RJA’s client, a police lieutenant for the Wareham Police Department, was terminated from the employment that he had held for more than twenty years, and almost all of his adult life. Believing that the termination was improperly driven by personal and political reasons, RJA soon set out, with its client, to gather together the strong evidence and arguments to prove that the firing was unjust.
A unanimous Civil Service Commission agreed with RJA’s arguments, concluding that the termination was “an unmistakable example of the effect of improper personal motives and undue political influence which have no place in a merit-based civil service system.” The Commission further directed that the lieutenant be made whole for his lost wages and benefits, resulting in the payment to RJA’s client, including interest, of more than $230,000.00.
The push to get justice did not end there. Together with RJA, the lieutenant and members of his family brought a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Town, the Town Administrator and the individual members of the Board of Selectmen, all of whom had played a role in the travesty. The lawsuit made constitutional claims of due process violations from the sham proceeding that the Town used to terminate the lieutenant, forcing him to endure months upon months of waiting before achieving vindication with the Commission. The lawsuit sought damages for the nightmarish effects that the termination and the waiting for the decision to be overturned on appeal caused to the lieutenant and his family.
After attempts by the defendants to dismiss all of the claims against them were rejected by a federal judge, a mediation yielded a settlement of $180,000.00 to be paid by the Town’s insurance carrier. With the sizable settlement, RJA’s client has received another measure of vindication for the way in which he and his family were treated by the Town and its officials.
RESULT: Total compensation, including back pay with interest and settlement of federal civil rights claims against the Town and its officials, of more than $410,000.00.
RJA Counsel: Andrew J. Gambaccini