Articles Posted in Recent News

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On Friday, David Russcol and Rachel Stroup filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging that Tufts University retaliated against their client, a graduate student who blew the whistle on research fraud in her laboratory, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health. As the complaint alleges: “After Dr. Meadows reported this issue to Tufts, she faced severe and ongoing retaliation, including a delay in her progression through her Ph.D. program; interference with her research at the university; and severe damage to her reputation, including false accusations of theft.” The complaint alleges that in retaliating against her for reporting research misconduct related to a federal grant, Tufts violated the False Claims Act (which protects individuals who report on entities defrauding the government), the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act, and various common-law claims including invasion of privacy and defamation. The full complaint can be read here.

Press coverage:

PhD veterinary graduate files $1 million lawsuit against Tufts University because she’s been ‘unable to get a job after reporting her department for faking research and animal abuse’ – Daily Mail

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Zalkind Duncan & Bernstein LLP is proud to announce that Attorneys Norman Zalkind, David Duncan, Inga Bernstein, Elizabeth Lunt, Harvey Silverglate, Ruth O’Meara-Costello, Emma Quinn-Judge, and Monica Shah are listed in the 2020 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. Best Lawyers is the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession and rates attorneys by conducting exhaustive peer-review surveys in which tens of thousands of leading lawyers confidentially evaluate their professional peers. Congratulations to all!

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Attorneys Emma Quinn-Judge and Monica Shah win employment discrimination appeal at the Massachusetts Appeals Court, which reversed the Superior Court’s grant of summary judgment on race discrimination and retaliation claims on behalf of a Treasury employee against the City of Boston. The decision allows the firm’s client to take his failure to promote and retaliation case to trial.  This is one of three race discrimination cases the firm has involving the same department and decision-makers within the City of Boston. The firm previously won a nearly $11 million jury verdict (currently on appeal) on behalf of a second employee in the same department, and has another trial involving a third (former) employee scheduled for next spring.

Read the opinion here: Patrick Bosah vs. City of Boston & another.

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Attorney Melissa Ramos recently won an appeal at the Division of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) representing a client who had been terminated from her job due to the client’s alleged possession of a bottle of hemp-based CBD (cannabidiol) oil at work, which the employer claimed violated their drug-free workplace policy. At the DUA hearing, Attorney Ramos presented evidence that the substance in the client’s possession was not illegal because it was hemp-based. Under the most recent iteration of the Farm Bill, enacted in December 2018, hemp is no longer considered a controlled substance. A lab report provided by the company who manufactured the CBD oil showed that it was derived from hemp and contained no detectable amount of THC (the psychoactive component of cannabis, possession of which remains illegal under federal law notwithstanding its decriminalization under Massachusetts law). Attorney Ramos also presented evidence that the CBD oil could not have been covered by the employer’s drug policy because it was not a prohibited, illegal substance. The appeal hearing officer overturned the initial DUA denial and granted the client unemployment benefits dating back to the date of termination. This case demonstrates how the evolving law around CBD, and marijuana generally, continues to present novel situations for clients and that even when unemployment benefits are initially denied, appeals can be very successful with the right evidence.

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IMG_4572Attorney Zoraida Fernandez received the Pro Bono and Community Service Award from Lawyers for Civil Rights for her work representing Boston Police Department employees who had experienced racial discrimination. Attorney Fernandez was honored at the organization’s annual reception on June 13, 2019.

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On March 25, 2019, Monica Shah presented a session on criminal law and students’ rights at the South Asian Bar Association of Greater Boston’s award-winning “Know Your Rights!” program at the Waltham Public Library.  Through this program, SABA GB empowers South Asian community leaders in Massachusetts on topics ranging from criminal law to employment law, bankruptcy, consumer protection, immigration, and elder care. Learn more about SABA GB and the KYR program here: https://www.sabagb.org/know-your-rights

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Melissa Ramos, an associate at Zalkind Duncan & Bernstein LLP, speaks tonight on a panel hosted by Suffolk Law School’s Women of Color Law Students Association. The panel, titled “Shaping Your Personal Brand,” offers advice to law students on how to develop and promote their professional identities and their work.

https://www.bostonlawyerblog.com/files/2019/03/SULS-WOCLSA-3.26.19-Shaping-a-Personal-Brand__Page_1.jpg

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Monica Shah, a partner at Zalkind Duncan & Bernstein LLP, will be joining the faculty as Chair of the MCLE webcast and on-site program, “Preventing & Handling Sexual Harassment Claims in the #MeToo Era” scheduled for March 19, 2019. The program will focus on providing guidance for attorneys handling sexual harassment cases from initial intake or investigation to verdict or settlement, whether at the MCAD or in court. Attorney Shah has extensive experience working on sexual harassment cases. Read more or register for the program here. 

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