, Salem, MA

Local News

March 14, 2014

SJC dismisses lawsuit in case of slain social worker


The state's highest court this morning dismissed a lawsuit brought against the board of directors of a group home in Revere where a 25-year-old Peabody caseworker was killed by a resident.

Stephanie Moulton's parents had filed suit against the directors of North Suffolk Mental Health, the private agency that had been contracted by the state to provide residential care for Deshawn Chappell. 

Chappell was convicted last year of first-degree murder in Moulton's January 2011 slaying. 

In a ruling released this morning by the Supreme Judicial Court, 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. 

A Superior Court judge had denied a motion by the directors of North Suffolk to dismiss the suit, but this morning's ruling reverses that. 

In the decision, the court found that the issue was properly being decided prior to trial, and that "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 complaint against the director defendants accordingly must be dismissed."

The suit also named the state and Chappell as defendants. 

For more on this story, see Saturday's Salem News.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News

AP Video
Raw: IDF Footage Said to Show Airstrikes Police: Ferguson More Peaceful Raw: Aftermath of Airstrike in Gaza Raw: Thousands March on Pakistani Parliament Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan Fire Crews Tame Yosemite Fire Raw: Police Weapon Drawn Near Protesters, Media Raw: Deadly Landslides in Japan Raw: Explosions in Gaza As Airstrikes Resume Arrests Witnessed in Ferguson Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape Texas Gov. Perry: Indictment 'a Political Act' US Officials: Video Shows American's Beheading Video Shows Ferguson Cop Months Before Shooting Heavy Rains Flood Arizona Roads US Trying to Verify Video of American's Killing FBI Director Addresses Ferguson Shooting in Utah Raw: Police at Scene of St. Louis Shooting Police: 2 Calif. Boys Planned School Shooting NOLA Police Chief Retires Amid Violent Crimes
Comments Tracker