Dear Friends and Colleagues,
I hope this letter finds you and your family well, and that you had a pleasant summer.
Over the past six months we have been involved in a number of interesting cases and activities which I thought you might like to know about.
You may recall from our last newsletter that we had recently gone through a twelve-day trial at the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, where I represented a woman whom we strongly believed was terminated because of her age from a country club owned by Paul Fireman, the former CEO of Reebok and one of the wealthiest men in the country. The MCAD Hearing Officer made an award to our client which totaled over $900,000, including $200,000 in damages for emotional distress and interest through the date of the award. We are awaiting decision by the full Commission on the golf club’s appeal and on award of statutory attorneys fees. We feel confident that the well-reasoned 41-page decision and award will be upheld. This case continues to receive attention in the press, as reflected in the attached article that recently appeared in the Boston Business Journal.
I also reported to you earlier this year on a trial for a long-standing client, where the defendant’s automobile insurance company refused to settle the case for any sum, despite the other driver’s admission of liability. I felt it was unconscionable for the company to refuse to settle the case with my client, who is a retired teacher. We brought a Chapter 93A and 176D claim for unfair insurance settlement practices and consumer fraud. After an expedited trial, a Superior Court Judge found in our favor on the c. 93A consumer fraud violation, and will be making a determination as to the award of my client’s statutory right to attorneys fees. (The insurance company settled the accident portion of the case before trial for the full policy limits.) We also brought an arbitration claim against my client’s own insurance carrier for its refusal to pay him further “underinsured motorist” benefits, and received an award from the arbitrator, which has now been paid.
Needless to say, some of our clients have been affected by the recent recession. We represent a property owner who leased a large office/warehouse facility to a well-known New England company. The latter hit on hard times and contracted to sell its assets, which would have had the effect of leaving my client with no one to carry out the tenant’s responsibilities for the property. On short notice I went to Court and obtained a preliminary injunction of $1.25 Million to be paid into the Court Clerk’s office by the tenant as security for its obligations under the lease. We accomplished this in a hard-fought series of pleadings and hearings despite the fact that we were opposed by four large law firms from New York and Boston, arrayed against us. The case was then settled for a combination of cash payment to our client at the asset sale transaction, as well as the acquiring company’s agreement to continue on as tenant at the property through the lease termination date late next year. I guess you might call this turning lemons into lemonade, litigation-style.
We were also asked by clients to assist them in appealing from the granting of zoning variances granted to a developer, which would have changed the character of the neighborhood and quality of life of my clients’ extended family. Although the zoning permits had been denied by the building inspector, that decision was reversed by the city’s Zoning Board of Appeal. We brought an appeal to the Superior Court and raised sufficient issues and points so as to dissuade the developer from continuing in its efforts. Instead, the developer abandoned its permits before even filing an Answer to our Complaint, and the case was successfully resolved in favor of our clients.
Friends of Switzerland and the American Council on Germany have had busy programs this past year. The annual Stratton Prize was awarded by FOSI to Swiss philanthropist and pioneer in medical device technology, Dr. Hansjörg Wyss, in a gala dinner event attended by Hon. Faith Whittlesey, former U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland, and by Switzerland’s Consul in Massachusetts, Pascal Marmier. I attended a function at the Swiss Consulate in Cambridge, Swissnex, on the issue of climate change, at which former Vice President Gore was the keynote speaker. I was also invited to attend a forum on health care policy prior to the passage of our own health care reform act. Present were the former President of Switzerland, Hon. Ruth Dreifuss and her health minister, who had presided over the passage of Switzerland’s insurance-based national health plan.
The speaker program of the American Council on Germany, of which I am Boston Chapter Coordinator, featured Markus Meckel, former member of the Bundestag and one of the leaders of the popular movement which brought down the Berlin Wall almost 21 years ago. Photos from these events are attached. If you are interested in learning more about FOSI or the ACG, please contact me or visit their websites, www.friendsofswitzerland.org and www.acgusa.org.
These last six months have been very interesting and successful both for our clients and our firm. We continue to practice in a wide range of legal areas, including trials and appeals, corporate business and commercial law, real estate issues, employment, discrimination, divorce and university law.
If you have any questions about these cases or about any legal matters where we can be of assistance to you or someone you know, please do not hesitate to call on me.
As always, kindest personal regards.
Above (from left to right): Pascal Marmier, Swiss Consul and Director of Swissnex/Cambridge; Former U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland, Hon. Faith Whittlesey; Stratton Laureate for 2010, Dr. Hansjörg Wyss; and Marc Redlich
Former Vice President Albert Gore with Marc Redlich
Former President of the Swiss Confederation, Ruth Dreifuss with Marc Redlich
Above (from left to right): Former Consul General of Germany, Rolf-Dieter Schnelle; Goethe Institute Director Detlef Gericke-Schönhagen; Consul General of Germany in Boston Friedrich Löhr; former Member of the Bundestag, Markus Meckel; and Marc Redlich.