News + Insights from the Legal Team at Zalkind Duncan & Bernstein

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Today ZDB’s Emma Quinn-Judge, Monica Shah, and Ana Muñoz, along with New York law firm, Neufeld Scheck & Brustin, LLP, filed a wrongful conviction and false arrest lawsuit on behalf of Shaun Jenkins against the City of Boston and various Boston police officers. Mr. Jenkins spent nearly two decades wrongly imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. For more details and to follow ZDB through the case, click here.

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Federal lawsuit alleges Boston police hid evidence, paid witnesses in murder case

Attorney Ana Munoz spoke with WBUR about a court order striking down Boston City Council’s new district map. Munoz told Morning Edition “Boston’s a majority minority city, but historically this is not a city that’s had people from minoritized groups be decision makers… how do we figure out how to build a city that looks like our city and reflects the diversity of our city in a way that doesn’t lead to conflict or lawsuits? That’s a really hard problem.” The full segment can be listened to here.

Attorney Naomi Shatz spoke with Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly about a recent federal district court decision allowing a Boston public school student’s Title IX lawsuit against the school district to go forward. Shatz told the paper “even in a case where there is no in-school harassment, this decision indicates that a school could be violating Title IX where they don’t address off-campus sexual assaults between two students.” The full article can be read here.

Attorney Monica Shah spoke to Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly about the risks artificial intelligence may pose in the employment context. “One of my concerns is that companies may use AI as a shield or as a way to [deflect] responsibility for decision-making,” Shah told the paper, adding “[u]ltimately, the decision to take an adverse action against an employee is the responsibility of the company itself.” The full article can be found here:

Attorneys Monica Shah and Tom Miller are now representing Lakshmi Balachandra, a female professor of color at Babson College pursuing a legal lawsuit for gender and race-based discrimination. Balachandra faced financial losses, emotional distress, and reputational harm because of persistent mistreatment as well as administrators’ failure to investigate her concerns. Attorney Shah explained to the Globe that “Today, Babson has done nothing to remedy the discriminatory environment that she’s in and has done really nothing to address her concerns…She feels like she has no choice but to file [suit].” Follow the story and ZDB’s quest to help her find justice here.

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Mass. College Mistreated South Asian Professor, Suit Says

Attorney Naomi R. Shatz spoke to Commonwealth Magazine about the Department of Higher Education’s first report to the legislature on campus sexual assault statistics. In January 2021, Governor Baker signed into law An Act relative to sexual violence on higher education campuses,” which we have previously discussed here. The law requires higher education institutions in Massachusetts to report annual sexual misconduct statistics to the Department of Higher Education, which in turn reports those aggregated statistics to the legislature. For the first reporting year, covering data for 2020, campuses reported a total of 901 sexual misconduct complaints. The data indicates that fewer than one third of these reported cases proceeded through adjudication to a determination of whether the school’s sexual misconduct policy was violated. The article is available here. 

Attorney Naomi R. Shatz spoke to Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly about a recent First Circuit decision in Doe v. Stonehill College, where the First Circuit reversed the district court’s dismissal of a student’s breach of contract claims arising out of a sexual misconduct disciplinary process. The First Circuit held that the student had stated a claim for breach of contract based on various provisions in the school’s policies that had not been followed as the student expected they would. As Attorney Shatz told Massachusetts Lawyer’s Weekly, what is particularly interesting about the decision is that [I]n assessing whether the school provided a fair process, the court really got into the nitty-gritty of how the people investigating and adjudicating the case at the school made their decisions and whether those decisions were reasonable.The article is available here, and Attorney Shatz’s blog post on the case is available here. 

The Baltimore Sun ran a story this week on Title IX complaints brought by six University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) swim team members, one of whom is represented by Zalkind Law. As the story explains, a law firm hired by UMBC recently finished an eighteen-month investigation into the swim team members’ sexual assault and harassment allegations against their former coach. The investigation found that the coach sexually harassed his male players and created a hostile environment by touching their genitals and buttocks, and attempting to kiss them, among other inappropriate behavior. According to the Sun, the Department of Justice is now investigating whether the school violated Title IX in its handling of this situation.

The full story is available here.

Attorney David A. Russcol spoke to Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly about a recent First Circuit decision in Doe v. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where the First Circuit addressed for the first time when a litigant can proceed under a pseudonym. The First Circuit held that courts must look at the totality of the circumstances in deciding whether litigating under a pseudonym is appropriate in a given case. The underlying case was brought by a student who had been found responsible for sexual misconduct at his university, and was arguing that the school’s proceedings that led to that determination were improper. One factor Attorney Russcol identified as weighing in favor of pseudonyms in these types of campus discipline cases is that “the purpose of the proceedings is not to determine the truth of the underlying allegations but merely whether a university followed its established procedures,” making the identify of the litigant less relevant than in other types of cases. The article is available here.

See below for press coverage on the retaliation claim filed by Attorney David A. Russcol against the Town of Williamstown on behalf of a police sergeant who blew the whistle on discrimination, retaliation, and police misconduct. For coverage of the sergeant’s underlying suit, click here.

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