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Court Dockets

The following is a compilation of recent lawsuits involving area businesses and organizations. These are strictly allegations that have yet to be proven in a court of law. Readers are advised to contact the parties listed, or the court, for more information concerning the individual claims.

CHICOPEE DISTRICT COURT

John M. Corridan v. Auctions/Real Estate by Schackmann Inc. and Mark Schackmann

Allegation: Breach of contract, fraud: $16,458.80

Filed: 3/1/19

FRANKLIN SUPERIOR COURT

Jonathan Bones v. Stokes and Lipski Construction Inc.

Allegation: Failure to pay prevailing rate of wages

Filed: 3/5/19

HAMPDEN DISTRICT COURT

Etta Wells v. Fathima, LLC

Allegation: Negligence; slip and fall causing personal injury: $6,475.77

Filed: 2/20/19

Ivy Hill Commodities Corp. v. Turn Key Lumber Corp.

Allegation: Money owed for goods sold and delivered: $4,412.32

Filed: 3/1/19

HAMPDEN SUPERIOR COURT

Grace Greski and Leon Greski v. Bob’s Discount Furniture; NEHDS Logistics, LLC; Carlos Cosme d/b/a NEHDS Logistics, LLC; and Carlos Cosme d/b/a Carlos Professional Deliveries

Allegation: Breach of warranty, breach of contract, negligence: $8,884.62

Filed: 1/16/19

Leah Keeley v. First Student Inc.

Allegation: Employment discrimination: $25,000+

Filed: 2/5/19

Tracy Lynn Daborowski f/k/a Tracy Cesan v. Town of Southwick

Allegation: Employment discrimination: $107,800

Filed: 2/5/19

Kurt Champagne v. Callaway Golf Ball Operations Inc.

Allegation: Employment discrimination: $425,000

Filed: 2/11/19

Deborah St. Peter v. Westfield State University

Allegation: Employment discrimination: $25,000+

Filed: 2/11/19

Peter Bowes and June Bowes v. Jason Port, M.D.

Allegation: Medical malpractice: $3,400,000+

Filed: 2/13/19

RF Realty Co., LLC v. Sunset Hydroponics & Home Brewing, LLC and Aaron P. Bishop

Allegation: Breach of contract: $51,125

Filed: 2/14/19

HAMPSHIRE DISTRICT COURT

Johnson Controls Inc. v. Bercom, LLC d/b/a Berkshire Commons

Allegation: Money owed for maintenance and repair services: $10,199.40

Filed: 3/1/19

HAMPSHIRE SUPERIOR COURT

Isaac Gravel p/p/a Mel-Jean Gravel v. Baystate Wing Hospital Corp. d/b/a Baystate Mary Lane Hospital, Charles Simmons, David Shenker, and Morris Leibowitz

Allegation: Medical malpractice: $35,000+

Filed: 2/14/19

Coughlin Electrical Contractors Inc. v. Barr & Barr Inc. and Liberty Mutual Insurance Co.

Allegation: Breach of contract: $7,348,279.76

Filed: 2/26/19

Adam Burt v. Zingara Ltd. d/b/a Packard’s, Robert E. McGovern Jr., and Tobias K. Luz

Allegation: Negligence causing personal injury and property damage: $35,368.04

Filed: 2/26/19

WESTFIELD DISTRICT COURT

Kerry Granfield d/b/a Granfield Tree Service v. Transaxle, LLC

Allegation: Misrepresentation, negligence, breach of express warranties, breach of implied warranty of merchantability, breach of contract: $60,196.11

Filed: 2/25/19

Court Dockets

The following is a compilation of recent lawsuits involving area businesses and organizations. These are strictly allegations that have yet to be proven in a court of law. Readers are advised to contact the parties listed, or the court, for more information concerning the individual claims.

CHICOPEE DISTRICT COURT

Michael D. Facchini d/b/a Facchini Law Firm v. Law Offices of Mark E. Salamone

Allegation: Failure to pay reasonable attorney’s fees as compensation for work done on file: $3,575

Filed: 11/1/18

David Rossi v. Pezzetta Co. Inc. and John Pezzetta

Allegation: Breach of contract, fraud/deceit: $16,700

Filed: 11/23/18

PALMER DISTRICT COURT

Margaret Slitzky v. Stacy’s Cleaners Inc.

Allegation: Negligence; slip and fall causing personal injury: $2,000

Filed: 12/3/18

WESTFIELD DISTRICT COURT

Harry Van Wart Painting Inc. v. Kent Pecoy & Sons Construction Inc.

Allegation: Failure to pay for painting contractor work: $10,550

Filed: 11/7/18

Jessica Bushey v. Pioneer Valley Inspections, LLC

Allegation: Misrepresentation, negligence, and breach of contract: $16,000

Filed: 11/28/18

Alan Stepanik d/b/a Al Stepanik Greenhouses v. Ana Realty Corp. d/b/a Lambert’s Deli o/k/a the Deli at Rainbow Square

Allegation: Breach of contract: $6,060

Filed: 12/10/18

Employment

One Year Later

By John S. Gannon, Esq. and Amelia J. Holstrom, Esq.

The #MeToo movement began making national headlines just over a year ago.

Since then, more than 200 prominent individuals have been accused of harassment. From Harvey Weinstein to Matt Lauer to newly appointed Supreme Court Justice Brett Cavanaugh, new allegations of sexual harassment have been appearing in the news almost weekly, and sometimes daily, over the last year.

John S. Gannon, Esq

John S. Gannon, Esq

Amelia J. Holstrom, Esq.

Amelia J. Holstrom, Esq.

It should not come as any surprise that employers are feeling the impact of the #MeToo movement. The number of sexual-harassment lawsuits filed increased drastically from 2017 to 2018. In October 2018, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency responsible for enforcing federal discrimination and harassment laws, released preliminary data for fiscal year 2018 showing that, for the first time since at least 2010, the number of sexual-harassment charges filed with the EEOC increased.

Additionally, the EEOC reported that it had filed 41 lawsuits alleging sexual harassment, more than a 50% increase over the previous year, and that it had collected close to $70 million on behalf of sexual-harassment victims in fiscal year 2018. The number of lawsuits is not the only thing on the rise; juries seem more willing to issue large damage awards to plaintiffs alleging sexual harassment. Just a few months ago, a jury in Massachusetts awarded a plaintiff more than $3 million in damages in a sexual harassment lawsuit.

Best Practices for Employers

Businesses that want to avoid being another #MeToo statistic need to take a hard look at their culture and ask: What are we doing to provide a workplace free from harassment? With allegations of harassment and lawsuits on the rise, now is an important time for employers to revisit best practices and take proactive steps aimed at protecting employees and reducing legal risk.

First, employers must have an anti-harassment policy, which should clearly outline the internal complaint and investigation procedure. State law requires employers of six or more employees to have a written sexual-harassment policy that is distributed at time of hire and annually to all employees. Among other things, the policy must include a notice that sexual harassment is unlawful and that it is unlawful to retaliate against someone who reports sexual harassment or participates in an investigation. 

The policy should also outline where and how employees can bring internal complaints of harassment and what the investigation procedure is. If either of these processes are unclear at your workplace, now is the time to revisit them and develop a complaint process and investigation procedure.

Second, employers should be doing annual sexual-harassment training. Although Massachusetts law only encourages training, implementing effective harassment training into your workplace culture demonstrates that you care about the issue. It also can protect you against a costly lawsuit.

Under the law, if a supervisor harasses a subordinate or knows about harassment but fails to take prompt steps to report, investigate, and stop the conduct, the supervisor has created significant legal risk for the employer. As a result, it is important that supervisors receive periodic training on what constitutes sexual harassment and what to do if they receive a sexual-harassment complaint or observe potential harassment in the workplace. A few hours of training per year could save an employer from a costly lawsuit. Further, annual training for all employees can be beneficial because it highlights what is not acceptable and outlines the serious repercussions, including termination, for harassing behavior.

Preventing Costly Litigation

As noted at the outset, juries are issuing multi-million-dollar awards in harassment cases. At the same time, employment-discrimination cases are also seeing record-setting jury verdicts. Earlier this year, a jury in Massachusetts awarded a plaintiff $28 million in a discrimination and retaliation case. Read that sentence again.

Having solid policies and engaging in regular training can get employers only so far. In order to avoid the risk of a runaway jury, employers may want to consider requiring employees to enter into agreements calling for private arbitration of employment disputes. Commonly referred to as arbitration agreements, these employment agreements require that employee and employer submit all disputes to a neutral arbitrator, as opposed to filing a lawsuit in court and having the case decided by a jury.

The arbitration process is typically less costly and time-consuming than court actions. Plus, the arbitration decision is usually final, as there are only limited opportunities for either side to appeal.

Bottom Line

The #MeToo movement is undoubtedly bringing positive changes to the workplace. Still, businesses need to be proactive and take steps to create a culture free from harassment. This starts with an effective workplace policy against harassment and regular training for employees.

If a culture change is necessary, it has to start at the top. Leaders lead by example, and these folks must be more committed than anyone to creating an environment free from harassing behavior.

John S. Gannon and Amelia J. Holstrom are attorneys with Skoler, Abbott & Presser, P.C., one of the largest law firms in New England exclusively practicing labor and employment law. Gannon specializes in employment litigation and personnel policies and practices, wage-and-hour compliance, and non-compete and trade-secrets litigation; (413) 737-4753; [email protected] Holstrom specializes in employment litigation, including defending employers against claims of discrimination, retaliation harassment, and wrongful termination, as well as wage-and-hour lawsuits. She also frequently provides counsel to management on taking proactive steps to reduce the risk of legal liability; (413) 737-4753; [email protected]

Court Dockets

The following is a compilation of recent lawsuits involving area businesses and organizations. These are strictly allegations that have yet to be proven in a court of law. Readers are advised to contact the parties listed, or the court, for more information concerning the individual claims.

HAMPSHIRE DISTRICT COURT

Robert McBain v. East Elm Pediatrics, LLC and John C. Dallenbach
Allegation: Non-payment of wages: $4,475.96
Filed: 11/5/18

Fleury Lumber Co. Inc. v. OGC, LLC and Michael D. Dale
Allegation: Breach of contract; money owed for goods delivered: $28,601.85
Filed: 11/7/18

Advanced Mitigation and Restoration Group, LLC d/b/a Advanced Restoration Group v. Thomas Fotiathis and Lisa Fotiathis, individually and d/b/a T & L Antiques
Allegation: Breach of contract; money owed for emergency goods and services: $11,892.16
Filed: 11/8/18

HAMPSHIRE SUPERIOR COURT

Penelope Silverstein v. Vivint Solar Developer, LLC
Allegation: Breach of contract: $25,000
Filed: 10/31/18

Christine Lee v. the trustees of Mount Holyoke College
Allegation: Breach of employment contract: $170,000+
Filed: 11/1/18

Kiara Bartlett v. Aesculap Inc.
Allegation: Product liability; plaintiff suffered physical damage from a defective brain shunt valve: $100,000+
Filed: 11/2/18

Kyle Kendall v. Action Ambulance Services Inc., et al
Allegation: Unlawful retaliation, wrongful termination, breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing: $65,727
Filed: 11/5/18

John D. Riley and Patricia A. Riley v. Paul S. Thaler, M.D. and Valley Medical Group, P.C.
Allegation: Medical malpractice
Filed: 11/8/18

Court Dockets

The following is a compilation of recent lawsuits involving area businesses and organizations. These are strictly allegations that have yet to be proven in a court of law. Readers are advised to contact the parties listed, or the court, for more information concerning the individual claims.

HAMPDEN DISTRICT COURT

Brenda Rosario v. Holyoke Housing Authority
Allegation: Failure to pay for hours worked, unjust enrichment: $8,852.06
Filed: 10/22/18

HAMPDEN SUPERIOR COURT

John Decker v. Maple Leaf Bar & Grill Inc.
Allegation: Negligence causing personal injury and property damage: $28,714.56+
Filed: 10/1/18

Mark Pessolano v. Staples Inc.
Allegation: Negligence; signage fell on plaintiff’s head causing personal injury: $15,990
Filed: 10/9/18

David Banas v. Fletcher Sewer and Drain Inc.
Allegation: Negligence causing personal injury: $250,000
Filed: 10/11/18

Carol Meacham v. Crocker Building Supply Inc., Amusement Consultants Ltd., Route 20-21 Associates Inc., and Ludlow Construction Inc.
Allegation: Negligence; slip and fall causing pesonal injury: $25,993.84
Filed: 10/15/18

Charlotte Provost v. Big Y Foods Inc.
Allegation: Negligence; slip and fall causing personal injury: $167,820
Filed: 10/18/18

HAMPSHIRE DISTRICT COURT

Franklin County Community Development Corp. v. Zononi Enterprises, LLC and Charles Zononi
Allegation: Breach of contract: $9,854.10+
Filed: 10/19/18

HAMPSHIRE SUPERIOR COURT

Noah Reese Shaw v. McCray’s Country Creamery Inc. d/b/a McCray’s Farm
Allegation: Negligence; plaintiff’s arm pinned between trailer and tree during haunted hayride, causing personal injury
Filed: 10/30/18

PALMER DISTRICT COURT

Ashley Cook v. Touched by an Angel Inc., Helena Stephens, and Adam Camp
Allegation: Non-payment of wages, unjust enrichment: $1,365
Filed: 10/11/18

WESTFIELD DISTRICT COURT

Johnnie Torres v. Chalmers Enterprises, LLC and Chestnut Realty Management, LLC
Allegation: Negligence; stairs collapsed, causing personal injury
Filed: 10/29/18

Court Dockets

The following is a compilation of recent lawsuits involving area businesses and organizations. These are strictly allegations that have yet to be proven in a court of law. Readers are advised to contact the parties listed, or the court, for more information concerning the individual claims.

HAMPSHIRE DISTRICT COURT

Frank Foodservice Solutions Inc. v. The Biz of Coffee, LLC
Allegation: Money owed for goods sold and delivered: $14,740.56
Filed: 9/26/18

HAMPSHIRE SUPERIOR COURT

Asha Khanna v. Local Burger, LLC and Travelers Casualty Insurance Co. of America
Allegation: Negligence causing personal injury: $311,209.46
Filed: 9/24/18

New England Mutual Insurance Co. as subrogee of Charlotte A. Sousa v. Fuel Services Inc. and Boston Environmental, LLC d/b/a The TankSure Program
Allegation: Negligent inspection, testing, and evaluation of an oil tank: $132,062.93
Filed: 10/1/18

WESTFIELD DISTRICT COURT

Donna Jones v. Northeast Health Group Inc. d/b/a Governor’s Center
Allegation: Failure to pay wages: $3,188.52
Filed: 9/7/18

Anthony Williams v. Villa Franca Donuts Inc.
Allegation: Negligence; slip and fall causing personal injury: $14,783.60
Filed: 9/27/18

Court Dockets

The following is a compilation of recent lawsuits involving area businesses and organizations. These are strictly allegations that have yet to be proven in a court of law. Readers are advised to contact the parties listed, or the court, for more information concerning the individual claims.

CHICOPEE DISTRICT COURT
Law Office of Michael D. Facchini v. Robert St. Jacques and Bob St. Jacques Home Improvement
Allegation: Breach of contract, unjust enrichment, violation of Consumer Protection Act: $13,417.25
Filed: 9/28/18

HAMPDEN SUPERIOR COURT
M.K. Fuel Inc. v. Station Removal & Installation, LLC
Allegation: Breach of contract: $150,000
Filed: 9/10/18

Kenneth Page v. 113 Hampden Street, LLC
Allegation: Negligence; slip and fall causing personal injury: $60,000
Filed: 9/17/18

Marta Rivera v. Best Fitness of Springfield Inc.
Allegation: Negligence causing personal injury: $100,000
Filed: 9/17/18

Cheryl Monette v. Charter Communications Inc.
Allegation: Employment discrimination: $70,000
Filed: 9/19/18

Kenneth Laflamme v. Talen Energy Services Holdings, LLC d/b/a Talen Energy Services Northeast Inc.
Allegation: Negligence causing personal injury: $65,000
Filed: 9/21/18

HAMPSHIRE DISTRICT COURT
Christopher Smith v. TommyCar Corp. d/b/a Country Nissan, TommyCar Management Corp., and Islam F. Alomari
Allegation: Negligence, breach of bailment, negligent entrustment, and breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing: $5,781
Filed: 9/12/18

HAMPSHIRE SUPERIOR COURT
Michael Florio v. Western Mass. Coalition for Occupational Safety & Health Inc., et al
Allegation: Non-payment of wages: $32,992
Filed: 9/12/18

WESTFIELD DISTRICT COURT
US LED Ltd. v. Southwick Electric
Allegation: Money owed for goods sold and delivered, breach of contract, unjust enrichment: $14,446.52
Filed: 7/30/18

Robin A. Bennett v. Pride Convenience Inc.
Allegation: Negligence; defendant failed to exercise proper care to ensure fuel pump dispensed appropriate fuel into plaintiff’s vehicle: $5,500
Filed: 9/10/18

Court Dockets

The following is a compilation of recent lawsuits involving area businesses and organizations. These are strictly allegations that have yet to be proven in a court of law. Readers are advised to contact the parties listed, or the court, for more information concerning the individual claims.

HAMPDEN DISTRICT COURT
William J. Murray v. Tree Corp.
Allegation: Trespass and negligence causing property damage (destruction of healthy, mature tree): $3,000
Filed: 9/4/18

HAMPDEN SUPERIOR COURT
Norma I. De La Cruz v. The Stop & Shop Supermarket Co., LLC d/b/a Super Stop and Shop
Allegation: Negligence; slip and fall causing personal injury: $250,000
Filed: 9/6/18

Adrienne Levine v. Baystate Health Inc.
Allegation: Negligence; slip and fall causing personal injury: $125,745
Filed: 9/6/18

Jean Lord v. Eastern States Exposition Inc.; H.C. Sims Farms Kentucky, LLC; Jeffrey Kaufman; and Kaye Kaufman
Allegation: Negligence causing personal injury: $52,312.73
Filed: 9/7/18

Louis R. Redfern v. Owen Zaret, PA-C; Khaled Instrum, MD; and Julian Hernandez, DO
Allegation: Medical malpractice: $1,500,000
Filed: 9/7/18

Aileen Velazquez v. Pioneer Valley Transit Authority, Springfield Area Transit Co., First Transit Inc., Joewarren Marrero, and Marilyn Santos
Allegation: Negligence; auto accident causing personal injury: $7,149.02
Filed: 9/7/18

Mary Smith v. James Buratti d/b/a Heritage Motor Home Park
Allegation: Negligence; slip and fall causing personal injury: $17,170.29
Filed: 9/10/18

Springfield College v. Amerex Brokers, LLC
Allegation: Breach of contract, breach of warranty, negligence, intentional and negligent misrepresentation: $225,000+
Filed: 9/11/18

Local 455, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, AFL-CIO v. Western Massachusetts Electric Co. d/b/a Eversource Energy
Allegation: Violation of Massachusetts labor laws
Filed: 9/12/18

Michael Salvatore v. Century Drywall Inc. and Aecom Tishman
Allegation: Negligence causing personal injury and property damage: $89,000
Filed: 9/17/18

Court Dockets

The following is a compilation of recent lawsuits involving area businesses and organizations. These are strictly allegations that have yet to be proven in a court of law. Readers are advised to contact the parties listed, or the court, for more information concerning the individual claims.

CHICOPEE DISTRICT COURT
Lisa Cupillo v. The Home Depot Inc.
Allegation: Negligence; poorly stacked tile causing personal injury: $1,367
Filed: 8/22/18

HAMPSHIRE DISTRICT COURT
Zoe Zeichner v. Steve Lewis Subaru Inc. and Subaru of America Inc.
Allegation: Breach of implied warranty, breach of express warranty, negligence
Filed: 8/7/18

HAMPSHIRE SUPERIOR COURT
Francois Haba v. ServiceNet Inc.
Allegation: Employment discrimination
Filed: 7/27/18

Erin Menard individually and as guardian for Zachary Menard v. Town of Southampton and Eversource Energy
Allegation: Negligence; falling tree limbs causing personal injury: $9,611.33
Filed: 8/2/18

Tammy Lequillo v. Staples the Office Superstore East Inc., Dennis Gaspie, Carl Rohrberg, Ron Lindhorst, Michael DeSantos, and Bruce Christian
Allegation: Age discrimination: $1,000,000
Filed: 8/2/18

Mi-Hyun Park v. University of Massachusetts Amherst and Richard Palmer
Allegation: Tenure denied for unlawful, discriminatory reasons: $100,000+
Filed: 8/10/18

Michael Kneurr v. Qionglong USBoston, LLC
Allegation: Negligence at Cold Spring Country Club causing personal injury: $363,050
Filed: 8/16/18

Joseph Whalen v. Walter J. Gazda, D.M.D.
Allegation: Dental malpractice: $26,200
Filed: 8/20/18

David R. Knightly v. Town of Amherst and Amherst Police Department
Allegation: Employment discrimination: $25,000+
Filed: 8/20/18

Court Dockets

The following is a compilation of recent lawsuits involving area businesses and organizations. These are strictly allegations that have yet to be proven in a court of law. Readers are advised to contact the parties listed, or the court, for more information concerning the individual claims.

HAMPDEN DISTRICT COURT
Bottling Group, LLC d/b/a Pepsi Beverages Co. v. Silon Corp. d/b/a Little Caesar’s and Khalid Drihmi
Allegation: Breach of contract: $5,285.62
Filed: 8/6/18

Matthew Katz, D.M.D. v. Richard T. Miller
Allegation: Breach of contract, unfair and deceptive act: $5,000
Filed: 8/21/18

HAMPDEN SUPERIOR COURT
Joseph Vass v. Fuel Services Inc.
Allegation: Negligence, breach of warranty: $73,691
Filed: 7/24/18

Custom Eco Friendly, LLC d/b/a Direct Green Bags v. Definery, LLC
Allegation: Money owed for goods sold and delivered: $33,659
Filed: 7/31/18

Harry Mills v. McDonald’s Corp.
Allegation: Negligence; slip and fall causing personal injury: $152,099.25
Filed: 8/2/18

John A. Crafts v. CSX Transportation Inc.
Allegation: Negligence causing personal injury: $71,024
Filed: 8/2/18

Charlaine and Robert Howlick v. Mohamed Hamdani, M.D. and New England Surgical Group, LLP
Allegation: Medical malpractice: $982,000
Filed: 8/6/18

Karla Garcia v. Habit Opco Inc., Habit Opco LLC, Acadia Healthcare Co. Inc., Jessica Fortier-Goss, and Gary Frankoski
Allegation: Employment discrimination: $25,000+
Filed: 8/11/18

Maria Rogers v. Old Dominion Freight Line Inc. and Alija Guster
Allegation: Motor-vehicle negligence causing personal injury: $34,522.62
Filed: 8/14/18

Donna M. Robichaud, personal representative of the estate of Carlo L. Russo v. Loomis Senior Living d/b/a Loomis Lakeside at Reed’s Landing, Loomis Communities Inc. d/b/a Loomis Corporate Management, and Mary Meffen
Allegation: Wrongful death: $500,000+
Filed: 8/14/18

Carol Chapdelaine v. Aspen Dental and Patrick Dermesropian, DDS/Patrick Dermesropian, LLC
Allegation: Dental malpractice: $45,030+
Filed: 8/15/18

Noreen Mazza Plourd v. Walmart Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores East, LP
Allegation: Negligence; slip and fall causing injury: $50,000
Filed: 8/16/18