United States Court of Appeals Upholds Civil Rights Verdict in Tapalian v. Tusino:
The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit upheld our jury verdict for compensatory and punitive damages as well as attorney fees in this published decision. With the able assistance of appellate counsel we confirmed that we had established all the elements necessary to prove that the Seekonk Superintendent of Public Works violated our client’s civil rights (see trial report below). This quickly became an often-quoted decision in this circuit. Tapalian v. Tusino, 377 F.3d 1.
Boston Jury Finds that Seekonk Public Works Director Violated Plaintiff’s Civil Rights:
The defendant Public Works Director of Seekonk, Massachusetts, was shown to have solicited female “favors” in exchange for favorable treatment. When his requests that our client help him in that way were rejected, he made life difficult for the plaintiff. He made our client do things that no other developer, contractor, or even the Town itself had to do when resurfacing a roadway. A United States District Court jury in Boston found that this constituted a violation of our client’s civil rights. It awarded all of our client’s extra out-of-pocket expenses, plus $150,000 of punitive damages. The trial judge (Saris) added costs and attorney fees. The defendant appealed and there were numerous daily trial reports in the Massachusetts edition of the Providence Journal. Tapalian v. Tusino, No. 00-2389 PBS.
Rhode Island Decisions Limiting Right to Bring Loss of “Sentimental” Elements of Loss of Consortium to Husbands Found Unconstitutional by United States District Court Magistrate:
For years the Rhode Island courts allowed a husband to make claims for the loss of his wife’s “consortium” (her society, companionship, and other things called “sentimental” resulting from injuries suffered in an accident in the cases decided to this point in time). On the other hand, they made no provision that would allow a wife to claim the loss “sentimental” consortium when her husband was injured or killed in an accident. John Reilly argued that this violated equal protection under that federal constitution. Magistrate Hagopian of the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island agreed, finding that sex-based classifications are inherently suspect and holding that “both partners have equal rights, under law, in the marriage relationship and both are entitled to equal protection”. The defense (represented by a distinguished lawyer who later became a Magistrate-Judge of the same court) did not appeal. After the release of Magistrate Hagopian’s memorandum, the Rhode Island General Assembly passed a new law, remedying the situation that had for so long gone unchallenged, giving wives the equal, corresponding right to bring such actions. The decision and memorandum were issued in the matter of Craig and Theresa Dhalquist v. Rapat Corporation, C.A. 79-0505, on September 18, 1981. Copies of this unpublished decision are available from John Reilly & Associates upon request.