Arbitrator Issues Award Concluding That A Danvers Police Sergeant’s Ten Day Suspension Was Unjustified

RJA recently obtained a major victory for one of its clients, a sergeant with the Danvers Police Department. In 2017, the Danvers Police Department received a call that a firearm had been discharged into a residence while no one was home, with the bullet striking the exterior of the building and penetrating into the home. The Town later accused a sergeant involved in the police response that day of having violated a number of different rules of the Department for the way that he handled the response. The Town suspended the sergeant for ten days.

RJA appealed the discipline to an arbitrator, who presided over a two day hearing. After lengthy closing briefs were submitted by counsel on both sides, the arbitrator issued a seventy-one page award concluding that the Town violated the union contract by suspending the sergeant.

In her award, the arbitrator agreed with RJA’s arguments almost entirely and rejected every rule violation brought forward but one. The one rule violation left standing at that point was a regulation that required members of the Department to notify the command staff of any serious or unusual incident occurring in Town, with a list of examples that included “shootings.” During the hearing, RJA was able to present evidence that, in the past, while the command staff would be notified of a “shooting” when it was a person that had been shot, the command staff was not notified when a gun was used to shoot at a building. A captain in the Department at the time of the prior event told the sergeant that the command staff did not have to receive notification in that type of shooting because the rule applied to the shooting of a person, not the shooting of a building. That was why, in this instance, the sergeant did not make a notification to the command staff. To the extent that the present administration of the Department interpreted the rule differently, the arbitrator concluded that the sergeant should have received no more than a verbal directive as to how this administration was going to apply the rule. The arbitrator found that no other action was warranted, the ten day suspension was improper and the sergeant should receive his lost pay and benefits suffered from the wrongful suspension.

RESULT: An award from the arbitrator concluding that the suspension was unjustified.
RJA Counsel: Andrew J. Gambaccini

Chartrand Attorney: Civil Service Commission Decision ‘Last Piece Of Puzzle’ For Civil Rights Lawsuit

Chartrand Attorney: Civil Service Commission Decision ‘Last Piece Of Puzzle’ For Civil Rights Lawsuit

By Lisa Redmond | Your Dracut Today

DRACUT — The attorney for Deputy Police Chief David Chartrand has vowed to file a civil rights lawsuit against the town after Chartrand won a major victory last month when the state Civil Service Commission sided with the veteran cop and reduced his 10-day suspension to a letter of reprimand.

The commission’s Nov. 8 decision is part of an ongoing legal battle that has raged since 2016, when Town Administrator James Duggan suspended Chartrand for 10 days claiming Chartrand improperly released to the media – as part of a public records request – documents from Dracut Police Lt. Michael Fleury’s personnel file.

“We agree that the town has not established just cause for discipline for violation of the most serious charges, including no violation of the public records laws or other misconduct’’ a majority of the commission wrote.

Describing it as a “misstep,’’ and given Chartrand’s “solid record of past performance,’’ the commission is “warranted in exercising its discretion to modify the discipline and to reduce it to no more than a written reprimand,’’ the decision reads.

Commission Chairman Christopher C. Bowman took a tougher stance writing that in his opinion, any discipline against Chartrand, as the public records officer, “could have a chilling effect on the need for transparency in government affairs.’’

Continue Reading

Chartrand vs. Duggan: It’s not over quite yet

Chartrand vs. Duggan: It’s not over quite yet

A Sun staff report by The Lowell Sun

DON’T EXPECT the feud between Dracut Town Manager Jim Duggan and Deputy Police Chief David Chartrand to simmer down. In fact, look for it to intensify.

Last week, the state’s Civil Service Commission rejected the 10-day suspension Duggan imposed on Chartrand, over the latter’s handling of documents in Police Lt. Michael Fleury’s personnel file.

Chartrand had been suspended without pay. The commission ruled 3-2 in favor of Chartrand.

Andrew Gambaccini, Chartrand’s lawyer, said he and his client are pleased with the ruling.

Gambaccini said the commission did not allow his team’s recent motion to reopen the record to uncover “additional evidence” that he said they discovered. He hinted of alleged recordings and emails from Duggan in which the town manager discussed “his apparent plot to go after Deputy Chief Chartrand.”

Continue Reading

Civil Service rules in favor of Dracut deputy

Civil Service rules in favor of Dracut deputy

By Amaris Castillo | lowellsun.com

DRACUT — The state’s Civil Service Commission ruled 3-2 in favor of Deputy Police Chief David Chartrand over the town of Dracut in an appeal of the town’s decision to suspend Chartrand for 10 days.

Chartrand in 2016 was suspended for two weeks without pay, following a civil service inquiry into his handling of documents in a Dracut lieutenant’s personnel file. Police Lt. Michael Fleury had accused Chartrand of improperly releasing a letter in his personnel file to The Sun.

The majority opinion by three commissioners is that Chartrand’s appeal should be allowed in part and that his 10-day suspension should be modified and reduced to a written reprimand, according to the 44-page decision obtained by The Sun.

“We agree that the Town has not established just cause for discipline for violation of the most serious charges, including no violation of the public records laws or other misconduct, save for his failure to provide proper due process to the subject of an internal affairs investigation, as required by the department’s rules and regulations,” the majority opinion reads.

Read more: lowellsun.com

Superior Court Judge Dismisses All Claims Against Two Waltham Police Officers In Civil Rights Lawsuit

In 2018, the plaintiff amended his complaint in an existing civil rights lawsuit to name two Waltham police officers as defendants. In the amended complaint, the plaintiff alleged that he was defamed by the police officers’ filing of false police reports about him, that one of the officers sought a criminal complaint against the plaintiff without prior notice or respecting his right to a show cause hearing on the charges, that the officers conducted negligent investigations concerning the plaintiff, that the officers prosecuted the plaintiff maliciously and that one of the officers gave false testimony during a probation hearing.

A motion to dismiss was filed on behalf of the officers, explaining that the plaintiff’s claims were subject to dismissal prior to any discovery being taken. After a hearing on the motion in November, 2018, the Superior Court has dismissed all claims against both officers.

RESULT: Dismissal of all claims against the officers.
RJA Counsel: Andrew J. Gambaccini

At a shopping center, I slipped on the wet floor and broke my tailbone. Would I sue the owners of the particular store, or of the entire complex?

Liability depends on many factors, including the exact location where you slipped and the cause of the wet floor.

Typically, an individual or corporation owns the building that comprises the shopping center. The owner then rents out specific units to other individuals or corporations. While the tenants are responsible for conditions within their rented units, the landlord typically remains responsible for conditions in the common spaces of the mall or shopping center. The first factor to consider is whether you slipped inside a tenant’s store or in an area for which the landlord is usually responsible, such as a corridor, a food court, a parking lot, or a restroom.

From here, the issues of liability become more complicated, revealing why it is important to consult a personal injury attorney as you pursue compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering:

• Why was the floor wet? Was it sloppy housekeeping? Was the landlord or the tenant responsible for housekeeping in the area where you fell? Was a third party hired for housekeeping, making them partially liable as well?

• Did the wet floor resulted from leaking pipes, poorly maintained pavement, or unmarked hazards? These hazards may have resulted from the negligence of the landlord, even if you slipped and fell.

As you have seen, liability is a complicated question. Call our office today to discuss your options. Our experienced personal-injury attorneys will work to make sure you receive the absolute maximum for your suffering.

Vigliotti And Gambaccini Again Named Super Lawyers For 2018

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 2018 by Super Lawyers Magazine.

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

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

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.

Are autumn leaves a slip and fall liability?

The arrival of fall brings with it the pleasure of watching the leaves turn. Fall is famous in New England because of the many vibrant colors, from bright yellow through to deep violet, that nature treats us to as the days grow shorter.

When leaves turn, though, they inevitably have to fall to the ground. Autumn invariably brings with it wet weather as well. Wet leaves, strewn along the sidewalks and streets, can pose a major risk of slips and falls. While winter’s ice and snow might get most of the attention for slip-and-fall injuries, a fall on wet leaves can result in injuries like a fall from any other cause: fractures, back injuries, head injuries, and sprains.

Under Massachusetts premises liability law, homeowners and commercial property owners are responsible for clearing even “natural” accumulations of leaves and snow.

If you’ve suffered an injury due to a slip and fall on wet leaves the owner of the property may be liable. If you’ve slipped in a commercial parking lot, entrance way, or sidewalk, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, emotional distress, pain and suffering.

Contact our office to learn your rights and if you have a viable slip and fall injury case.

Will skipping a doctor’s visit now hurt my chances of a personal injury settlement later?

From a purely health perspective, we would have to recommend that you get yourself checked out at a doctor. With the rush of adrenaline and nerves you experienced immediately after the accident, your body may have been suppressing pain as part of your ancient survival mechanisms. You may not realize you are injured until you have had a chance to calm down.

Additionally, injuries, even serious ones, can take days to manifest themselves, or may not always have obvious symptoms. For your own health and safety, we would hope you go to a doctor immediately or shortly after a car accident.

On a financial level, the longer you wait to use your insurance or make claims against the other party’s, the more difficult it becomes to get paid for your medical bills or lost wages. The longer you wait to treat injuries, the more expensive your treatment could become.

In legal terms, skipping a doctor’s visit until injuries become more apparent does not prevent you from reaching a settlement later. However, it may make it more difficult.

In Massachusetts, there is a two-year period in which to claim personal injury after an accident under your no-fault benefits. However, the longer you wait after an accident, the easier it is for insurers and, later on, attorneys to argue that your medical expenses are not the result of the accident.

So, call your doctor—and then call us to discuss next steps.

How long do I have in MA to claim injury after an accident?

he Massachusetts General Laws explicitly says there is a three-year period in which to claim personal injury protection benefits after an accident. However, the law also stipulates that you make your claim “as soon as practicable after the accident occurs from which such claim arises” (G.L. Chapter 90, Section 34M)

Your insurance company is responsible by law for paying legitimate medical expenses, arising directly from the accident, regardless of fault, up to the limits of the relevant policy. It must begin payment on these reported expenses within ten days.

However, the insurer can contest the validity of your medical bills. Remember, insurance companies are trying to spend as little as possible on you, no matter how faithfully you make your payments. This is what makes it so important, aside from health reasons, to visit a doctor for treatment and documentation shortly after an accident.

The law allows your insurer to demand that an injured party “submit to physical examinations by physicians selected by the insurer.” As to how often you might have to make a trip to see any doctor hand-selected by the insurance company, the law only specifies “as often as may be reasonably required.” Should you think that the insurer’s demands are unreasonable, it may use your “noncooperation” as a reason to deny payment.

If an insurance company is not giving you your due, call us today to discuss options.

Source: Michigan Truck Accident Lawyer | Lansing Truck Accidents | The Clark Law Office