Our History of Success

Highlights from the News

A Proven History of Success

2007 - Local 2071, International Association of Firefighters vs. Town Of Bellingham & Others.

In 2007 Attorney Barrault led the charge of securing a seminal decision at the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, later reaffirmed in appellate court. This decision established that the 24-hour work shift for firefighters is a mandatory subject of bargaining and that the Massachusetts Joint Labor Management Committee has broad authority to set labor conditions when parties cannot reach an agreement, even if a municipality opposes it.

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2010 - Sergeant Jacqueline Creaven vs. Boston Police Department

In 2010 Attorney Barrault represented a Boston Police Sergeant who had been given a six-month suspension without pay and placed on administrative leave for one year. In an 86-page rebuke, the Arbitrator, Craig E. Overton concluded that the Internal Affairs Division had conducted a shoddy investigation based merely on speculation and that the Sergeant should not have been punished. The Arbitrator went on to rule that none of the 119 charges had any substance and dismissed them all. 

2013 - Woburn Fire IAFF 971 vs. City of Woburn

In 2013 Attorney Barrault secured one of the first Massachusetts Joint Labor Management Committee decisions in decades, awarding the Woburn Fire Union a three-person minimum staffing provision. Well-established national standards demand that fire departments respond to fire scenes with at least three person crews, however the City of Woburn would not take this concern seriously at the negotiating table. The Arbitrator’s decision granted an increase in  per-piece manning and stated emphatically that “this is not a real choice – no firefighter will stand outside a burning building with lives at risk and wait for backup.”

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2013 - Chelsea Firefighters Local 937 vs. City of Chelsea Fire Department

In 2013 Attorney Barrault successfully persuaded an Arbitrator to uphold a past practice in the Chelsea Fire Department of presuming temporary heart problems to be work related. A Massachusetts Superior Court Judge later affirmed the Arbitrator’s ruling. Under Massachusetts law, a heart problem that permanently disables a firefighter or police officer from his or her job is presumed to be work related. By contrast, court-interpreted Massachusetts law also provides that a heart problem that temporarily disables a firefighter or police officer from working is not presumed to be work related. Attorney Barrault was able to establish that the City established a practice of granting injury-on-duty (IOD) leave for absences related to heart events. As such, she persuaded the arbitrator that the City improperly denied IOD status for a heart event that prevented a Fire Lieutenant from working. The Arbitrator ordered the City to make him whole.

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2014 - Sergeant Jacqueline Creaven vs. City of Boston (Police), Ed Davis, and Albert Goslin

Following the 2010 dismissal of all internal affairs charges against the Boston Police Sergeant, Attorney Barrault secured a settlement against the City of Boston’s Police Department as well as Commissioners Edward Davis and Albert Goslin for $350,0000. The suit was filed after Sergeant Creaven was subjected to targeted harassment, a campaign of intimidation, and retaliation for speaking out about “disparate treatment and selective enforcement” of officers accused of BPD infractions.

2015 - Waltham Fire IAFF 866 vs. City of Waltham Fire Department​

In 2015 Attorney Barrault scored another unprecedented decision from the Massachusetts Joint Labor Management Committee awarding a new stipend for public safety employees that she coined a “hazardous duty stipend.” She demonstrated that the hazardous duty stipend was justified for all Waltham FireFighters represented by IAFF Local 866 given their increased call volume and duties, including at Hanscom Airport, and to keep pace with comparable communities. This was the second straight win on behalf of the Waltham Fire Union for Attorney Barrault.

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2017 - Lynn Fire Fighters Local 739 vs. City of Lynn, Judith Flanagan Kennedy

After nearly a year of dangerous “brown-outs” and staffing cuts, Attorney Barrault secured an injunction in the Massachusetts Superior Court for the Lynn Fire Union which ordered the Mayor to ensure that the City met its contractual and statutory obligations for safe staffing of the City Fire Departments. The contract between Local 739 and the City of Lynn requires a certain number of firefighters to be working at all times. This staffing ensures that citizens and firefighters have protection in case of emergency. For decades, the City had honored this contractual commitment to staffing, but Mayor Kennedy unilaterally cut staffing to save money. These cuts reduced the fire equipment available, leaving the Local no choice but to take legal action.

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2017 - Brattleboro VT Fire Union Arbitration Win

In 2017 Attorney Barrault received a seminal interest arbitration decision for the Brattleboro Vermont Fire Union granting them fair raises and benefits while rejecting the Town’s claim that parity amongst police and fire unions is not a determinative fact. This was a victory for all public safety unions statewide.

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2018 - Chelmsford Fire Fighters, Local 1839 and PFFM vs. Town of Chelmsford

In 2018, Attorney Barrault secured a decision from the Massachusetts Joint Labor Management Committee ordering an increase in fire apparatus staffing on behalf of the Chelmsford Firefighters Union. This was the second time Attorney Barrault was able to secure an increase in funding, the first being for the Woburn Firefighters Union in 2013. The neutral arbitrator agreed with Attorney Barrault and the scientific evidence relayed by Boston Deputy Fire Chief Jay Fleming, an expert in fire department staffing, and rejected the Town of Chelmsford’s argument that the Union pursued this measure purely to increase overtime. The Arbitrator directed the Town to incrementally increase staffing, starting with one additional fire fighter on an apparatus at none of the Town’s five fire stations.

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2018 - Wakefield Firefighters Local 1478 and Military Veteran vs. Town of Wakefield

Attorney Barrault won significant financial benefits for a deployed military veteran in 2018 after he was unfairly targeted by the Town. Usually, Union contracts provide that employees earn paid leave benefits, such as personal, sick, and vacation leave, throughout the year. Employees generally continue to earn these benefits even if they are on some form of excused leave, such as injury or military, for all or part of the year, unless the contract or past practice specifies otherwise. Nonetheless, the Town Wakefield effectively punished a firefighter for being deployed to Iraq by cutting his paid leave earned while serving his country. The Arbitrator found that the Wakefield firefighter continued to be an employee of the Town during his deployment and he therefore was entitled to earn full amount of personal, sick, and vacation leave under the contract.

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2019 - Worcester Firefighters, Local 1009 vs. City of Worcester

In 2019, an independent Arbitrator affirmed seniority-based promotion practices for Worcester Massachusetts fire fighters and unions statewide after Attorney Barrault presented that the City of Worcester violated its collective bargaining agreement with Worcester Firefighters, Local 1009 when it failed to provisionally promote the most senior candidate as Deputy Chief. Attorney Barrault earned another victory with Local 1009 when the Arbitrator affirmed her argument that the City is required to promote from a Civil Service list (a list of fewer than three candidates) for promotions within the bargaining unit. The Arbitrator ordered the Fire Chief to make the Grievant whole and pay him as if he had been properly promoted. The Arbitrator also agreed with Local 1009 and Barrault that the City’s obligation  to make promotions from a Civil Service “shortlist” is subject to arbitration. She reaffirmed a prior Arbitrator’s holding that there was a binding past practice of promoting the top-ranked employee on a Civil Service eligibility list when making promotions to positions within the bargaining unit. This Award provides significant clarity and stability to procedures for promotions statewide.

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2019 - Daniel Tulley vs. Mayor James Jajuga and the City of Methuen

In 2019 Attorney Barrault navigated a settlement that resulted in a well-deserved promotion for Methuen City Employee Daniel Tulley after the Mayor and other City Officials violated his rights. The settlement came after a suit was filed in federal court citing that the Mayor withheld the promotion as a retaliatory action in response to a political disagreement with one of Tulley’s family members about union contracts.

2019 - Marc Hayhurst and Brian Summering vs. Boston Fire Department

In 2019 Attorney Barrault convinced the Civil Service Commission to expunge the suspensions of two well-respected veteran Boston firefighters. In his decision, Civil Service Commission Chairman Christopher Bowman cited that the actions of the members were, “both reasonable and consistent with BFD rules and guidelines.” Chairman Bowman went on to chastise the Boston Fire Department, and then-Fire Commissioner Joe Finn, for making them “collateral damage, for what appears to be a strategic move to counter …MCAD complaint against the City” which he stated was “inconsistent with basic merit principles – and good conscience.”

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2021 - Andrew Nardone vs. Mayor Ted Bettencourt, City of Peabody

In 2021 Attorney Barrault contested the promotional process of the Peabody Fire Department to the Civil Service Commission. The Commission ultimately ruled against Peabody Mayor Ted Bettencourt and the City, stating that our client was illegally and unfairly bypassed in favor of two of the Mayor’s longtime friends. The Massachusetts Superior Court affirmed the decision.

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2022 - Fall River Firefighters Association, Local 1314 vs. The City of Fall River

In 2022, Attorney Barrault secured an unprecedented arbitration decision for the Fall River Firefighters Union in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. The decision affirmed that a Public Safety Chief’s authority during a state of emergency does not give him or her the right to override collectively bargained terms and conditions. There has long been a misconception in labor law that a Fire Chief has broad management rights during a state of emergency which grants him or her the authority to override collectively bargained terms and conditions. The Fall River Fire Chief, relying on this misconception, tested the parameters of his authority during the COVID-19 pandemic when he temporarily involuntarily assigned a firefighter to work in the Fall River EMS Department, a different City bargaining unit covered by a different collective bargaining agreement. The Arbitrator found that such assignment violated the contract.

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2022 - Massport Firefighters Local S-2 vs. Massachusetts Port Authority

In 2022, Attorney Barrault convinced an independent Arbitrator to agree with Massport Firefighters Local S-2 and affirm that an employee cannot be disciplined under rules involving the use of marijuana, which is legal in Massachusetts, if those rules are not clearly communicated and understood.

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2022 - Boston Firefighters Local 718 vs. Mayor Michelle Wu, The City Boston

In 2022, Attorney Barrault secured injunctive relief on behalf of Boston firefighters who were facing termination over the vaccine mandate, one of the first in the Nation. Justice Sabita Singh granted an injunction blocking Wu’s administration from enforcing the unfair and illegal COVID-19 vaccination requirement, which Wu announced in December. The policy was a clear violation of collective bargaining and a previously agreed upon labor contract regarding testing and vaccine alternatives.  The ruling effectively barred the Wu administration from taking disciplinary action against any union member who was not yet vaccinated until the collective bargaining process had played out.

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2022 - State Police Association of Massachusetts vs. Massachusetts State Police Department

In 2022, Attorney Barrault was able to successfully obtain an injunction against the Massachusetts State Police, halting the termination of multiple unvaccinated Troopers. In the court’s ruling, Suffolk Superior Judge Christine Roach wrote: “Defendants are enjoined from terminating from employment with the State Police the Seven SPAM Members identified in the Complaint, until further order of the court.”

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2022 - Boston Firefighters Local 718 and the PFFM vs. Civil Service Human Resources Division (HRD)

In November of 2022, Attorney Leah Marie Barrault and the team at Barrault and Associates successfully challenged HRD’s cancellation of the upcoming fire promotional exams on behalf of the Boston Firefighters Union Local 718 and the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts. In the challenge brought against HRD, Civil Service Commissioner Christopher Bowman directed the division to hold the exams by the end of March 2023, ensuring that our clients’ fire departments would be able to have a promotional list allowing them to promote properly and staff their departments.

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2022 - New Bedford Fire Fighters Local 841 vs. City of New Bedford

In 2022, Attorney Leah Marie Barrault on behalf of the members of the New Bedford Firefighters Union Local 841 brought a complaint to the Massachusetts Department of Labor Relations alleging that the City of New Bedford had failed to bargain with the Union before they transferred extremely important bargaining unit work, including responding to fire and other medical emergencies, to other inexperienced City units. The Hearing Officer, in this case, agreed with our clients and ruled favorably, ordering the City to cease and desist the transfers and to restore the prior and safer work environment.

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2022 - Medford Fire Fighters Local 1032 vs. City of Medford

In 2022, Attorney Leah Marie Barrault and the team at Barrault and Associates received a favorable decision during arbitration on behalf of a member who was wrongfully terminated due to his off duty conduct for which his related criminal charges had been dismissed.  In her decision, the Arbitrator found that the member, “was not terminated for just cause,” and that the City failed to prove that he engaged in the alleged off-duty conduct at issue.  The Arbitrator ordered the City to reverse the termination and remove all records of it from the member’s file. Additionally, the Arbitrator ordered the City to make the member whole with all wages he would have been entitled to during his time out of work. 

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2022 - Nashua Firefighters Local 789 vs. City of Nashua

In 2022, Attorney Barrault and the team at Brarrault and Associates on behalf of a member of Local 789 were able to obtain a favorable award at arbitration regarding the unpaid sick time that had been accrued during the firefighter’s career. In the arbitrator’s decision, they found the city had violated the collective bargaining agreement when they refused to compensate our client when he left the department for another position. The city was ordered to pay our client up to 720 hours of unused and accrued sick time. 

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2023 - Framingham Fire Fighters Local 1652 vs. City of Framingham

Attorney Barrault and the team at Barrault and Associates on behalf of the members of Local 1652 successfully obtained a favorable ruling during arbitration for a member who had been paid incorrectly for years by the city. After retiring, the member realized the city’s mistake and our firm was successfully able to obtain an order for the city and the retirement board to make the member whole through back pay and a change to his retirement benefits. 

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2023 - Seekonk Fire Fighters Local 1931 vs. Town of Seekonk

In 2023, Attorney Barrault and the team at Brarrault and Associates, on behalf of a member of IAFF Local 1931, were able to obtain a favorable award at arbitration regarding the reimbursement of costs associated with obtaining a paramedic certification. The arbitrator found that the Town violated the parties’ collective bargaining agreement when it refused reimbursement on the grounds that the firefighter did not obtain his certification within three years from the date of hire as the reason for this delay in certification was an unforeseen circumstance beyond the members control – namely, the COVID-19 pandemic. The Town was ordered to pay over $10,000 to the member to cover the full cost of the certification.  

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2023 - Acton Firefighters Local 1904 vs. Town of Acton

The Arbitrator agreed with the Acton Firefighters Union Local 1904 and Barrault and Associate’s Senior Associate, Nourhene Chtourou, that the Town of Acton was not permitted under the contract to add a written questionnaire to the oral board component of its promotional process. The Arbitrator found that the parties’ collective bargaining agreement outlined a specific procedure for the promotional process, and since it did not mention “written questions,” the Arbitrator concluded that the Town could not include such without the Union’s agreement. This decision is important as more and more municipalities are opting out of the Civil Service system and thus relying upon the promotional process language that it bargains with its public safety unions.  This award confirms that in these instances, a municipality will be restricted to what it got at the bargaining table and prevented from adding new and subjective components without the Union’s authorization.

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2023 - The Professional Firefighters of Salem Local 2892 vs. City of Salem NH

Another Arbitrator has agreed with an IAFF New Hampshire Fire Local, the Professional Firefighters of Salem Local 2892, and the Barrault and Associates team that a firefighter retiring from his or her job is entitled to buy back their accrued time even if s/he is not planning to receive their pension monies immediately. Attorney Hailey Ferguson persuaded the Arbitrator that the Town of Salem had violated the collective bargaining agreement when it refused to accept our client’s retirement notification, changed it to a resignation, and then denied him the benefit of buying back thousands of dollars in accrued benefits that he would otherwise be entitled to get upon retirement. Notably, the Arbitrator states in her final award section that “the Town is the losing party” and must pay our client all the benefits listed under the contract and related to retirement.  

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2023 - Yarmouth Firefighters Local 122 vs. Town of Yarmouth

Yarmouth Firefighters Local 122 and Barrault and Associates Attorney Ally Presskreischer obtained a favorable award at arbitration regarding the payment of the Town’s health plan incentive payments. At the heart of this case are high-deductible insurance plans, an alternative to plans like HMOs, PPOs, and POS’s. High deductible plans work by requiring plan members to incur significant deductible expenses before receiving any benefits under their policy. This higher deductible lowers premiums for the Town and the Union members. High deductible plans are only permissible if employers offer employees health savings (“HSA”) accounts, which are funded by either employee or employer contributions. In this case, the Town unilaterally began prorating its annual HSA contribution, as well as members’ one-time incentive payment for joining the plan in cases where employees were not on their high deductible plan for the full health insurance year. Though the Arbitrator ultimately found that the Union had unknowingly agreed to the Town’s decision to prorate its annual HSA contribution years ago, he went on to agree with Attorney Presskreischer that the one-time incentive payment for employees joining the HSA plan cannot be prorated because doing so would create “even less incentive to make the election [to the HAS plan] desired by the Town.  The Town was thus ordered to make the grievants and similarly situated members whole.

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Every Worker Deserves a Voice

The attorneys at our firm believe the right to organize, to bargain collectively and to withhold one’s labor are fundamental civil rights.  We are dedicated to achieving the best possible results for our client while being mindful of the need to control excessive fees and costs. We offer clients sophisticated yet practical legal advice to avoid unnecessary litigation and achieve best results. When litigation is necessary we undertake it as efficiently as possible with full commitment to our clients success. Fee arrangements are flexible and can be tailored to the particular needs of the client.

The settlements and case results listed on this site are only a sample of cases we have been involved in. Each case is different and the amount or restitution of a potential resolution of your case will vary considerably depending on a substantial amount of factors. Some case results were worked in conjunction with other law firms. Please do not include any confidential or sensitive information in a contact form, text message, or voicemail. The contact form sends information by non-encrypted email, which is not secure. Submitting a contact form, sending a text message, making a phone call, or leaving a voicemail does not create an attorney-client relationship.