, Salem, MA

Local News

March 15, 2014

SJC throws out suit over caseworker's death

Stephanie Moulton was murdered by resident of group home


The justices concluded that under the state’s workers’ compensation law, only the state could pursue remedies against an employer and that the board members are immune from liability.

In the decision, the court found that the issue was properly being decided prior to trial, and “the director defendants, acting as Moulton’s employer when adopting or failing to adopt the workplace policies at issue, are immune from suit under the exclusive remedy provision of the act for injuries Moulton sustained while acting within the course of her employment.”

“We conclude also that the directors, as Moulton’s employer, owed no fiduciary duty to their employee, and any corrective action for an alleged breach of their fiduciary duty to North Suffolk must be sought by the Attorney General,” the decision, written by Justice Barbara Lenk, said. “The complaint against the director defendants accordingly must be dismissed.”

Regan, who hadn’t yet read the ruling yesterday morning, declined comment.

The suit also named Chappell, who is indigent and in prison, and the state, but there are limits to the amount the family could seek from the government.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.

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