John Stewart – Murphy & Manitsas, LLP

20 Maple Street Suite 301
Springfield, MA 01103, United States

Practice/Organization Description

I am a trial lawyer and handle civil cases throughout Massachusetts. I have tried over over 100 cases to a jury verdict. I am experienced in the defense handling of insurance claims in Massachusetts state and federal courts, as well as administrative agencies and appeals.

Significant cases I have defended include:

PRODUCTS LIABILITY. Burgos v. Danly Machine, U.S. District Ct., D.Mass., 17 Verdicts, Settlement and Tactics 361-362, 1997 WL 33345564, Natl. Jury Verdict Rptr. 10:15. Defense verdict for manufacturer of 50 ton power press sued by injured worker struck by metal blanks. Roberge v. Roberge, U.S. District Ct., D.Mass., 1999 WL 33488789, 15 New England Jury Verdict Rptr. 7:C8. Verdict of no defect in defendant's bicycle operated by boy whose jaw was fractured in accident. In DaConceicao v. Tru-Grit, U.S. Dist. Ct., D.Mass. 4/02), a jury returned a verdict of no liability for breach of warranty or negligence against the supplier of a knife-making machine. Summary judgment was granted for the manufacturer in Witte v. Thermold (Worc. Dist. Ct. 7/07) for an injury caused when a shower handle broke.

WRONGFUL TERMINATION. Tuper v. North Adams Ambulance Service, Inc., 428 Mass. 132 (1998). After summary judgment on defamation and tortious interference claims, defense verdict was returned in wrongful termination case. On appeal Mass. Supreme Judicial Court upheld trial ruling that unemployment hearing decision finding employee was discharged without just cause was inadmissible and not binding in later breach of contract suit. Weissman v. Altra Marine Products (U.S. District Court, D.Mass), 1995 WL 1933839, 10 New England Jury Verdict Rptr. 12:6. Favorable verdict against manufacturer sued by representative for breach of agreement, fraud, tortious interference with advantageous relations with customer.

DEFENSE VERDICTS IN REAR-END COLLISIONS. In Rouvellat v. Guarco, 187 F.3d 622 (1st Cir. 1999), a federal jury found a defendant motorist not negligent where plaintiff claimed over $100,000 in medical and wage losses, following refusal of a generous settlement offer at mediation. In Martin v. McKenna, 2005 WL 4397793 (Hampden Super. Ct.), a jury found no negligence despite the admission in evidence that the case was previously tried to a judge who awarded $30,000 and that award was “prima facie” evidence in favor of the plaintiff. Similarly, in Mulvey v. Roy, 2006 WL 4654733 (Hampden Super. Ct.), the jury found no negligence on the part of a motorist who rear-ended another vehicle starting a four-car chain collision.

DEFENSE VERDICTS FOR INSURANCE AGENTS/ERRORS & OMISSIONS. In Capozza v. Johnson, 6 Western Mass. Law Trib. 4, 1 (April 2005), 2005 WL 115548 (Hampden Super. Ct.), a jury found the agency did not err in obtaining insurance coverage on a Mercedes, there was a $1.5 million verdict against the co-defendant motorist. Similarly in Greaves v. K-D Agency, 2006 WL 4654729 (Worc. Dist. Ct. 7/06), a jury returned a verdict of no negligence where an insured had reduced his coverages below his mortagage balance and was underinsured for a fire. In Chenevert v. Remillard, 1999 WL 3348883, following an uninsured theft claim a jury found no negligence, deceit or contract breach in the procurement of a homeowners policy.

SUMMARY JUDGMENT FOR AGENTS/E&O. In both Leger v. INA, 38 Mass. App. Ct. 1102 (1995), and Grey v. Finn, (Franklin Super. Ct. 11/1/00), an agent was granted summary judgment following an uninsured fire loss. In Lata v. Remillard (Norfolk Super. Ct. 10/29/04), summary judgment was granted on a claim an agent failed to procure sufficient underinsured motorist limits. In Sacadura v. Ideal (Springfield Dist. Ct. 7/04), a directed verdict was granted at trial where a homeowner sued his agent to cover an uninsured dog bite loss. Barton v. Armitage, 2010 Mass. Super. LEXIS 17, dismissed the insurer, and later the agent, where a motor carrier for hire had insurance limits below the legally required coverage limit.

Bar Admissions

Massachusetts (1987) US District Court, D.Mass. (1988), US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit (1990).

Education

BS Southern Illinois University,

JD Western New England College School of Law

Professional Associations & Memberships

Association of Defense Trial Attorneys; Massachusetts Defense Lawyers Association; Massachusetts Bar Association; Hampden County Bar Association

Honors and Awards

Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney by National Board of Trial Advocacy

Areas of Practice
  • Appellate Practice
  • Business Torts
  • Construction Law
  • Insurance
  • Litigation
  • Personal Injury
  • Products Liability
  • Professional Malpractice
  • Toxic Torts
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