(November 2, 2010, Boston, MA) - Sheehan Phinney Bass + Green PA attorneys Charles M. Waters and Michael J. Lambert successfully won a $1.53 million jury trial in the Business Litigation Session (Hinkle, J.) of the Superior Court in Boston, Massachusetts, including an award for punitive damages, attorneys fees and costs pursuant to G.L. c. 93A, for the widow of a MA man, Samuel Pietropaolo, in a registered representative/insurance broker fraud case. This case exposed the rampant negligence, fraud and cover-up in the financial services and life insurance industry
In 1998 Defendant Frederick V. McMenimen, a registered representative and life insurance broker negligently caused Samuel Pietropaolo to surrender $500,000 worth of death benefits in life insurance policies at standard rates to obtain similar insurance at McMenimen's new place of employment. When McMenimen could not obtain a similar policy for Pietropaolo from his new employer, instead of advising him to stay with his current $500,000 death benefit policies, McMenimen and his supervisor co-Defendant Barry Armstrong purposefully and surreptitiously placed Pietropaolo into an unsuitable, expensive (approximately 250% more expensive), high-risk $200,000 variable life insurance policy that would lapse in less than two years without positive investment returns. Both McMenimen and Armstrong received significant financial compensation as a result of placing Pietropaolo into the unsuitable policy.
For seven years McMenimen and Armstrong hid their unlawful conduct by refusing to deliver the actual life insurance policy to the Plaintiffs, in violation of the law and their companies' policies. McMenimen actively misrepresented to the Plaintiffs that the policy contained the same $500,000 in death benefits they had previously, and altered and forged various important documents.
Pietropaolo passed away in April, 2005 and is survived by his 73 year-old wife, who is the beneficiary of what was to be his $500,000 life insurance policy.
The Defendants forced Mrs. Pietropaolo into expensive and protracted litigation since July 2004. Following a three-week trial, on July 1, 2009, a jury found in favor of Mrs. Pietropaolo against both Defendants McMenimen and Armstrong. On February 12, 2010, the Court found that one of the Defendants had "blatantly misrepresented the true policy terms," "altered documents," and that his "conscious objective was to commit repeated deceptive act". The Court tripled the damages award as a punitive measure ($900,000), and later awarded to the Plaintiffs over $400,000 in "reasonable" attorneys fees and costs. On October 19, 2010, the Court entered a final judgment. Including interest, the final judgment against the Defendants is over $1.53 million.
Waters has a significant litigation practice, including civil rights violation cases, disputes involving breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, business torts, unfair and deceptive trade practices, trade secrets, non-competition agreements, partnerships and closed corporations, and other commercial disputes. Since 2005, Law and Politics Magazine has named Waters a New England Super Lawyer in the area of business litigation. He has won multiple million dollar trial awards, including one of the largest trial awards ($2.43 million) in Massachusetts in 2006. His trial successes have garnered attention by both local and national media. Waters serves as a panelist for the Massachusetts Bar Association pertaining to litigation and trial issues, and has published article on various litigation topics. Waters is admitted to practice in Massachusetts and the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts and is a member of the Boston and Massachusetts Bar Associations. He has also been admitted pro hac vice in Michigan, New Hampshire and New York.
Lambert represents clients in a wide range of complex commercial litigation matters. He has tried cases involving issues of corporate governance, partnership disputes, trade secrets and restrictive covenants, closely held business disputes, corporate mergers and dissolutions, construction disputes, insurance coverage disputes, and a wide variety of contract disputes. Lambert was recognized by his peers as one New Hampshire's "Rising Stars" in the area of Insurance Law in a 2004 poll conducted by New Hampshire Magazine. He has an active practice in both New Hampshire and Massachusetts, is admitted to state and federal courts in both New Hampshire and Massachusetts, and holds membership in the New Hampshire Trial Lawyers Association, the New Hampshire and Manchester Bar Associations and the Massachusetts Bar Association.
Sheehan Phinney is a full service business law firm representing local, national and international clients with innovative approaches and practical solutions. Founded in 1937, Sheehan Phinney has grown to 63 attorneys with four offices throughout New Hampshire and Massachusetts and is known for professional excellence, practical counsel and commitment to both its clients and the communities it serves. Sheehan Phinney is the exclusive member in New Hampshire of Lex Mundi, the world's leading association of premier independent law firms.