Civil Service Commission’s Residency Decision Upheld by Superior Court

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The 10-mile residency requirement of the Civil Service statute, GL c. 31, Sec. 58, caused much concern over the past year.  In Town of Rockland, the Commission required that the Appointing Authority examine its Fire Department roster to determine whether it was in compliance with the law; the Commission several months later heard evidence and determined that — at the time of the hearing — the Town was in compliance.  The complaining officer Continue reading

NPH Lawyers Win Vacation Benefits Case: Labor Board relies on recent NH Supreme Court precedent in case also won by NPH

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On December 23, 2014, the NH Public Employee Relations Board ruled in favor of the Goffstown Police Union, NEPBA Local 24, in a case litigated by NPH Attorneys Peter Perroni and Meghan Cooper.  The dispute involved the Town’s refusal to pay additional vacation due officers, based on additional years of service; the Town claimed that because the parties were in the hiatus period between contracts, it had no obligation to pay the Continue reading

NPH Attorneys win Serious Discipline Case for Veteran Middlesex Sheriff’s Officer: Case Highlights Challenges of Understaffed Officers in a Severely Overcrowded Jail

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NPH attorneys Gary Nolan and Meghan Cooper won a significant arbitration victory for a 30-year employee of the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office, NEPBA Local 500, in a case that brought sharp focus onto the issue of prison overcrowding, while highlighting the difficulty faced by a consistently shrinking compliment of officers. The Award of the arbitrator, rendered on Christmas Eve, overturned entirely the Sheriff’s heavy-handed discipline of a veteran, well-respected officer with an impeccable record of service.

In 2012, the Cambridge Jail, designed to hold 160 pretrial detainees, had swelled to a population of more than 400; meanwhile, officer staffing had drastically decreased. With Continue reading

NPH Lawyers Win Excessive Force Trial On Behalf of New Hampshire Police Sergeant: Prosecution’s case was based primarily on helmet camera video evidence.

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On December 11, 2014, after a contentious three-day trial in Strafford County Superior Court, Nolan Perroni Harrington, LLP lawyers Peter Perroni and Meghan Cooper successfully obtained a Not Guilty verdict on behalf of a Farmington, NH (NEPBA Local 212) Police Sergeant accused of assault during the arrest of an individual in June 2013. The trial involved so-called “helmet cam” video evidence of the encounter between police and the suspect, who was being taken into custody for a felony reckless conduct charge. After striking the officer with his motor vehicle and then fleeing the scene, the suspect was apprehended outside of his home. During a time of unprecedented scrutiny of police use of force, Attorneys Perroni and Cooper convinced the Court that the force used by the Sergeant was reasonable in the circumstances and necessary to effectuate the arrest of the individual.

Both the New Hampshire Union Leader and Foster Daily Democrat covered the story extensively. Links to coverage are below.

http://www.fosters.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20141212/GJNEWS_01/141219722/0/SEARCH

http://www.fosters.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20141211/GJNEWS_01/141219795/0/SEARCH

http://www.unionleader.com/article/20141211/NEWS03/141219741

http://www.nh1.com/videoplayer/?video_id=1131&categories=

http://www.nh1.com/news/farmington-police-officers-accused-of-assault-during-arrest-found-not-guilty/

NPH Attorney’s Win Important Labor Decision at NH Supreme Court

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After a long legal battle on behalf of NEPBA Local 295, attorneys at Nolan Perroni Harrington have won an important labor decision from New Hampshire’s Supreme Court. Last week, the Court upheld a decision by the Public Employee Labor Relations Board finding that the Strafford County Sheriff wrongfully imposed new work rules on the heels of his Deputies’ petition to unionize. In Appeal of Strafford County Sheriff’s Office, the Court found that the Sheriff had committed various Unfair Labor Practices by unilaterally Continue reading

NPH Wins Longevity Arbitration for Chelmsford Police Sergeants

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NPH Attorney Meghan Cooper won an important arbitration victory for the members of NEPBA Local 20, the Chelmsford Police Sergeants.  Attorney Cooper overcame several challenging provisions in the Collective Bargaining Agreement to demonstrate that the Town had been short-changing the Sergeants when calculating their overtime rate.  The Town did not include longevity pay in the OT calculation, and the arbitrator ordered that, from the date of the grievance forward, the Town increase the overtime calculation to included longevity pay.  In addition, due to evidence and arguments presented by Attorney Cooper relating to the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Arbitrator suggested that the Town may also be failing to include several other required compensation items in its overtime calculation.  Given the evidence and the arbitration decision, those issues may now be addressed at the bargaining table, or in future litigation.

To read the full decision, just click the link below.

Chelmsford Longevity Arbitration

NPH Attorneys Win Roll Call / Discipline Arbitration

NPH Attorneys Gary Nolan and Meghan Cooper recently won a favorable arbitration decision on behalf of the members of NEPBA Local 550, Worcester County’s Corrections Officers.  The case stretched over several days and involved both the suspension of a Union Official and the disputed practice of roll-call arrival time.  After many days of testimony from past and present Jail Officials, Union leaders and both line and management officers, the Arbitrator agreed with the Union, and rescinded the Officer’s suspension.

In addition to this case, within the past year, NPH and NEPBA have been litigating several other matters for Local 550, including cases on Military Leave, and three separate lengthy suspension cases for different officers.  At this point, all such cases have either ended in arbitration victories for the Union, or agreements by the parties to rescind all discipline entirely, and compensating the officers fully.

The Roll Call Arbitration Decision is below.

Microsoft Word – worcester 6-05 PM post ruth.docx

Employees beware – You may have little ability to keep your medical history from your employer

We have written in the past about the fact that work ordered medical exams (i.e. fitness for duty tests) are not confidential meetings between you and your doctor.  That message is sometimes a difficult one to accept, as many people believe that the medical information, and more particularly their medical history, is nobody’s business but their own.  Not so, unfortunately.

The Massachusetts Appeals court issued a decision recently that confirms that: (1) a public Continue reading

Appeals Court Gives Guidance on Resisting Arrest Charge – Police Report Writing Tip

The Massachusetts Appeals Court recently decided Commonwealth v. Soun (June 21, 2012), a case involving a resisting arrest charge.  Although a very common charge, the court decided a particular issue for the first time – specifically, whether an order by the police to “turn around and put your hands on your head” was sufficient for the suspect to know he was under arrest.  In our view, the principle decided here can be used by police to help avoid frivolous complaints by suspects alleging excessive force.

In order to prove resisting arrest, the government must show that under the circumstances, Continue reading

NPH and NEPBA Win Promotional Process / Failure to Bargain Case v. Middlesex Sheriff’s Office

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NPH Attorney Kevin Buck, together with NEPBA Local 500 President Keith Sullivan, recently won an Arbitration Decision challenging the addition of promotional testing criteria for certain operational jobs at the jail.  Below is a link to Arbitrator Sherri Talmadge’s award.

Quick background – the Sheriff wanted to use the most recent promotional examination to advance members to Sgt. and/or Lt. in both non-operational positions and the Continue reading