A Selection Of Major Reported Legal Cases:
Commonwealth v. Myers, 356 Mass. 343 (1969) – Murder case
Murder case taken to the Massachusetts Supreme Court when trial counsel did not want to handle appeal.
Commonwealth v. Rodriguez, 370 Mass. 684 (1976)
Murder case tried in Suffolk superior court. An appeal taken on the issue of self-defense. The Supreme Judicial Court established new law as a result. “It appears that we have not previously been asked to decide which party bears the burden of persuasion on the issue of self-defense.” Rodriguez at 687.
Bonitz v. Travelers Ins. Co., 374 Mass. 327 (1978) – Group life case
Represented a claimant on a group life case to establish that the incontestability clause required on the life section applied to the entire policy, including the health insurance section where it was not legally required.
Swartz v. Department of Banking & Ins., 376 Mass. 593, 598 (1978) – Privacy case
Represented an insurance broker and obtained an injunction against the insurance department under the state privacy statute. The superior court dismissed the suit and the Supreme Judicial Court reinstated it.
Allston Fin. Co. v. Hanover Ins. Co., 18 Mass. App. Ct. 96 (1984). – Insurance premium
Represented a premium finance company on the correct way to compute a retrospective premium for return premium purposes. The case was remanded and then settled.
Friedman v. Boston Broadcasters, Inc., 402 Mass. 376 (1988) – Defamation case
Represented Mr. Friedman who was the subject of a television investigative report. The superior court ruled that his libel case failed under the public controversy doctrine. The Supreme Judicial Court reversed this ruling and remanded the case for a jury trial. The case then settled.
Jacobs v. Town Clerk of Arlington, 402 Mass. 824, 829 (1988) – Life Insurance case
Jacobs was a millionaire who jumped bail on child molestation charges. After he was gone seven years his beneficiaries claimed he was dead. The superior court agreed and ordered the represented insurance carrier to pay the claim. The Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the presumption of death was rebutted and reversed the judgment and entered judgment for the insurance company that no benefits were due.
Kelly v. Dimeo, Inc., 31 Mass. App. Ct. 626 (1991) – Indemnity
An advisory jury said that Mr. Kelly had no case. The real jury awarded him $5.8 million. Mr. Gallagher became involved post-verdict and settled the case with $1 million for his carrier. Mr. Gallagher then recovered $1.3 million (with interest) from an indemnitor when its appeal was denied.
Mohr v. Commonwealth, 421 Mass. 147 (1995) – Wrongful adoption case
Mr. Gallagher was a special assistant attorney general (pro bono) on this case. The superior court trial lasted two weeks. The jury came in with a verdict of $3.8 million. Mr. Gallagher’s motion to reduce the verdict to $200,000 was allowed. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed. Mr. Gallagher acted as the state’s spokesperson on the articles that appeared in the local press and the Wall Street Journal. He also appeared for the state on local TV and then on the CBS Evening News when it did a special on wrongful adoption cases across the country.
Mitchell v. Stop & Shop, 41 Mass. App. Ct. 521 (1996) – Indemnity
Represented Continental Baking when it appealed a judgment against it that Stop & Shop had obtained. The Appeals Court reversed and Continental then recovered $440,000 from Stop & Shop for the loss.
Sciaba Const. Co. v. Frank Bean, Inc. 43 Mass. App. Ct. 66 (1997) – Indemnity
Represented a contractor on an indemnity claim arising out of the standard City of Boston construction contract and its interpretation. The Appeals Court denied my appeal.
Minh Tu v. Mut. Life of N.Y. 136 F.3d 77 (1998, 1st. Cir.) Life insurance case
Mr. Gallagher took over a case of a life insurance beneficiary whose wife had disappeared and supposedly had been murdered in Cambodia while on a business trip to the Vietnamese-Cambodian border. He did an extensive investigation in Vietnam and Cambodia using investigators and former United Nations Peacekeepers assigned to Cambodia. Mr. Gallagher never could get any hard evidence as to her death to disprove the allegations of the insurance companies that she had not died. The companies were granted summary judgment and the First Circuit affirmed.
O’Brien v. Hanover Ins. Co., 427 Mass. 194 (1998) – Arbitration claim case
Represented Hanover Insurance on its arbitration against its former president. When the claim for arbitration was stayed by the superior court, Mr. Gallagher took an appeal to the Supreme Judicial Court. The Supreme Court reversed the superior court order.
Hanover Ins. Co. v. Sutton, 46 Mass. App. Ct. 153 (1999) – Breach of fiduciary duty
Represented Hanover on a breach of fiduciary duty claim against a former officer. Once filed, the case was put on a rocket docket and Mr. Gallagher’s firm had to conduct 30 depositions around the country in 28 days. The jury trial lasted two weeks and the jury came back against Hanover. The judge then entered judgment for The Hanover as a matter of law on the fiduciary duty claim. The Appeals Court affirmed the judge’s reversal but then granted a new trial on the remaining major claims that Hanover lost. The case subsequently settled.
Heinrich v. Sweet, 62 F.Supp.2d. 282 (2000) Price-Anderson Act (nuclear incident)
The MIT Nuclear Reactor was the site of Boron Neutron Capture Therapy (a nuclear reaction is induced in boron injected into the brain by bombarding the exposed brain with neutron radiation) in the 1960’s, to treat brain cancer. The suit alleged wrongful death, conspiracy and negligence against the doctor, Mass. General Hospital and MIT, involving the deaths of 18 patients. The case had been pending since September 1995. In June, 1999, Mr. Gallagher was asked to take over MIT’s defense of the case. The case had just been scheduled for a September 8th trial date on two of the death claims and no discovery had been conducted. Mr. Gallagher represented MIT on a four-week jury trial. The jury deliberated for another week and then found Mass. General and the doctor liable for $8,000,000. The jury, however, found that MIT was not liable. MIT was not joined in two new suits that were filed after the jury verdicts.
Nestor, Inc. v. HNC Corporation, USDC of Rhode Island (2001) – Patent infringement and Antitrust
Nestor retained Mr. Gallagher after its law firm suddenly withdrew because of a putative conflict. The suit involved a business methods patent for the use of neural networks in credit card fraud detection. Mr. Gallagher took over the case in December 1999, and began a prior art search using personnel from my firm’s public records group. As information of prior art was uncovered, He furnished it to the other side voluntarily. In July, 2000, HNC unilaterally granted a Nestor a covenant not to sue on its patent and filed a motion to dismiss its infringement counterclaims. The remaining parts of the case were recently settled, under a confidentiality agreement after the Rhode Island District Court accepted the covenant not to sue as resolving the patent issues.
Davis v. Allstate Ins. Co., 434 Mass. 174, 187 (2001) – Insurance Coverage
Mr. Gallagher’s firm represented an elderly gentleman who was injured by an Allstate insured while crossing the street. Allstate offered its $25,000 limit but it was not accepted. When another lawyer in the firm tried the case the jury awarded approximately $260,000. Allstate appealled to the appeals court and lost on liability. Mr. Gallagher then entered the case and demanded that Allstate pay the post-judgment interest that had accured during the appeal on the judgment. Allstate claimed that its offer absolved them of liability. The Superior Court agreed and dismissed the case. Mr. Gallagher appealed and was granted direct appellate review by the Supreme Judicial Court. Allstate was ordered to pay the original post-judgment intererst and the additional interest for this suit. The ultimate settlement on the $25,000 policy was approximately $475,000.
The St. Paul Companies v. TIG Premier Ins. Co. 58 Mass. App. Ct. 650 (2003) – Insurance cancellation
Represented The St. Paul Companies on an attempt to reinstate a cancelled workmen’s compensation policy. The cancellation had resulted in St. Paul becoming liable for a large workmen’s compensation claim of its insured’s subcontractor. The Appeals Court denied Mr. Gallagher’s appeal.
Hanover Ins. Co. v. Comm. of Insurance 443 Mass. 47 (2004) – Administrative Agency Jurisdiction
This was a regulatory appeal arising out of a administrative complaint relating to a still-pending $20,000,000 lawsuit between two insurance companies. The Commissioner of Insurance had refused to hear the matter because she claimed that she did not have the authority under the special statute involved. The Supreme Judicial Court took the case and the Commissioner of Insurance admitted at oral argument that she did have jurisdiction. The court did rule that notwithstanding her admitting she had jurisdiction she did not have to hear the case as as a matter of discretion.
City Fuel Corp. v. National Fire Ins. Co. 446 Mass. 638 (2006) – Insurance Coverage
Represented a fuel oil dealer that had a vehicle that it had parked overnight leak heating oil as the result of the fuel line freezing and rupturing. The insurance company denied coverage under a pollution exclusion relating to “storage.” The Superior Court ruled in favor of the company. Mr. Gallagher appealed and the Supreme Judicial Court granted our application for direct appellate review. The Supreme Judicial Court reversed the judgment and ruled that the exclusion did not apply and the insurance company owed the policyholder the hazardous waste clean up cost.