A lawsuit filed last month in state court by four Massachusetts firefighters has been removed to federal court by attorneys retained for the defense by the Massachusetts Interlocal Insurance Agency. The suit was filed on September 2, 2014 by four former members of the Groton Fire Department.
Clarence Jefferson, Stephen Tervo, Benjamin Miele and James Horan claim the department and town officials wrongful terminated them, violated their civil rights, defamed them and caused them emotional distress. The four were reportedly involved in trying to form a union. More on the original suit.
The Massachusetts Interlocal Insurance Agency, who insures the town, retained counsel who promptly took steps to change venue from Middlesex County Superior Court to US District Court in Boston.
As we have seen, removing a case to federal court is a common strategic move by defense counsel when the plaintiffs’ state court complaint includes allegations of federal claims. It works on a number of levels – not the least of which is to unsettle an opponent like a football coach calling a time out just as the opposing team is trying to kick a field goal.