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Law Special Coverage

Risky Business

By Amy B. Royal, Esq.

The pandemic has already created a flurry of individual and class-action lawsuits against companies. In fact, according to data collected through a national association for lawyers, it is estimated that approximately 80 COVID-related litigation cases have been filed in Massachusetts alone, and more than 5,000 across the country. These cases are expected to be very costly to defend.

The most common types of cases that have emerged involve health and safety violations, discrimination, and leaves of absence from work. In understanding the trends of lawsuits that have already been filed, businesses can better prepare by assessing risk and perhaps mitigate their exposure to liability in the process.

 

The Safety Suits

Not surprisingly, several COVID-related lawsuits involve health and safety claims. The common theme among them is that a company failed to provide a safe environment either for their employees or for their customers. Some of the lawsuits allege a failure-to-warn component, i.e., that the company knew an individual had exhibited COVID-19 symptoms at the place of business, yet the company failed to inform employees and customers. Other lawsuits involve claims that companies either did not provide adequate PPE or otherwise take necessary precautions to protect people.

Amy B. Royal, Esq

Amy B. Royal, Esq

An offshoot of the safety suits involve whistleblower claims under OSHA, a federal law that addresses standards for workplace health and safety. Employees can blow the whistle on their employer by reporting potential workplace health and safety issues to (and filing complaints with) the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a division of the Department of Labor.

“According to data collected through a national association for lawyers, it is estimated that approximately 80 COVID-related litigation cases have been filed in Massachusetts alone, and more than 5,000 across the country.”

Many of the COVID-related OSHA claims are for retaliation. Specifically, several employees have filed complaints alleging they suffered an adverse employment action after notifying their employer of violations of social-distancing guidelines or failures to maintain proper cleaning of workspaces or PPE.

 

Discrimination

Age, disability, and pregnancy discrimination cases related to COVID-19 have been on the rise since the summer months. These types of cases typically arise under the following general set of circumstances: the employee refuses to return to the physical workspace citing their age, disability, or pregnancy as too much of a risk factor, and their employer terminates them or, in the context of disability and pregnancy, does not accommodate them by allowing them to work at home.

However, these same types of discrimination cases arise in a different way as well, underscoring the fact that no good deed goes unpunished. Believe it or not, good-intentioned employers that have told their older workers or those with known pre-existing conditions to work from home, take a leave of absence, or accept a furlough while bringing back their younger or non-disabled counterparts are getting smacked with age and disability discrimination claims.

Although these employers may have been acting out of concern for their workers that they perceived as high-risk, preventing them from returning to the workplace can give rise to a potentially viable age or disability discrimination claim. Indeed, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), our federal enforcement agency for discrimination claims, issued guidance on this specific situation. In a nutshell, the EEOC has taken the position that employers cannot do this unless they can show their employee’s physical presence in the workplace poses a “direct threat,” which is an extremely high standard to meet.

 

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

The FFCRA came into effect in what felt like a nanosecond and, thus, created a quagmire. Businesses suddenly needed to understand the act, implement it, and comply with it.

The act, which included the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act within it, requires covered employers to provide employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for certain qualifying reasons. The act took effect in April and presently is slated to remain in effect through the end of the year. It applies to employers with fewer than 500 employees.

“Some of the lawsuits allege a failure-to-warn component, i.e., that the company knew an individual had exhibited COVID-19 symptoms at the place of business, yet the company failed to inform employees and customers.”

Now that the act has been in effect for just over six months, lawsuits under it have begun to emerge. The majority of these lawsuits involve the caregiver provisions of the act.

The act mandates that employers provide 80 hours of paid sick leave to employees to care for:

• An individual who is subject to a governmental quarantine or isolation order or is advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine due to COVID concerns; or

• Their child if the child’s school or daycare is closed or the childcare provider is unavailable due to the pandemic.

Further, the Emergency Family Medical Leave Act portion of the FFCRA permits employees to take 12 weeks of job-protected leave to care for their child if the child’s school or daycare is closed or the childcare provider is unavailable.

In these FFCRA lawsuits, employees are claiming either that their requests for leave were improperly denied or that they were retaliated against for availing themselves of their rights under the act.

 

The ‘Take Home’ Cases

The ‘take home’ cases are the scariest of them all as they carry the biggest monetary exposure to businesses. The crux of them is this: an employee contracts COVID-19 at his or her workplace. A family member becomes infected and becomes very ill or tragically dies. A claim is then brought by the family member against the employer for negligence under the theory that the employer failed to warn or failed to take reasonable precautions.

Workers’ compensation laws are generally the exclusive remedy to employees for workplace injuries. This means employees cannot bring negligence claims against their employer for workplace injuries. The reason for the workers’ compensation system was to limit employers’ exposure to large, multi-million-dollar damage awards in personal-injury cases, as workers’ compensation laws impose caps on damages. Take-home cases, however, are not capped and could potentially generate a nuclear verdict.

There is precedent for take-home cases in the asbestos litigation space. Indeed, family members have received landslide settlements and verdicts from many companies claiming they developed mesothelioma after their spouse, for example, brought asbestos into their home after work.

The first take-home COVID-19 case was recently filed in Illinois by a daughter who alleged her mother died after her father contracted coronavirus at work and then brought it back into the home, infecting her mother. In this wrongful-death lawsuit, the daughter alleges her father’s employer should be on the hook for the exposure to her mother that her father ‘took home’ to her, which ultimately caused her mother’s death. Other take-home cases have begun to emerge around the country as well.

 

What Can Be Done to Mitigate Risk?

Two words: comprehensive planning. Proper planning includes knowing what laws apply to your company, assessing them and assessing your overall areas of risk, taking proactive steps, and designating a team to help create, implement, manage, and adapt to COVID-related issues. Then, put pen to paper and document your efforts.

 

Amy B. Royal, Esq. is a litigation attorney who specializes in labor and employment-law matters at the Royal Law Firm LLP, a woman-owned, women-managed corporate law firm that is certified as a women’s business enterprise with the Massachusetts Supplier Diversity Office, the National Assoc. of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms, and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council; (413) 586-2288; [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

East Coast Builders Group, LLC v. Kent Pecoy & Sons Construction Inc. d/b/a Pecoy Cos. and Sturbridge Development, LLC
Allegation: Breach of contract: $27,500
Filed: 7/20/20

East Coast Builders Group, LLC v. Kent Pecoy & Sons Construction Inc. d/b/a Pecoy Cos. and Sturbridge Development, LLC
Allegation: Breach of contract: $24,349
Filed: 7/21/20

HAMPSHIRE SUPERIOR COURT

Francesca Torsiello, Cassandra Torsiello, and Kimberly Torsiello v. Trustees of Hampshire College, Five College Consortium Inc., Kevin Fournier, Raymond Labarre, Dianna Williams, Eva Rueschmann, and Byron McCrae
Allegation: Breach of contract, breach of civil rights: 871,000
Filed: 5/4/20

Easthampton Precision Manufacturing Inc. v. Samson Manufacturing Co.
Allegation: Breach of contract: $68,300.20
Filed: 5/8/20

Susan Lee Hanley, personal representative of the estate of Triona Hanley v. Athena Health Care Associates Inc. d/b/a Highview of Northampton; Malcolm Dean; Gina Ianacone, RN; Jane/John Doe 1; Jane/John Doe 2; Lara D’Benedetto, LPN; Margaret Russo, MD; and Jane/John Doe 3
Allegation: Medical malpractice, wrongful death: $1,000,000
Filed: 6/5/20

Jane Doe and John Doe v. Smith College, et al
Allegation: Willful negligence; willful infliction of pain, suffering, and emotional distress; fraud, mistake, duress, and undue influence; breach of contract and warranty: $15,000,000
Filed: 6/10/20

Western Builders Inc. v. Russell Street Hospitality, LLC and Gator Pearson, LLC
Allegation: Breach of contract: $416,983.35
Filed: 6/20/20

East Coast Builders Group, LLC v. Kent Pecoy & Sons Construction Inc. d/b/a Pecoy Cos., et al
Allegation: Breach of contract, unjust enrichment: $50,548
Filed: 7/21/20

Law Special Coverage

COVID Lawsuits

By John Gannon, Esq.

Businesses across the globe are in the midst of planning, preparing, and executing their reopening strategies. While this news is encouraging, employers face novel and complicated legal questions about their potential liability to employees who either get sick at work or cannot return due to medical or childcare-related reasons.

Searching for answers, businesses leaders are confronted with an array of local, state, federal, and industry-specific protocols for operating safely. Charting a course in the face of this uncertainty is no small task. Unfortunately, one thing remains clear: there will be a wave of lawsuits triggered by the difficult business decisions made during this challenging time.

The COVID-19 crisis will send shockwaves through the courts and fair-employment agencies (such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination) for years to come. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell remarked that an “epidemic” of these lawsuits will lead to “a trial-lawyer bonanza.” While likely overstated, the concern for employers should be real. Numerous COVID-19-related lawsuits have been filed, with many more on the way. Here are a sampling of those legal theories, with prevention tips and tactics at the end.

Negligence and/or Wrongful Death

One of the scariest claims for businesses will be negligence and wrongful-death lawsuits. In short, these actions may be lodged by employees (and even customers) who are harmed by COVID-19 because the employer failed to keep the work environment safe.

How might this look? Imagine that employees in a manufacturing plant return to work as the business reopens (or perhaps they have been working all along if the workers are deemed ‘essential’). Joe, who works on the factory floor in close proximity with others, tests positive for COVID-19. Mike, who works near Joe, also tests positive. Mike in turn infects members of his household, including an aging, immune-compromised parent. Can any of them sue the business?

John S. Gannon

John S. Gannon

“Our workers’ compensation system typically prevents employees from suing their employers for injuries that result from working. Instead of suing, employees with occupational injuries get paid through workers’ comp. But is a COVID-19 infection ‘occupational?’”

Our workers’ compensation system typically prevents employees from suing their employers for injuries that result from working. Instead of suing, employees with occupational injuries get paid through workers’ comp. But is a COVID-19 infection ‘occupational?’ Proving the root cause of a COVID infection is very difficult, as the virus spreads easily and can be contracted nearly anywhere.

In the above example, would Joe have a workers’ comp claim? Probably not, unless he can show others he was working in close proximity with someone who had the virus before him. What about Mike? He has a better claim, but still no sure thing. And certainly the family member would not be filing a comp claim. Instead, a negligence or wrongful-death suit might follow.

Recently, the relative of a retail-store employee in Illinois who died from COVID-19 sued the retailer for negligence and wrongful death. The lawsuit claims that the employee contracted COVID-19 in the store, and the business did not do enough to protect employees from the virus. All businesses that are open or reopening should have this case on their radar.

FFCRA Violations

By now, everyone should know that the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) allows employees to take paid leave for a number of COVID-19-related reasons, including the need to care for children who are unable to go to school or daycare. Employees who are denied FFCRA rights or retaliated against for taking FFCRA leave can sue you in court. Successful employees may be entitled to reinstatement, lost wages, attorney’s fees, and double damages.

The first FFCRA-related lawsuit was filed last month. In the case, a female employee (and single mom) claimed she was fired because she requested FFCRA leave due to her son’s school closing. The employee allegedly discussed her need for leave to care for her son, and was told that the FFCRA was not meant to be “a hammer to force management into making decisions which may not be in the interest of the company or yourself.” She was fired a few days later and then filed what might be the first FFCRA lawsuit. Many more are certain to follow.

Discriminatory Layoffs

At the time of this article, the unemployment rate in the U.S. stands at almost 15%, and more than 30 million Americans have filed for unemployment since mid-March. Each layoff decision comes with the risk that someone will claim the reason they were selected was discriminatory.

Suppose Jane, who is 60, gets laid off, while many younger workers were retained for employment. Jane may claim that the reason was at least partially motivated by her age. If she was right, it would be would be textbook age discrimination.

Whistleblower/Retaliation Lawsuits

Employees who raise complaints or concerns about workplace safety are protected against retaliation by the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Similarly, Massachusetts has a law that protects healthcare workers who complain about practices that pose a risk to public health. We expect an increase in these lawsuits during this pandemic.

Prevention Strategies

These novel COVID-19-related lawsuits generally fall into one of two buckets: claims related to worker health and safety, and discriminatory or retaliatory adverse employment actions.

To protect against the first batch, businesses need to rigorously follow federal, state, and local guidance on maintaining a safe workplace. Agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have issued guidance on topics like maintaining safe business operations, temperature checks for employees, and personal protective equipment. Check with your risk-management advisors to see if they have developed checklists or other tools you can use to aid in your business reopening.

Avoiding the second type of lawsuit (discrimination, retaliation, etc.) involves the same tried and true principles that were critical before COVID-19. Make sure you have reasonable, business-based justifications for your decisions that are not motivated by characteristics like race, age, gender, or use of FFCRA leave. These business-based reasons should be well-documented and understandable to laypeople, who may be reviewing your justification in a jury room. Finally, when in doubt, consult with your labor and employment-law specialists.

John Gannon is a partner with Springfield-based Skoler, Abbott & Presser. He specializes in employment law and regularly counsels employers on compliance with state and federal laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and the Occupational Health and Safety Act. He is a frequent speaker on employment-related legal topics for a wide variety of associations and organizations; [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.

HAMPDEN SUPERIOR COURT

Jocelyne Soto v. M. Gomez Enterprises d/b/a Sam’s Quality Motors

Allegation: Negligence; slip and fall causing personal injury: $50,000

Filed: 12/12/19

Ronald Albee v. Rehab Resolutions Inc.

Allegation: Medical malpractice: $36,464.98

Filed: 12/12/19

Lela Bennett v. Stop & Shop; Albany Road Real Estate Partners, LLC; and Asphalt Paving & Maintenance Inc.

Allegation: Negligence; slip and fall causing personal injury: $45,000

Filed: 12/13/19

Stephen M. Efkowitz and Lauren Efkowitz v. Red Roof Inn PLUS+ and Red Roof Inns Inc.

Allegation: Bedbug infestation and other negligence causing personal injury: $16,500

Filed: 12/18/19

Jose Nieves v. RR and Co. Realty, LLC

Allegation: Negligence; slip and fall causing personal injury: $24,079.78

Filed: 12/18/19

Camerlin Electric Inc. v. A & G Contracting Inc.

Allegation: Money owed for services, labor, and/or materials: $153,700

Filed: 12/26/19

HAMPSHIRE SUPERIOR COURT

Glenn Gulotta v. Cooley Dickinson Hospital Inc.; anesthesiologist John Doe; Daniel McBride, M.D.; nurse Jane Doe; and AMN Healthcare Inc.

Allegation: Medical malpractice: $110,000

Filed: 1/16/20

PALMER DISTRICT COURT

Marcia Johnson v. The Northeast Health Group Inc., Williamsett Center East RE LLC, and Howard Jaffe

Allegation: Failure to pay wages: <$25,000

Filed: 01/16/2020

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

Perkins Paper, LLC v. Joseph’s Premium Produce Inc.

Allegation: Breach of contract for goods sold and delivered: $6,242.42

Filed: 11/27/19

HAMPDEN SUPERIOR COURT

Carolyn J. Taylor as a personal representative of the estate of Paul P. Pacewicz v. Wingate Healthcare Inc. and Mary L. Burgeson

Allegation: Personal injury, property damage: $25,000+

Filed: 11/15/19

Julianne Holby v. McDonald’s Corp.

Allegation: Negligence; slip and fall causing personal injury: $53,393.28

Filed: 11/20/19

James Fiorentino v. VAAS Energy, LLC

Allegation: Employment misclassification, failure to pay wages: $60,000+

Filed: 11/21/19

Baystate Blasting Inc. v. Graniteville Materials, LLC

Allegation: Breach of contract: $103,206

Filed: 11/22/19

Lori Meaney v. Trinity Health New England Corp. Inc. d/b/a/ Mercy Medical Center

Allegation: Negligence; trip and fall causing personal injury: $100,000

Filed: 11/22/19

Donald Marion v. Pearl Construction Partners Inc.

Allegation: Negligence; slip and fall causing personal injury: $28,553.12

Filed: 12/2/19

Katherine Kane, personal representative of the estate of Louise Moriarty v. Genesis Lifecare Corp. and JGS Lifecare Corp.

Allegation: Wrongful death: $1,176,144.45

Filed: 12/3/19

HAMPSHIRE SUPERIOR COURT

Johnny Graniela v. TommyCar Management Corp., TommyCar Corp., Thomas Cosenzi, and Carla Zayac

Allegation: Violation of Massachusetts wage law: $25,000

Filed: 11/24/19

Marta Martine and Marta Martinez as parent and next friend of Kai Martinez-Peron v. Northampton Montessori Society Inc. and Gill Building Corp. d/b/a Renaissance Builders

Allegation: Negligence; slip and fall causing personal injury: $85,000+

Filed: 12/5/19

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.

HAMPDEN DISTRICT COURT
Anna Coriano v. Chapin Laurel, LLC; Atlas Property Management Inc.; and Ilya Shnayder
Allegation: Negligence causing personal injury: $2,094
Filed: 8/12/19

HAMPDEN SUPERIOR COURT
Crystal Rodriguez v. Big Y Foods
Allegation: Negligence; slip and fall causing personal injury: $11,903.08
Filed: 7/26/19

Ted Decosmo v. MGM Springfield, LLC
Allegation: Breach of contract, unjust enrichment: $25,000+
Filed: 7/29/19

Carlos Santiago v. Wil-Sites Truck Lines, LLC and Top Truck Services Corp.
Allegation: Negligence causing personal injury and property damage: $288,000
Filed: 7/29/19

F.P. McNamara Rubbish Removal Inc. v. Joseph Freedman Co. Inc. and Stevens Street Realty Inc.
Allegation: Nuisance, negligence, trespass: $25,000+
Filed: 7/30/19

NMD Inc. d/b/a A&M Landscaping v. Wingate Healthcare Inc., SRC East Longmeadow Inc. d/b/a Wingate at East Longmeadow, and SRC Springfield Inc. d/b/a Wingate at Springfield
Allegation: Breach of contract, unjust enrichment: $55,245
Filed: 7/31/19

Anileda Tudisco v. Riverside Park Enterprises d/b/a Six Flags New England
Allegation: Negligence causing personal injury, breach of warranty: $368,132
Filed: 8/2/19

HAMPSHIRE SUPERIOR COURT
Jehann Elbisi v. Related Village Park, LLC
Allegation: Negligence causing personal injury: $6,388
Filed: 8/7/19

Kate Faulkner v. Double Edge Theatre Productions Inc.
Allegation: Negligence causing personal injury: $233,202.13
Filed: 8/9/19

PALMER DISTRICT COURT
QuadGraphics Inc. v. Turley Publications Inc.
Allegation: Balance due for marketing and printing services rendered: $4,795
Filed: 8/23/19

WESTFIELD DISTRICT COURT
Saltine Warrior Inc. v. C and C Contractors, LLC and Reginald Cole
Allegation: Breach of contract, unpaid bills: $7,572.34
Filed: 8/7/19

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

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

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
Astro Automotive Inc. v. Luzi’s Auto Body Inc.
Allegation: Money owed for goods sold and delivered: $4,139.14
Filed: 7/17/18

Beacon Sales Acquisition Inc. d/b/a Beacon Sales Co. v. Matthew R. Will and Tina Bowles d/b/a 5-Star Discount Roofing
Allegation: Money owed for goods sold and delivered: $18,682.12
Filed: 7/23/18

Justin Koch v. Taylor Kibbe and Thomas Wilson Enterprises Inc.
Allegation: Negligence causing personal injury: $15,248.97
Filed: 7/27/18

New England Industrial Uniform Rental Service Inc. v. Bertera Motors of West Springfield Inc., Bertera Nissan Inc., Bertera Chevrolet Inc., Bertera Automotive Corp., and Bertera Subaru Inc.
Allegation: Breach of uniform rental contracts: $14,055.24
Filed: 7/31/18

Norman Spencer v. Jose A. Baez and Fedex Freight Inc.
Allegation: Motor-vehicle neglience causing personal injury: $17,298.92
Filed: 8/1/18

Glenda Morales v. Walmart Stores East, LP
Allegation: Negligence; slip and fall causing personal injury: $4,007.28
Filed: 8/2/18

HAMPDEN SUPERIOR COURT
Deli Williams v. Springfield Water and Sewer Commission
Allegation: Motor-vehicle negligence: $4,553
Filed: 7/10/18

William J. Cerri Sr. v. TigerPress and Shafii’s Inc.
Allegation: Negligence; slip and fall causing personal injury: $366,446.87
Filed: 7/13/18

Andrew Bergeron v. R.M. Blerman, LLC; Michael Werman; and Richard Blaser
Allegation: Negligence causing personal injury: $804,493.30
Filed: 7/16/18

Karen Feliciano v. Matthew Brackman, M.D., and Pioneer Valley Surgical Associates, P.C.
Allegation: Medical malpractice: $531,641.59
Filed: 7/19/18

Nitza Ramos v. Picknelly Family, LP
Allegation: Negligence; slip and fall outside Monarch Place causing personal injury: $9,879.69
Filed: 7/19/18

Angela Powell v. Marino Realty Inc., Marino Realty Corp., and Montagna Enterprises Inc. d/b/a JJ’s Soft Serve and More
Allegation: Negligence; slip and fall causing personal injury: $400,000
Filed: 7/20/18

Joseph Lepianka v. Brinker International Payroll Co., LP d/b/a Chili’s Grill & Bar and Kelli Valade
Allegation: Non-payment of minimum fair wages, non-payment of wages: $25,000
Filed: 7/25/18

Maureen Lyon v. Dollar Tree Inc.
Allegation: Negligence; shelving bracket fell over, causing personal injury: $151,380.90
Filed: 7/30/18

Kori M. Johanson v. Stanley J. Swierzewski d/b/a La Dermique
Allegation: Breach of contract, fraud, and unjust enrichment: $112,640
Filed: 8/1/18

Beryl Ohlson v. City of Holyoke
Allegation: Negligence; Holyoke Gas & Electric shut off power without notice in plaintiff’s residence to conduct maintenance, and plaintiff fell down stairs in the dark, causing personal injury: $250,000
Filed: 8/1/18

Brandon Vreeland as personal representative of the estate of Sherry L. Vreeland v. Tashanna K. Myers, M.D. and Ziad Kutayli, M.D.
Allegation: Medical malpractice, wrongful death: $2,000,000
Filed: 8/3/18

Shanard L. Green Sr. v. Coca-Cola Refreshments
Allegation: Employment discrimination: $31,000
Filed: 8/6/18

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
Kurt Champagne II v. Chicopee Electronics Inc.; Chicopee Electronics, LLC; Chicopee Electronics Co.; David B. Averill; and Sandy F. Averill
Allegation: Unpaid wages and unpaid overtime: $25,000
Filed: 7/13/18

FRANKLIN SUPERIOR COURT
Lucille Arnold v. The Yankee Candle Co. Inc.
Allegation: Negligence; slip and fall causing personal injury: $57,035.63
Filed: 6/18/18

Mary Emily Kane v. Engelberth Construction Inc. and Champagne Drywall Inc.
Allegation: Negligence; plaintiff struck by improperly stacked drywall, causing personal injury: $500,000
Filed: 6/27/18

Wheelbrator North Andover Inc. v. Whitney Trucking Inc.
Allegation: Breach of settlement agreement: $160,239.96
Filed: 7/17/18

HAMPSHIRE DISTRICT COURT
Anna Paskausky v. Northampton Nautilus Inc.
Allegation: Negligence causing personal injury: $22,785.11
Filed: 6/28/18

6 Woods Restoration Inc. d/b/a Rainbow International Restoration v. World War II Veterans’ Assoc. of Hampshire County Inc. d/b/a World War II Club
Allegation: Breach of contract, unjust enrichment: $20,595.06
Filed: 7/10/18

Elizabeth Ouimette v. Atlantic Coast Enterprises, LLC d/b/a Jiffy Lube Service Center #1164
Allegation: Breach of contract, breach of express warranty, negligence, negligent misrepresentation: $8,885.96
Filed: 7/11/18

Kacper Kisala, through his father, Czeslaw Kisala v. Greenwood Music Camp Inc.
Allegation: Negligence causing personal injury: $17,098.02
Filed: 7/16/18

Guy Juravich and McKenzie Armstrong v. The Kind Grind Inc. d/b/a Share Coffee and Kenneth W. Majka individually
Allegation: Non-payment of tips, failure to pay proper wages, violation of Massachusetts Minimum Wage Act: $5,000+
Filed: 7/19/18

HAMPSHIRE SUPERIOR COURT
Douglas Drysdale and Renee Drysdale v. J.P. Builders Inc., John Pirog, and John Amidio d/b/a Barre Artesian Well
Allegation: Breach of contract, negligent action regarding artesian well servicing new construction residence, resulting in non-potable water: $31,819.45
Filed: 6/28/18

Town of Ware v. ECS Hold Co., LLC; Environmental Compliance Services Inc.; and ATC Group Services, LLC
Allegation: Breach of contract, negligence: $25,000+
Filed: 7/18/18

Edward J. Matz v. University of Massachusetts Amherst
Allegation: Employment discrimination based on age
Filed: 7/18/18

PALMER DISTRICT COURT
Enfield Transit Mix Inc. v. Spartan Concrete Services Inc. and Matthew T. Thouin
Allegation: Money owed for goods sold and delivered: $13,676.57
Filed: 7/12/18

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
Sheyla Rosado v. Massachusetts Institute of Alternative Medicine Inc.
Allegation: Negligence; plaintiff struck by falling cabinet, causing personal injury: $4,820.66
Filed: 5/3/18

Hector Luccas v. James Austin Co.
Allegation: Employment discrimination, retaliation: $7,000+
Filed: 5/11/18

Carmela Daniele v. CVS Pharmacy
Allegation: Negligence; plaintiff struck by poorly stacked cartons of water, causing injury: $5,000
Filed: 5/14/18

Sound Marine Transport, LLC v. Bassett Yacht & Boat Sales, LLC
Allegation: Unjust enrichment, money owed for services rendered, fraud: $2,703.96
Filed: 5/18/18

HAMPDEN SUPERIOR COURT
Cornelia Roberge v. Gil’s Gym and Racquet Health Club, LLC d/b/a All Day All Night Fitness of Ludlow and Wilbraham
Allegation: Negligence; plaintiff thrown from treadmill, causing personal injury: $25,090.85
Filed: 5/10/18

Carol Szulc, by and through her daughter, Laura J. Murray v. Julian Hernandez, D.O.
Allegation: Medical malpractice: $3,400,000
Filed: 5/11/18

Donna M. Mattice, as personal representative of the estate of Thomas J. Monty v. Vibra Hospital of Western Massachusetts, LLC
Allegation: Wrongful death
Filed: 5/14/18

Athanasia Kazonis v. the Stop & Shop Supermarket Co., LLC and the Stop & Shop Cos. Inc.
Allegation: Negligence; slip and fall causing personal injury $25,000+
Filed: 5/24/18

Cristina M. Ianello v. 110 Elm Street, LLC and the Celery Stalk
Allegation: Negligence; slip and fall causing personal injury: $119,993.56
Filed: 5/24/18

HAMPSHIRE DISTRICT COURT
Hunt Country Furniture Inc. v. Berkshire Home Design Outlet Inc.
Allegation: Money owed for goods sold and delivered: $7,113.28
Filed: 5/21/18

HAMPSHIRE SUPERIOR COURT
Barbara L. Denette v. Stop & Shop Supermarket Co., et al
Allegation: Employment discrimination: $230,000
Filed: 5/18/18

Cheryl Sperry, administrator for Charles Sperry v. Betsy Green, NP; Joseph Tassoni, M.D.; and OnCall Urgent Care Center
Allegation: Medical malpractice, wrongful death: $56,880
Filed: 5/24/18

Estate of Eleanor Bolotin v. Dr. Henry Simkin
Allegation: Medical malpractice, wrongful death: $25,000+
Filed: 5/25/18

Kerry Sue O’Riley, as personal representative of the estate of Richard R. O’Riley v. Timothy M. Brazee; TJ Property Services, LLC; SPS New England Inc.; and Safety Insurance Co.
Allegation: Negligence, wrongful death: $1,000,000+
Filed: 5/30/18

WESTFIELD DISTRICT COURT
Joseph Vass v. Fuel Services Inc.
Allegation: Negligence and breach of warranty; oil spill in basement causing property damage and personal injury; $73,691
Filed: 5/21/18