Simply making a copy of computer files not sufficent grounds for revoking fired worker's severance, court rules

The Supreme Judicial Court today ordered a small Boston software company to pay a fired vice president severance and accumulated vacation time it tried to rescind when it discovered he'd copied company files to an online backup service before he was fired.

Eventmonitor, Inc., initially dismissed Anthony Leness "without cause," which under his contract meant they owed him severance money and the value of unused vacation days. But the company changed that to "with cause," after a forensic examination of laptop showed he'd used his personal credit card to create an account with Carbonite, uploaded all his files to it and then didn't return those files to the company or delete them when he was terminated.

In its ruling, the state's highest court allowed as how that might not have been the brightest thing.

But it agreed with a lower court that his action did not rise to a "material breach" of his employment contract because the company failed to show that the copying had led to any sort of actual damages to the company - the company produced no evidence Leness had given the data to a competitor or used them for his own benefit; that, in fact, it appeared he had done absolutely nothing at all with the files other than copying them to the cloud.

This makes his action fundamentally different than if he had, say, taken, or "defalcated" money from the company, the court said.

The judge found, and the finding is supported by the evidence, that Leness did not misuse or deprive EventMonitor of its proprietary information. Leness merely retained a copy of the information under circumstances that had no impact on EventMonitor's use of its proprietary information, or on the value of that information. If Leness had disclosed or used the information, his actions might have allowed a competitor to offer a similar product without substantial development costs, reduced the standing of the company in the eyes of its clients, or provided a competitor with information about EventMonitor's customers, any one of which possibly could have resulted in a loss of revenue.

The court did give EventMonitor a small victory: It ruled that, based on his contract, Leness could not recover his attorney's fees from the company.

Alleged car thief who sparked massive search under arrest; police say he hid from helicopter in a basement

Somerville Police say they've arrested Terrence Morrison, 21, of Cambridge, on car-theft charges - following yesterday's massive search by Somerville and Cambridge officers and a State Police helicopter, that was sparked when he fled from police and pushed an elderly man in his haste to get away, before finding an open basement door.

Police say State Police nabbed Morrison yesterday afternoon at Winchester Hospital, where he was being treated for a cut hand.

In addition to charges of receiving stolen property, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct from yesterday morning's incident, Morrison also faces 10 warrants from Somerville, Cambridge, Boston, Saugus and Watertown on a variety of charges that car theft, witness intimidation and breaking into a boat in the nighttime.

In a report on his arrest, Somerville Police say two officers dispatched to Bolton Street to check out a possibly stolen car found the car - and Morrison in the driver's seat. The officers recognized him from past encounters. When he spotted them:

Mr. Morrison opened the driver's side front door and took off running down Bolton St towards Oak St. At that time Officer Monaco stopped the cruiser and I jumped out and started chasing Mr. Morrison. While chasing Mr. Morrison I shouted, "Somerville Police stop, don't move," while Mr. Morrison continued to run towards Oak St. Mr. Morrison continued running from Bolton St to Oak St, and then onto Prospect St, through traffic, during rush hour. ...

Mr. Morrison then ran into the driveway of 118 Prospect St and started jumping from yard to yard, attempting to get away. While attempting to get away Mr. Morrison pushed an elderly male in the back yard of 114 Prospect St, while he was getting into his car, (victim left prior to me acquiring his information). After pushing the elderly male, Mr. Morrison went into the back yard or 112 Prospect St.

The officers lost sight of him, but radioed to neighboring Cambridge for help:

While trying to locate Mr. Morrison a perimeter was established with both Somerville and Cambridge police officers. While the perimeter was in place, dispatch was asked to contact another agency to see if there was a K-9 available. The Massachusetts State Police was notified, and two State Police K-9 Officers responded to help with the search of Mr. Morrison. While on scene a Massachusetts State Police helicopter also arrived to help with the search of Mr. Morrison. After searching the backyards between Prospect St and Tremont St, (all in the area where Mr. Morrison was last seen), the K-9 was unable to locate Mr. Morrison.

Police say that Morrison told troopers at the hospital he'd hurt his hand on a brick wall while trying to escape Somerville:

Mr. Morrison also stated that while the search was going on, and the helicopter was looking for him, he was in the basement of a building, with the basement door secured from inside. Mr. Morrison stated that while inside he could see the police and after all the police left he had to boot the door open in order to get out.

Innocent, etc.

Rooming house would make way for new apartment building in Allston's Union Square

Architect's rendering.

A developer has filed plans with the BRA to replace a rooming house on a stretch of North Beacon Street that has "gritty charm" with more modern "quality transit-oriented housing at moderate prices" for young professionals who might otherwise be priced out of the gentrifying area.

Developer Gerry Bickoff, who grew up in the neighborhood and owns Commercial Cleaning Service across the street from the site, is proposing 20 units - three affordable - ranging from studios to one bedrooms in a building that would also replace a garage and a parking lot. He's proposing retail space on the ground floor and 22 parking spaces.

To encourage non-car ownership, he says he will buy incoming residents a one-month CharlieCard, a yearlong ZipCar membership and a half-price Hubway membership, as well as an unspecified number of Uber credits. In his filing, he cites studies that found that, already, more than half of Allston households do not own a car and that "renters are 3.5 times less likely to own a car than a homeowner."

31 N. Beacon St. small-project review request (3.5M PDF).

Henriquez redux?

UPDATE: Henriquez tells WGBH he's still wrestling with the questino of whether to run.

Former state Rep. Carlos Henriquez, who has maintained his innocence on the assault charge that got him sent to jail for six months and expelled from the House of Representatives, yesterday switched the header of his Facebook page to this image (although he's since switched that to another photo).

Henriquez is also asking folks to sign up for what he's calling a "community campaign."

Should Henriquez run again for the 5th Suffolk seat, he'd be going against current state Rep. Evandro Carvalho.

Providence Line service all pokey on account of train that's all smokey

"This can't be good," Stephanie Davis thought when her train, the 808 out of Providence, pulled into Attleboro this morning.

Just a flesh wound, though and she reports the train is now slowly chugging its way north to Boston. Still, accommodations must be made:

They cut power so now we are moving with no lights or air.

As you can see from railaficionado's video, the diesel was not one of the new ones that don't catch on fire:

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