Significant Civil Litigation
Case Name: Lorraine Civitarese et ux v. Chopsticks Restaurant, et als
Court: Worcester Superior Court, 1991
Judge : Hon. James Donohue
Court : Boston, U.S. District Court, 1991
Judge : Hon. David Mazzone
This was the first complex multi-party civil action that Attorney Cronin handled as a solo practitioner after leaving the District Attorney’s Office in 1990. He served as lead trial counsel and represented the plaintiff in this dram shop action against the bar where she had been drinking the night of her car accident. The plaintiff was a passenger in a vehicle where the operator had a .22 blood alcohol level after leaving Chopsticks Restaurant in Leominster and then racing with another vehicle on Route 2 in Ayer. The plaintiff suffered 17% total body burns and had over $150,000.00 in medical expenses and liens. Attorney Cronin brought suit on her behalf in 1991 in Worcester Superior Court, and the insurer responded by bringing a federal declaratory rights action in U.S. District in Boston, seeking to deny coverage based upon the underlying insurance agency’s misrepresentations to the insurer in the insurance application. Attorney Cronin’s client was named in the federal case as a necessary party, and it was his first appearance as a lawyer in federal court. In lieu of an Answer, Attorney Cronin filed a Motion to Dismiss before Judge David Mazzone on grounds of forum non convenes and pendency of the prior state court action where a remedy could be found. After oral arguments Judge Mazzone allowed the Motion to Dismiss, sending the issue to Superior Court. After two years of litigation the parties reached a seven figure settlement, and the insurance agency had a jury verdict of $2.2 million entered against them for unfair and deceptive practices in the business of insurance, in violation of G.L. c. 176D. The Supreme Judicial Court decision on that aspect of the case is reported at St. Paul Surplus Lines Insurance Company v. Feingold & Feingold Insurance Agency, Inc., 427 Mass. 372 (1999).
Case Name: Ellen Young v. Conway Chevrolet, et als
Court: United States District Court, Boston
Judge : Hon. Edward F. Harrington
Docket No . USDC 1994-10807 EFH
In 1996, Attorney Cronin was lead trial counsel for the plaintiff in a successful civil rights action in federal court. The case was tried to a jury for one week in Boston before Judge Edward Harrington. The jury found for the plaintiff, awarding five figure compensatory and punitive damages. Judge Harrington also awarded attorney fees. It was Attorney Cronin’s first federal jury trial, and his firm received many referrals based upon the publicity in this case. Attorney Cronin thereafter successfully represented two plaintiff female AMTRAK conductors in Boston federal court cases alleging, and one legal secretary in New Hampshire federal court, pro hac vice.
Case Name: B. Bangrazi et ux v. S.G. Johnson Transportation Co and Gail Leonard
Court: Worcester Superior Court
Judge : Hon. John McCann, Hon. Thos. Billings
Docket No . WORC 1998-2426C
Attorney Cronin was lead trial counsel and represented the plaintiff, a nurse rear-ended by a school bus van, and suffering soft tissue injuries and an aggravation of the pre-existing condition of fibromyalgia. She had approximately $12,000.00 in medical expenses and $7,000.00 in lost wages. The case is significant because the defendants offered to settle for $23,000.00 at mediation, after which time, on behalf of the plaintiff, Attorney Cronin amended the complaint to allege a further count for bad faith insurance practices, which count was severed pending the underlying outcome. After a three day trial before Judge John McCann, the jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff in the amount of $125,000.00. After defense motions for new trial or remittitur were denied, the insurance company initially withheld payment pending their demand for release of the 93A/176D claims. When plaintiff amended the complaint again to allege additional violation, the insurance company paid over $160,000.00 ($125,000.00 plus interest), and the bad faith counts were tried jury waived before Judge Billings, who found in favor of the defendants.
Case Name: Philip Curtis v. City of Fitchburg, et als
Court: Worcester Superior Court
Judge : Hon. Peter Agnes
Docket No. WORC 2007-1375A
Defense Attorneys: Gregory Angelini, Michael Ciota
Attorney Cronin represented a disability retiree seeking reinstatement as a firefighter with the City of Fitchburg. This contingent fee case was pending in Worcester Superior Court for 7 years, going once to the Appeals Court and twice before the Single Justice Session of the Supreme Judicial Court. The case was tried for one week in February of 2005, jury waived before Judge Peter Agnes, who found for the defendant city. The case was settled while on appeal. It was a complex case to present against excellent and professional attorneys in opposition. The case was a lesson in perseverance for a client in critical need of help.
Case Name: Jacy Kretas, ppa v. Heidi Leonard and Elm Farm Realty Trust
Court: Middlesex Superior Court, Cambridge
Judge : Hon. Joseph M. Walker, III
Docket No. MICV2005-3906-L2
Attorney Cronin was lead trial counsel for the plaintiff, a six year old boy mauled by two dogs owned by the neighbor of his grandmother, who he was visiting with in Townsend. The case was tried to a Cambridge jury on theories of strict liability against the dog owner, and negligence as against the property owner/landlord where the dogs were kept. A compromise jury verdict entered, finding for the plaintiff and awarding five figure compensatory damages on the strict liability count against the dog owner.
Case Name: Michael E. Cyr v. Webster Pastime Café, Sandra L. Benoit and Opa Taverna, Inc., Reach and Apply Defendant
Court : Worcester Superior
Court Judge : Hon. Francis R. Fecteau
Docket No. 2005-CV-1338A
On April 30, 2007, Attorney Cronin was lead trial counsel for the plaintiff in a four witness Civil Contempt trial heard jury waived by Judge Francis Fecteau in Worcester Superior Court. The underlying case is a civil dram shop action and the Contempt Trial alleged that the defendant bar owner had entered a “Stipulation”, adopted as an Order of the Court, that the $60,000.00 sale proceeds from transfer of their liquor license would be placed as security in a two signature escrow account pending resolution of the underlying dram shop action. The license was then transferred but the proceeds were never escrowed as ordered. The Civil Contempt Trial was held after the Court allowed Plaintiff’s Emergency Ex Parte Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and/or Preliminary Injunction On Short Order and Notice to All Parties. Judge Fecteau held that his previous Escrow Order had not been “clear and unequivocal” upon which to find contempt and ordered that only a portion of the money be held. The underlying dram shop case was settled.
Case Name: Clearlink Financial Services, Inc. v. Stephen Schultz
Court: U. S. District Court, Worcester
Judge : Hon. F. Dennis Saylor, IV
Docket No. 05-40128-FDS
In this federal civil action commenced in 2005, Attorney Cronin was lead trial counsel for the defendant, Stephen Schultz. Schultz had been a shareholder and founder of Kerotec, Inc., a small computer company in Leominster. He sold his shares of stock to Clearlink, a Canadian multi-national corporation, with a personal representation and warranty from Schultz that his prior company owned life insurance policies upon the lives of Schultz and another shareholder with a cash surrender value of $350,000.00. The cash surrender value was an asset which contributed to the book value computation in the sale of the corporation. After the sale was complete, Schultz cashed in the policy and kept the proceeds, to which Clearlink claimed they were entitled, filing a complaint seeking triple damages. Schultz counterclaimed that Clearlink breached their employment agreement and that their due diligence should have revealed that Schultz owned the policy. The case was mediated before Magistrate Judge Timothy Hillman and settled before trial in July of 2007.
Case Name: MMA Consulting Group, Inc. v. Resource Management Associates, Inc., Northeast Association Management, Inc. and Brent A. Wilkes
Court : Suffolk Superior, Business Litigation Section
Judge: Hon. Allen van Gestel
Docket No . SUCV2004-3071
Attorney Cronin was lead trial counsel for the plaintiff corporation seeking declaratory, compensatory and injunctive relief against two out of state corporations and an individual, claiming tortious interference with advantageous business relations, and 5 other civil causes of action. The plaintiff was a municipal consulting firm in Boston who brought suit against the defendants, claiming that their agents made misrepresentations of fact in their marketing proposals, using the goodwill and corporate name of the plaintiff corporation, without permission or compensation, in violation of a prior written agreement. The misconduct ended when the complaint was filed in July of 2004. The parties reached an agreement as to their marketing conduct going forward and the case was settled in March of 2007.
James McMaster v. ChemDesign Industries: (1997) Worcester Superior Court, Lead Counsel for Plaintiff, a burned welder, $500,000.00 settlement in industrial accident, chemical explosion case.
William Alleva v. Viking Motorcrafts, (1999), Worcester Federal Court, Admiralty Personal Injury Case, Lead Counsel for Plaintiff, $250,000.00 settlement in product liability and negligence action, arising out of a boating accident on navigable ocean waters at Cape Cod.
Bruce Rellstab et als. v. John Hancock Life Insurance Company, Charter financial Services, et als, (2004) Worcester Superior Court, Lead Counsel for Plaintiffs, $400,000.00 settlement for unfair insurance practices, tortuous interference with advantageous business relations.
Estate of Rocheleau v. Choice Insurance Agency, Allain, et als, (1998) Worcester Superior Court, Lead Defense Counsel for Insurance Agency sued for fraud, misrepresentation and embezzlement of insurance trust funds, representing successor principal after prior corporate president imprisoned. Successful motion for summary judgment was allowed exonerating individual successor, and then initiated third party action for declaratory judgment as against errors and omissions insurer, who ultimately provided coverage for the $1.3 Million Jury Verdict against the corporation.
Borocsky v. EBK Corp., (1997) Barnstable Superior Court, Lead Counsel for Plaintiffs in Motor Vehicle Personal Injury Action, $350,000.00 settlement.
Estate of Mitchell v. Borowsky (1995) Springfield Superior Court, Represented Estate in Wrongful Death Action alleging negligent security, $100,000.00 settlement.