team by your side. [Read more…]

MA Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) Rejects Racism Claims Against Lawrence Police

The below article published in The Valley Patriot describes a recent RJA success in a MCAD lawsuit.  A Lawrence police officer brought a discrimination complaint against the City of Lawrence and eight police supervisors, alleging that he was the victim of years of mistreatment based upon his ethnicity.  Andrew Gambaccini of RJA represented the eight police supervisors and, in an eighty-five page response to the complaint of discrimination, explained why each and every one of the allegations made by the complainant were without any merit whatsoever.  In a decision issued in April, 2017, the MCAD agreed, dismissing the complaint in its entirety and bringing vindication for each of the police supervisors.

By: Tom Duggan | The Valley Patriot

 Defendants in Discrimination Case Say They May Be Filing a Defamation Suit Against Fellow Officer

The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) has ruled in favor of Lawrence Police in a discrimination suit filed by embattled Lawrence Police Officer William Green.

Green accused the Lawrence Police Department, and in particular Superior Officers of racism and discrimination against him. Green is Black.

Green alleged that he was being treated differently than white officers when he was disciplined for, among other things; allowing a prisoner to escape, failing to turn in approximately $4,000 he had been paid in cash from doing private detail work at nightclubs, going outside the chain of command, and accessing the  database to obtain personnel information about another officer’s sick time.   [Read more…]

Construction Site Accidents, What you need to know.

Workplace accidents happen far too often, especially on or near construction sites. The dangerous nature of the profession subjects workers to serious industry specific hazards. In Massachusetts, the construction industry is thriving, and the number of construction accidents is rising.

Statistics from the United States Department of Labor tell us that twenty percent of all workplace fatalities nationwide occur in the construction industry. In 2014, that was 899 deaths — more than two deaths per day. According to those statistics, the four most common types of construction injuries are:

  • Falls
  • Electrocutions
  • Being struck by an object
  • Being caught on, or crushed by equipment or collapsing buildings.

In addition to these “fatal four” reasons, construction workers are vulnerable to chemical exposures and to injuries sustained from faulty or poorly-maintained equipment. [Read more…]

RJA obtains $72,500.00 settlement arising out of motor vehicle accident

RJA recently obtained a very significant settlement on behalf of a client who was injured in a motor vehicle accident. The accident was caused by another driver who entered an intersection after running a red light as our client, with a green light, entered the same intersection. The collision forced our client out of the intersection and into some vegetation off the road. While our client fortunately did not break any bones or need any surgery, he did suffer physical injuries. Those physical injuries resulted in less than $12,600.00 in costs for medical doctors and hospital bills.

Prior to the commencement of litigation, the insurance company provided a low ball settlement figure. As a result, a complaint was filed in Superior Court and, after that filing, the insurance company insignificantly increased its offer. Both low offers were rejected.

In discovery, RJA was able to use evidence gathered to place the other driver in an impossible position in which he had to concede that his denial of responsibility for the accident was false and made in bad faith. Building from that foundation, the insurance company was advised that the complaint was to be amended to add the insurance company as a defendant in a claim for its unfair and deceptive business and litigation practices.

Soon thereafter, the insurance company not only more than quadrupled its settlement offer, but also expressed the wish to engage in, and pay for, mediation to try to settle the case. That mediation resulted in a settlement for our client of $72,500.00, a figure about six times the cost of his medical doctors and hospital bills.

RESULT: Settlement in the amount of $72,500.00 for RJA’s client.
RJA Counsel: Andrew J. Gambaccini and John K. Vigliotti

Time Limits on Medical Malpractice Suits in Massachusetts

If you have been injured due to medical negligence and are looking to make a medical malpractice claim in Massachusetts, keep key deadlines in mind. State laws address how long a patient has to file a complaint; damage caps; and other important factors. These limitations can be difficult to keep in mind when beginning the claims process. Finding a personal injury and medical malpractice attorney in Massachusetts will help keep your claim on time while also utilizing their experience to get the best outcome possible.

Standard Deadline is Three Years
In Massachusetts, victims have up to three years from the date of incidence to file a medical malpractice suit in a Massachusetts court. If a lawsuit is not filed in those three years, the victim may lose the right to sue for medical malpractice, unless the case falls into one of the exceptions. [Read more…]

Arbitrator Reverses Five Day Suspension of Springfield Police Officer

In a recent arbitration award, Reardon, Joyce & Akerson, P.C. (“RJA”) successfully represented a Springfield police officer in connection with a five day suspension.

Prior to the five day suspension, the officer, who was not at that point a member of the Massachusetts Police Association Legal Defense Fund, had been suspended from his duties based upon various allegations, including that the officer had not been in proper uniform at the start of his shift.  Without the benefit of the Legal Defense Fund at that time, the officer served the suspension.

Following that discipline, the officer joined the Legal Defense Fund.

Later, in 2015, the officer was working a private road detail in the City.  At the time, the officer was carrying a radio and a firearm, but was not wearing a hat, badge, uniform shirt and was not carrying a baton, handcuffs or pepper spray.  A supervisor who encountered the officer on that detail ordered the officer back to his locker at the station to retrieve those various items before returning to the detail.

The officer did as instructed.  Thereafter, the officer was asked for a report concerning the matter and, after submitting his report, was issued a five day suspension by the appointing authority, the Police Commissioner.

The officer, now a member of the Legal Defense Fund, challenged the suspension before an arbitrator. [Read more…]

Open and Gross Lewdness and Lascivious Behavior Under G.L. c. 272, §16 Requires “Shock” or “Alarm” to Another Person

In the case of Commonweatlh v. Maguire, 476 Mass. 156 (2017), the Supreme Judicial Court addressed the elements of the felony crime of Open and Gross Lewdness and Lascivious Behavior under G.L. c. 272, §16.  Based upon a failure to prove that the defendant’s conduct of exposing his penis to several females sitting on a bench at the Hynes Convention Center subway platform produced either “shock” or “alarm” for the females or the MBTA officer who made the arrest, the Court reversed the conviction.  The officer testified that he was disgusted at the defendant’s actions and concerned that the women were being victimized by those actions, but the Court ruled that evidence was insufficient to meet the subjective shock or alarm requirement for conviction of the felony.  It reversed the conviction and remanded for entry of conviction for the lesser included crime of Indecent Exposure. [Read more…]