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SPRINGFIELD — On March 25, the Department of Industrial Accidents Reviewing Board issued a major ruling concerning worker safety. In the underlying case, Pellegrini, Seeley, Ryan & Blakesley (PSRB) attorneys Thomas Downey and Ronald Kidd claimed their client suffered severe, disabling injuries as a result of the employer’s serious and willful misconduct.

After a hearing, the judge awarded the injured employee double compensation under Section 28 of the Workers’ Compensation Act on account of the employer’s misconduct. Section 28 claims are rare and often unsuccessful because of the requirement to prove a willful act or failure. The Reviewing Board affirmed the judge’s double-compensation award.

“This was a case in which an employee, in the normal performance of their duties, was badly injured by a machine he was cleaning. The action stems from the fact that the owner of the business did not inform the worker about an emergency shut-off switch which was in place to prevent this exact sort of accident,” Downey said. “The willful disregard for safety by the owner allowed us to recover double compensation for our client. This is an uncommon occurrence and shows the strength of our case, the disregard for worker’s safety, and the ability of our team to work on behalf our injured client.”

Kidd added that “this case was unique among willful and wanton cases in that it lacked the ‘coercive’ element usually present. The department found that the failure of the employer to educate its employees as to the existence of this safety device, and the removal of the key to operate it, were equivalent to forcing the employee to work in a dramatically unsafe environment.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Five area students were each awarded a $1,000 Gerard L. Pellegrini Scholarship to advance their education by the law firm that bears his name.

The Gerard L. Pellegrini Scholarship is awarded annually to a union member affiliated with the Western Massachusetts Area Labor Federation or their spouse or dependent. Applicants are asked to submit their high-school or college transcripts, written recommendations, a recital of recent community service, and an essay detailing the importance of the labor movement to their family.

Winners of this year’s awards are Emma Cowles of Wilbraham, Samantha Franciosa of Granby, Emma Hayward of Pittsfield, Antonia Perakis of West Springfield, and Elizabeth Sarnacki of East Otis.

“This scholarship provides a yearly opportunity for the firm to demonstrate its commitment to helping union members and their families improve their lives through education,” said Earl Seeley III, a partner at Pellegrini, Seeley, Ryan and Blakesley, and grandson of Gerard Pellegrini. “My grandfather was a fierce advocate for worker’s rights and fought on behalf of injured workers for over 50 years — but before that, he was a working-class kid whose life was changed for the better by education. He never forgot that.”

Attorney and Partner Michael Cardaropoli, a member of the firm’s scholarship committee, added that “these students represent excellence in the pursuit of education and are illustrative of how unions can positively influence family life.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The law firm of Pellegrini, Seeley, Ryan & Blakesley (PSRB) announced a corporate sponsorship with the Worcester Red Sox and the furthering of its partnership with Red Sox legend Dwight Evans as its spokesperson.

“We are excited about being a part of the Red Sox family and the incredible success story happening in Worcester. We have always been a community-focused law firm. Our sponsorship of the WooSox is geared toward providing support to their charitable efforts throughout Greater Worcester and sponsorship of their community calendar. It’s a perfect fit for us,” said Patrick McHugh, a partner at PSRB, as the firm shot new television commercials on Aug. 16 on the field at Polar Park.

The law firm also announced the continuation of its relationship with Red Sox Hall of Fame right fielder Dwight Evans as the firm’s spokesperson.

“Dwight has been an integral part of our marketing efforts for the past 16 years,” said Charlie Casartello, the firm’s managing partner. “There is no one we could partner with who has more integrity and kindness than Dwight. It has been an honor to have him be our representative to the public, and we look forward to continuing our relationship with him long into the future.”

Pellegrini, Seeley, Ryan & Blakesley is a law firm of more than 15 lawyers. The practice has been devoted to protecting the rights of injured people for more than 60 years.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The law firm Pellegrini, Seeley Ryan & Blakesley provided $3,000 and employees’ time to provide and distribute summer-activity backpacks to 300 children for the Boys & Girls club of Greater Westfield.

“We wanted to do something that would help keep children creatively, mentally, and physically engaged during this pandemic,” Partner Charles Casartello said. “It was also a wonderful opportunity for our lawyers and staff to roll up our sleeves and help do something productive for the community by physically assembling the packs in addition to funding them.”

The backpacks were stuffed with art supplies, puzzles, games, soccer and gym balls, and other items for children.

“The Boys & Girls Clubs are a haven for children,” PSRB Partner Patrick McHugh said. “They work every day to make a difference in kids’ lives. We wanted to aid that mission and provide a little joy for the kids who aren’t able to be at the club right now.”

Added Casartello, “it was a real team effort. We are so pleased to help out an organization that does so much for the community.”

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