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

NPH Wins at Appeals Court for the 2nd time defending Worcester Police Officer

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NPH attorneys have been battling for NEPBA Local 911, the Worcester Police Patrolmen’s Union, and its member Officer David Rawlston, since he was terminated in 2007.  During the past 7 years, NPH attorneys have won 2 arbitrations reinstating him, 2 Superior Court Appeals, and, now, 2 Appeals Court appeals, as well as an application to the Supreme Judicial Court.  After arguing a second appeal before the State Appeals Court, NPH attorney Peter Perroni has added this latest victory to the pile.  Just last week, the Appeals Court ruled in favor of the Union.

Click below to read the Court’s latest decision which, in particular, relates to the City’s second attempt at firing the officer (which was struck down by Arbitrator Roberta Golick.)

Rawlston 2.Appeals Ct Decision

NPH Attorneys Advocate against giving Police Chief Power to Hire and Fire

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Attorney Gary Nolan recently argued publicly, on behalf of the Dracut Police Supervisors and Patrolmen, against a proposal to give the Police Chief the power to hire and fire officers.  In a transition period between Town Managers, the Dracut Police administration proposed that the Police Chief, and not the Town Manager, be the appointing authority for the Police Department.  A similar proposal was made by the Fire Department Chief.  Together with Attorney Paul Hynes, arguing for the Fire Dept. Union, Attorney Nolan advocated strongly in opposition to the proposal. After multiple appearances before the Town’s Board of Selectmen, the proposal was defeated.

See Media Coverage of the Issue by clicking the link below:

Dracut selectmen split on strong chiefs – Lowell Sun Online

Vote keeps Dracut manager’s power intact – Lowell Sun Online

NPH Wins Civil Service Hiring Case on Important Legal Issue

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Attorney Gary Nolan recently won a case at the Massachusetts Civil Service Commission involving an interesting legal issue – particularly, the level of investigation by a City or Town required to bypass a candidate for hire.  After a full hearing, the Commission found that the Town of Maynard’s investigation in this case was inadequate to justify bypassing the police officer candidate.  As a large amount of civil service cases are driven by issues of fact, important in this case was identifying the important legal issues that would play a role in the decision, and providing a pre-hearing legal briefing of the issues to the hearing officer, which enabled the hearing officer to focus in on the issues as the evidence was presented. As a result, the officer candidate prevailed on his appeal, and was placed at the top of Civil Service the list for hire.

To read the decision, which has previously been released publicly by the Commission, click the link below:

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