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

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 theincreased vacation benefits.  The Board disagreed, and adopted almost entirely the arguments advanced by NPH in the hearing and post-hearing briefs.

This is the second so-called “status quo doctrine” case won recently by NPH lawyers.   Significantly, the PELRB in this case relied on the recent NH Supreme Court precedent in the other case won by Attorney’s Perroni and Cooper, Appeal of Strafford County Sheriff’s Office, (No. 2013-506)(November 13, 2014).

NPH is proud to be squarely in the mix in the fight to advance the wages and benefits of law enforcement and union members in general.

To read the decision, click below:

29 Order 2014-277, 12-23-14

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

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. Withhalf the population residing in hallways and bunk beds, and many others living in cells with broken doors, the Officers simply had to do their best to manage an extremely difficult situation. This case involved an inmate attacking another inmate with a large urn of hot water, and causing sever injuries. Turning a blind eye to overcrowding, understaffing and long-recognized past practices observed at all levels of rank within the jail, the Sheriff chose to place all blame for the inmate’s attack on a widely respected Lieutenant. As a result, the officer was demoted two ranks, and a 120-day suspension was levied, together with other discipline. This appeal followed.

After three days of hearing, the Arbitrator ruled that the Sheriff lacked just cause to impose any discipline whatsoever, ruling, “the testimony of all the witnesses in this case, the MSO’s as well as the Union’s, persuasively demonstrated that the overcrowding and understaffing at the jail influenced decision making at every level, and not for the better. On the 18th tier, half the detainees slept in bunks, unprotected and unsecured, without even the minimal privacy of a cell….two officers were responsible for over 100 inmates, several of whom had serious medical or psychological problems…three were diabetics, and eleven were on suicide watch.” He continued, “the deplorable condition of the physical plant of the jail exacerbated the overcrowding and understaffing…there is no doubt that managers and superior officers were frequently on the 18th tier. Common sense tells us that they knew, or should have known, what was openly going on around them.”

In the end, the arbitrator found no just cause to discipline the employee, ruling, “in plain terms, he did nothing wrong.” The employee is to be restored retroactively to his previous rank, and made whole for all lost wages – with interest – as well as seniority and retirement contributions.

Click below to read the full decision:


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

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.

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

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 unilaterallychanging terms and conditions of employment in the period immediately after the Union filed for certification, and during the period when the parties were negotiating their first contract.

New Hampshire’s highest Court concluded unequivocally that the Deputies’ work shifts are mandatory subjects of bargaining that cannot be altered by the Sheriff without first negotiating with the Union. Similarly, the Court ruled that the Sheriff could neither alter the pay rate for outside details nor change the way in which overtime was calculated without first negotiating the change with the Union. The ruling affirmed the Board’s decision ordering the Sheriff to rescind the unlawful changes, and reinstate the benefits previously enjoyed by the employees.

The Court’s decision goes a long way in protecting employee’s rights and benefits during the period following organizing petitions and, significantly, should provide a profound limitation on the right of management to attack existing benefits simply because a group of employees desires to unionize.

The case was litigated by NPH lawyers Peter Perroni and Meghan Cooper. A copy of the decision is available here.


NPH Battling for Lowell Police Lt – Member of NEPBA Local 10

Lowell Sun is closely following our defense of Lt. Siopes in the cell block death case.  A lot of the information and videos of testimony can be viewed online on the Sun’s website.

Click the link below for an article in today’s edition of the newspaper – it reveals a very significant development in the case, and raises some real interesting questions.

NPH Wins Longevity Arbitration for Chelmsford Police Sergeants

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

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

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

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:


NPH Wins Salary Step Arbitration for NH Officers

NPH Attorneys Peter Perroni and Meghan Cooper recently won an important arbitration case affecting several Windham, NH Police Officers. This was the second significant win for the NEPBA Local 213 this Spring. The case involved the crucial issue of salary steps paid to officers after a Contract had expired.  The Town for several years, despite express promises to do so, refused to pay newly hired officers on the Police Union’s Wage Scale following their one-year probationary period. The Arbitrator rejected arguments by the Town and concluded that the officers were entitled to be paid all of the salary steps argued by the Union.  As a result, all officers affected were ordered to be made whole, with interest.  The award resulted in significant back wage payments to several officers.

To read the Arbitrator’s decision in full, click below:

Town of Windham SIGNED

NPH Attorneys win back injured Officer’s Seniority

NPH Attorneys Meghan Cooper and Peter Perroni recently won an arbitration to restore the seniority of a Windham, NH Police Officer, a member of NEPBA Local 213. The officer suffered severe injuries in the line-of-duty, forcing him to go on extended leave. He returned to work after enduring multiple surgeries and extensive rehabilitation, only to find that the Town decided that his seniority date should not include the period of his injured-on-duty leave. After extensive legal arguments by the attorneys, the Arbitrator concluded that the Town’s actions were in violation of the terms of the CBA, and ordered the Officer’s seniority date be fully restored.

To read the Arbitrator’s decision in full, click below: