John B. Stewart, Attorney at Law
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Of the firm Murphy & Manitsas, LLP
Springfield, MA
Practice Areas
    > Practice Areas > Appeals

I have handled many appeals for my own cases, and cases of my partners and other lawyers.  A few notable cases where I have written the appeals briefs are as follows: 

In August 2014, I won reversal of an unfavorable judgment, overturning a judge's ruling which was only reviewable for an abuse of discretion.  Exceedingly few trial court discretionary decisions are reversed. 

In December, 2014, I obtained a Remittitur on a case tried by another lawyer where the jury awarded $1.4 million.  I prepared and argued post-trial motions that resulted in the judge issuing a ruling which reduced the damage award by $900,000.  

Over the 8 years the case of Pedraza v. Shell Oil was pending, there were two separate appeals to the First Circuit Court of Appeals, and certiorari proceedings in the U.S. Supreme Court.  The plaintiff suffered from 70 percent loss of lung function due to exposure to a toxic chemical at work, and amount of the chemical permitted to be airborne was regulated by OSHA.  The Chief Judge dismissed the case based on preemption, however the First Circuit vacated the dismissal, holding Congress in enacting OSHA did not intend to eliminate employees' rights to sue third parties.

In Wilcox v. Riverside Park Enterprises , the Supreme Judicial Court vacated a Superior Court ruling, upheld by the Appeals Court, holding a "borrowing statute" - - which provided Massachusetts should apply a shorter statute of limitations of another state - - was inapplicable to a Connecticut resident injured at an amusement park.

In Gibbons v. Nichols [Tenneco], the court vacated a trial court judgment against a motorist who had the right of way when another vehicle pulled into its path. The appellate court agreed the trial judge made an error in finding the defendant motorist liable.
More recently, in Langevin v. Air Liquide, three successive appeals were turned back leaving intact a decision that a truck driver's contracting meningitis did not constitute a compensable industrial injury under the workers' compensation statute. In Case of Langevin, 453 Mass. 1103, 901 N.E.2d 138 (2009); S.C. 73 Mass. App. Ct. 1111, 898 N.E.2d 12 (2008); 21 Mass. Workers' Comp. Rep. 293 (Mass.Dept.Ind.Acc.), 2007 WL 4466730.

I won a reversal of a trial court dismissal in Hougie v. Spiegel16 N.E.3d 526, 2014 WL 4723560, 86 Mass.App.Ct. 1113.  The court was persuaded the trial judge had abused her discretion in dismissing the case.

John B. Stewart, Attorney at Law, Of the firm Murphy & Manitsas, LLP
20 Maple Street, Suite 301, Springfield, MA 01103 • Ph (413) 206-9134 • Fax (413) 733-4403