Nutter Files Amicus Brief in Calixto, et al. v. Coughlin, et al. on Behalf of the Greater Boston Chamber of CommercePrint PDF
BOSTON - Chris Lindstrom and Matt Ritchie, partners in Nutter’s Litigation Department, filed an amicus brief on behalf of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce in Calixto, et al. v. Coughlin, et al. that warned against expanding the Massachusetts Wage Act beyond earned wages. According to the brief authors, doing so would create uncertainty for employers and have a detrimental effect on distressed businesses. Nutter Partner Paul Ayoub serves as chairman of the Board of Directors for the Chamber.
“Nutter was pleased to collaborate with the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce in furthering one of its missions to serve as a unified voice for the area business community when there are cases of significant public policy before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court,” said Ayoub.
Calixto, et al. v. Coughlin, et al. arose from a challenge by 200 employees who lost their jobs when their employer, Isis Parenting, shuttered in early 2014. A federal judge entered a $2 million default against the company for violating the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act by failing to provide its employees with 60 days’ notice. In order to collect the judgment, the employees filed a class action against the company’s officers.
In its ruling, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) decided that the Massachusetts Wage Act does not provide an avenue for employees to recover damages awarded for their former employer’s violation of the WARN Act, which the brief supported.
“The Calixto case was particularly important to the Chamber and the business community as the SJC was able to take another step to clarify for Massachusetts employers and their individual officers what falls within the ambit of the Wage Act, and more importantly what does not fall within the reach of the significant penalties of the statute,” said Lindstrom.
Lindstrom pointed out that if the SJC ruled otherwise, it would have opened up new, substantial legal exposure for individuals doing their best to steer struggling companies away from financial ruin.
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