Business Case Study
The Litigation Department at Rackemann, Sawyer & Brewster handles cases covering the full spectrum of issues confronting business today. Banks and insurers, manufacturers and retailers, hospitals and universities, local, state and federal government agencies, real estate developers and entrepreneurs alike turn to our firm to resolve disputes involving insurance, environmental, real estate, bankruptcy, employment and commercial law. These diverse institutions and individuals have found that our litigators deliver excellent value in trial matters, where costs too often seem to run out of control. With a collegial, team-oriented practice and an investment in leading-edge technology, our firm provides top-quality representation with maximum efficiency – and a commitment to attentive, personal service.
Our Litigation Department handles litigation at all levels in both state and federal courts as well as before federal, state and municipal administrative agencies. Our litigators have handled bench and jury trials in the Superior Court, Land Court, Probate Court, and various District Courts of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as well as the federal district courts of Massachusetts and other states. At the appellate level, we have argued cases before the Supreme Judicial Court and the Appeals Court of Massachusetts, and the First Circuit Court of Appeals and the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.
Disputes are inevitable in any industry and can involve any type of business. Rackemann, Sawyer & Brewster litigators are experienced at representing defendants and plaintiffs in a wide range of commercial controversies, with special focus in these areas:
- Construction: As litigation counsel to a prominent architectural firm, we protect our client’s interests in design, construction and contract disputes, such as matters involving claims under the Americans With Disabilities Act arising from the renovation of an historic hotel in Miami’s South Beach district, and a construction dispute among participants in the redesign and reconstruction of Soldier Field, the home stadium of the NFL’s Chicago Bears.
- Employment: Companies rely on our firm to enforce non-compete agreements and protect their trade secrets. We also defend employers against allegations if discrimination, harassment and wrongful discharge, having handled disputes in federal and state court and before the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. We also represent individual employees in employment disputes, such as a former CEO in employment litigation against a national manufacturer.
- Insurance: We represent policyholders – including contractors, manufacturers and retailers – whose liability insurers have denied coverage for underlying claims and suits, with particular experience in coverage disputes involving environmental contamination. Our lawyers are equally experienced at working on behalf of insurers, in one instance representing a major liability insurer in environmental coverage litigation involving state and federal superfund sites.
- We undertake a wide range of other commercial litigation on behalf our clients, with recent matters that included representation of:
- A hotel owner in a wrongful death suit
- Regional and national banks in litigation with borrowers and other lenders
- A client in securities fraud litigation, in one instance securing a jury verdict of more than $2 million
- A public company facing allegations that its advertising and marketing materials are false and misleading.
Real Estate Litigation
Members of our firm have extensive litigation experience representing clients (from individuals to Fortune 500 companies) who own, buy, sell and develop real estate, in matters that include:
- Defense of permits for residential and commercial development
- Appeals of permit denials
- Disputes over the validity and enforceability of zoning by-laws
- Damages claims based on trespass, nuisance and other property-related torts
- Disputes over offers to purchase, purchase and sale agreements, options and restrictive covenants
- Disputes arising out of commercial leases
- Adverse possession and prescriptive easement claims
- Real estate title disputes
- Regulatory takings claims
Our lawyers represent business and property owners in connection with administrative enforcement proceedings brought by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental
Protection for alleged violations of environmental law. Our environmental litigation practice includes particularly broad experience in insurance coverage lawsuits concerning environmental claims. Members of our firm have participated in cases presenting a number of issues of first impression in this area, which have resulted in significant developments in Massachusetts law.
Family Law Disputes
Our attorneys are experienced in the negotiation, mediation and arbitration of family law matters, so we are often able to resolve a family law dispute without the expense of a trial. If litigation proves to be the most effective strategy, we have the experience and the access to expert witnesses to represent clients in all areas of family law litigation, from emotionally charged child custody disputes to complex property division cases. Divorce proceedings often involve complex custody issues, and we can offer clients the services of an attorney who has been appointed by the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court as Guardian ad litem, Discovery Master and Arbitrator.
With years of practical knowledge in complex family law issues, we can effectively collaborate with expert witnesses in fields ranging from tax and accounting to child psychology, to make sure that each issue is properly analyzed and litigated. In the past several years a member of our firm won three of the most important cases in his area before the Massachusetts Appeals Court and Supreme Judicial Court. Already cited in several Probate and Family Court decisions, the case of Rempelakis vs. Russell, 65 Mass. App. Ct. 557 (2006) set an important precedent in undue influence cases.
Trusts and Estates Litigation
Our litigators frequently handle will contests, lawsuits for or against trustees and executors, and contests regarding reformation of trusts. We also represent trustees in probate court proceedings for resignation and appointment of successor trustees and account allowance proceedings, including working with guardian ad litems and advising trustees on such matters as exercising discretionary distribution powers. One of our directors has served as an expert witness in trust litigation in Massachusetts, Missouri, Tennessee and Wisconsin.