Jason & Fischer

Cases

Bike Cases

Kraus v. Metlife Ins.

Our bicyclist client was struck by a motorist who turned left into his lane of travel, hitting the cyclist and destroying his bike. Metlife, the motorist’s insurer refused to replace the $2,400 bike, claiming the cyclist "should not have been passing on the right" of the cars backed up from the stoplight where its insured was turning. After pointing out that Mass. statute expressly permits bicyclists to the right of cars in the travel lane, we filed suit for unfair settlement practices under the Mass. Consumer Protection statute. When Metlife was ordered by the Court to produce its files, which would have shown its basis for denying the claim, Metlife settled the claim for $7,500, the full cost to replace the bicycle and over $5,000 for attorneys fees accrued to that point.

Daniel v. Zabel

Our bicyclist client was struck by a motorist who turned left into her lane of travel, knocking the bicyclist unconscious. The insurance company denied the claim, saying that since the client was unconscious and could not remember how the accident happened, we could not prove her claim. The case settled for the full amount of the insurance policy after a diligent accident reconstruction was done, working with bicycle expert John Allen. See the reconstruction here.

Graney v. Mass. District Commission (MDC)

This case sought an injunction from the Court, enjoining the MDC, which manages the Southwest Corridor bike path from obstructing or interfering with the bike path. It settled for monetary damages for Mr. Graney, which prevented us from reaching adjudication on our request for injunctive relief.

Rowinsky v Massachusetts State Police

Mr. Fischer was retained by Peter Rowinsky, who was arrested, illegally, for riding his bike on Memorial Drive.  In addition to seeking monetary damages for Mr. Rowinsky’s wrongful arrest, the case sought an injunction against the State Police, enjoining them from interfering with bicyclists legally riding on state roads.

Although we did not win the civil rights claim, we did win an important victory.  In giving his jury instructions, Judge Young told the jury that Mr. Rowinsky had the right to bicycle on Memorial Drive, contrary to what the state police claimed.  However, the jury found that the state trooper did not deliberately and willfully violate Mr. Rowinsky's civil rights when he arrested Mr. Rowinsky.

If you have been stopped or harassed by state police officers for bicycling on state roads or know someone else who has been stopped or harassed, contact Andrew Fischer.

See the stories about this case in the Boston Globe and The Ride magazine.

Comm. v. Scott Jenney

Our client, cyclist Scott Jenney, was acquitted upon when Justic Brant in the Woburn District Court allowed our motion to dismiss eight months after Mr. Jenney was pulled over by Wilmington, Massachusetts police, The police accused Mr. Jenney of ‘erratic behavior’, and charged him with disorderly conduct.  The Middlesex County Assistant District Attorney Michelle argued that Mr. Jenney should be fund guilty of the criminal charge, which could have resulted in a $200 fine and up to six months in jail. Mr. Fischer represented Jenney in this case, which demonstrated the severe need for good bicycle safety education in Massachusetts.

Rowley v Mass. Electric, 438 Mass 798 (2002)

Jason & Fischer filed an Amicus Brief, on behalf of Massbike, in this case brought to stop the extension of a bike path into Williamsburg, Massachusetts.  Read the Amicus Brief.

some Reported Cases Involving Jason & Fischer

Kimmy Brown et al v Bayview Crematorium, 79 Mass. App. Ct. 337

A recovery of over $200,000 for two sisters, whose mother's ashes were mixed up with ashes of another woman by the defendant crematorium.  Andrew Fischer and Andrew Brodie of Jason & Fischer tried the case and then defended the verdict in two separate appeals, establishing the right to claim damages in negligence for the mutilation of a corpse even whenthere is no physical manifestation of the pain and suffering.  To read the Appeals Court opinon, click here

Congregation Kadimah Toras-Moshe v Robert A. Deleo, administrator, 405 Mass. 365, 540 N.E.2d 691 (1989)

Jason & Fischer represented a synagogue attempting to enforce an oral promise by a congregant to give $25,000 to the synagogue upon his death.  The congregant then died intestate and the administrator of the estate claimed the oral promise was not enforceable.

Lima v Jeffrey, 29 Mass.App.Ct. 1106, 559 N.E.2d 1267 (1990)

The result of this case awarded punitive damages in a consumer claim against a home improvement contractor who took advantage of an elderly homeowner, upholding that a “bait and switch” tactic is an unfair business practice.

Smith v Adams, Comm v Adams, 416 Mass. 558, 624 N.E.2d 102 (1993)

This is a civil rights case against thirteen (13) Boston Police Officers, who chase, beat and arrested John Smith. The case was consolidated with a case brought by the Attorney General against the same thirteen (13) defendant officers, which resulted, after trial in the issuance of an injunction barring the defendants from using excessive force or otherwise violating the civil rights of suspects or arrestees.  The case also applied the joint venture principles of Bell v Mazza, in holding that all police officers present where excessive force is used in an unlawful arrest, can be held liable as joint venturers. After the Attorney General’s portion of the case was upheld on appeal, a jury verdict of $300,000 was obtained for Mr. Smith. This was also appealed, but settled during the appeal.

Wyler v Bonnell Ford, 35 Mass.App.Ct. 563, 624 N.E.2d 116 (1994)

This case held that use of criminal process to further a civil claim is not just an abuse of process but also a violation of the consumer protection act.

Cohen v Lindsey, 38 Mass.App.Ct. 1, 644 N.E.2d 250 (1995)

This case remains one of the lead cases in Massachusetts on the issue of attorney’s liens for legal fees. In this case, Mr. Fischer recovered substantive attorneys fees from a third party who owed moneys to his client.

City of Lynn v. Thompson

This is a case where the City of Lynn fired a police officer who twice had broken civilian’s arms in the course of making arrests. Each time the city was sued because the police officer’s excessive force was a violation of the civilian’s constitutional rights. The city tried to fire the officer but officer appealed his discharge. Mr. Fischer authored a “friend of the court” amicus brief on behalf of a number of civil rights groups supporting the efforts of the city to remove the officers who habitually use excessive force or engage in violations of citizen’s rights.

Read Andrew Fischer’s amicus brief for this case.