Psychemedics Corp. v. City of BostonAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the superior court's judgment allowing Psychemedics Corporation's motion for summary judgment on its claim for declaratory relief against the City of Boston on the ground that it had no duty to indemnify the City on a suit brought against the City arising from positive drug hair tests by Psychemedics, holding that Psychemedics was not entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
The City contracted with Psychemedics to conduct hair follicle tests for Boston police department officers to screen for the use of illicit drugs. The contracts included an indemnification clause in which Psychemedics agreed to assume the defense of the City and to hold it harmless from claims arising from wrongful or negligent acts by Psychemedics. When a number of officers, who had been terminated in connection with positive drug hair tests, sued the City, Psychemedics sought declaratory relief asserting that it had no duty to indemnify the City. The trial judge granted summary judgment for Psychemedics, concluding that the City had deprived Psychemedics of the opportunity of assuming the defense. The Supreme Judicial Court reversed, holding that the determination whether Psychemedics did in fact tender a defense that the City rejected should have been left to the trier of fact.