A former employee of our client, Milton CAT, one of the largest Caterpillar dealers in the United States, sued Milton CAT, its risk manager, and others involved in the former employee’s workers’ compensation claim after it was discovered that the former employee had committed workers’ compensation fraud and Milton CAT reported said fraud to the Insurance Fraud Bureau. The former employee eventually was criminally charged and convicted of workers’ compensation fraud. 

Later, in 2011, the same former employee sued Milton CAT and others. He alleged that the parties had conspired together to set him up to engage in workers’ compensation fraud, and that they then withheld producing the damaging evidence until the day of his hearing before the Department of Industrial Accidents. The suit continued for nearly eight years. The Superior Court dismissed some counts against Milton CAT early in the case, including the c. 93A claims against the company, on the grounds that c. 93A does not apply to employment relationships. 

In 2019, the Middlesex County Superior Court granted summary judgment in favor of Milton CAT on all remaining counts. Former Morrison Mahoney partner Bill Staar, now Chief Legal Officer of Milton CAT, argued the motion for summary judgment on behalf of Milton CAT. The plaintiff subsequently appealed the entry of summary judgment to the Massachusetts Appeals Court. 

On appeal, the plaintiff argued that the Superior Court was incorrect in dismissing the 93A claims and in granting summary judgment in favor of the defendants on breach of contract and intentional infliction of emotional distress claims. The plaintiff also argued that the trial court had abused its discretion in closing discovery in 2019, after the lawsuit had been pending for nearly eight years. The plaintiff claimed that that prohibited him from conducting critical discovery, including the depositions of most parties.

In January 2022, Morrison Mahoney partner Brian Suslak, who took over handling of the case following Bill Staar’s departure from the firm, argued the appeal on behalf of Milton CAT. In March 2022, the Appeals Court affirmed the dismissal of the c. 93A claim and entry of summary judgment on the remaining counts.