Justia Massachusetts Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Employment Law

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Plaintiffs were granted relief an action filed against Marion Haddad and the Holy Annunciation Monastery Church of the Golden Hills. Plaintiffs sought to satisfy the judgment, which represented the proceeds from a sale of property. The court ordered Holy Annunciation and Haddad to hold the proceeds of the sale in escrow, but Haddad deposited $40,000 of the proceeds in her retirement account with the State Board of Retirement. When Plaintiffs received no payment for the judgment, they brought this case in part to name the Board as trustee for the $40,000. Defendants moved to dismiss the complaint, arguing that Haddad’s retirement account was exempt from attachment and that the Commonwealth was immune from suit. The superior court granted Defendants’ motion. The Supreme Judicial Court reversed, holding (1) Haddad did not have rights in the $40,000 she deposited with the Board, and therefore, those funds were not statutorily prohibited from being subject to attachment; and (2) the doctrine of sovereign immunity did not bar Plaintiffs from summoning the Board as trustee with respect to those funds.View "Randall v. Haddad" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs were retired public employees who received a retirement allowances from the Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement System (MTRS) and the Plymouth County Retirement System pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 32. Plaintiffs filed an action against the Town of Middleborough, arguing that the board of selectmen did not have the authority to raise the health maintenance organization (HMO) premium contribution percentage for retired public employees from ten percent to twenty percent. The trial judge allowed Defendant’s motion for summary judgment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 32B, 16, the town’s board of selectmen has the authority to establish the percentage of the total monthly premium for HMO coverage that is to be paid by the town’s retired employees. View "Twomey v. Town of Middleborough" on Justia Law

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In 2000, John Buonomo retired from his position as a Somerville alderman and began receiving pension benefits from the retirement board of Somerville (“Board”). Buonomo was subsequently elected register of probate of Middlesex County. In 2009, Buonomo was convicted of several offenses, including breaking into a depository and embezzlement by a public officer, which crimes were committed while Buonomo was register of probate. In light of Buonomo’s criminal convictions, the Board voted to forfeit Buonomo’s pension under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 32, 15. The district court reversed the Board’s decision, determining that because the crimes for which Buonomo was convicted did not arise from his work as a Somerville alderman, for which he was receiving the retirement allowance, the Board lacked a basis for revoking Buonomo’s pension. The Supreme Judicial Court reversed, holding (1) there is no requirement in section 15 that the public office to which a board of alderman for the city of Somerville member’s criminal convictions relate be the same as the public office from which that member is receiving a retirement allowance; and (2) because Buonomo violated the laws applicable to a position of public trust, Buonomo forfeited his entitlement to a retirement allowance from the Board.View "Ret. Bd. of Somerville v. Buonomo " on Justia Law