Serrazina v. Springfield Pub. Schs.

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Justia Opinion Summary

When Plaintiff became the subject of a federal indictment, the school department (Defendant) suspended her without pay from her position as a school adjustment counselor. Ultimately, the indictment was dismissed. Plaintiff sought reinstatement to her position, but Defendant terminated her employment. Plaintiff filed a grievance challenging the termination, and an arbitrator ordered that she be reinstated. Plaintiff then filed an action seeking confirmation of the arbitration award and back pay for the period of her suspension an the period between her termination and reinstatement. The superior court affirmed the arbitration award but granted summary judgment in favor of Defendant with respect to Plaintiff's back pay claims. The appeals court affirmed the denial of back pay with respect to the period between Plaintiff's termination and reinstatement but reversed with respect to the period of her suspension. The Supreme Court affirmed. Remanded.

Maria SERRAZINA vs. SPRINGFIELD PUBLIC SCHOOLS.
SJC-11147.
February 15, 2013.
School and School Committee, Arbitration, Suspension from employment, Termination of employment, Compensation of personnel. Arbitration, School committee, Confirmation of award. Damages, Back pay. Labor, Arbitration.
 
Maurice M. Cahillane (William E. Mahoney with him) for the defendant.
 
Timothy J. Ryan (Henry M. Downey with him) for the plaintiff.
 
RESCRIPT.
 
When the plaintiff, Maria Serrazina, became the subject of a certain Federal indictment, the defendant school department suspended her, without pay under G.L. c. 268A, § 25, from her position as a school adjustment counselor. Thereafter, she entered into a pretrial diversion agreement with Federal authorities, and the indictment ultimately was dismissed. After Serrazina sought reinstatement, the school department terminated her employment pursuant to G.L. c. 71, § 42, and she filed a grievance challenging the termination. An arbitrator ordered that she be reinstated. Serrazina then commenced an action in the Superior Court seeking confirmation of the arbitration award, as well as back pay for the period of her suspension and the period between her termination and reinstatement. A Superior Court judge affirmed the arbitration award reinstating Serrazina, but allowed the school department's motion for summary judgment with respect to her back pay claims. Serrazina appealed, challenging the denial of compensation. The Appeals Court affirmed the denial with respect to the period between her termination and reinstatement, but reversed with respect to the period of her suspension. Serrazina v. Springfield Pub. Schs., 80 Mass.App.Ct. 617 (2011). We granted Serrazina's application for further appellate review.
 
We have considered the parties' arguments and thoroughly reviewed the record. We agree with the result reached by the Appeals Court for substantially the same reasons. The judgment of the Superior Court is reversed insofar as it denies Serrazina back pay for the period of her suspension beginning on August 10, 2004, and ending on October 22, 2007; it is otherwise affirmed. The case is remanded for a calculation consistent with this opinion.
 
So ordered.
 
END OF DOCUMENT