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.
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.
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."
The Globe reports Boston will go to court to appeal a recent federal ruling dismissing arguments by the city, several elected officials and West Roxbury residents that the West Roxbury pipeline should be stopped.
Less than a month ago, an aide to the mayor was telling West Roxbury residents the pipeline was a done deal and that the city was confining its efforts to begging Algonquin Gas Transmission to hold a meeting to show depictions of its planned gas transfer station at Grove and Centre streets, where gas from the high-pressure pipeline would be fed into National Grid's system.
In September, a federal judge rejected city efforts to force Algonquin and its contractor, Spectra Energy, to at least delay the project over the issue of city permits for digging trenches along Washington and Grove Streets. Spectra has since installed parts of the pipeline under the streets and cleared the site of the proposed transfer station of trees.
The city appeal will be of a Jan. 28 ruling by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that rejected a request by city officials and US Rep. Stephen Walsh, state Rep. Ed Coppinger and state Sen. Michael Rush, several West Roxbury residents, West Roxbury Saves Energy and the Conservation Law Foundation to reconsider its 2015 approval of the pipeline.
The commission rejected their arguments that it had failed to consider that a high-pressure pipeline and transfer station could pose a public-safety risk in a densely populated area, that there wouldn't be a need for the pipeline if local utilities would fix all the leaks in their existing pipes, and that digging a trench for the pipe under Gonzalez Park in Dedham without legislative approval violates the state constitution.
In its rejection, the commission said its staff did too look at safety concerns and found the pipe and station would be safe, that the fact that Algonquin has already signed up both natural-gas producers to pump gas into the pipe and utilities willing to buy it proves there's a need and that even if the utilities fixed all their leaks, that still wouldn't equal the extra capacity the new pipeline will mean.
As for needing the approval of the state legislature, the commission snorted that federal pipeline law was written specifically to preempt local and state jurisdictions.
Boston school officials today formally introduced a proposed budget that would cut central services such as nurses and force high schools to do things like drop AP courses and librarians, but leave elementary schools largely unscathed. And they urged students and parents to lobby the state legislature to help increase state aid.
At a School Committee meeting, Eleanor Laurans, BPS executive director of school finance, said she and her staff estimate BPS will have to cut $30 million from its budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1, despite extra money promised by Mayor Walsh, because school costs - from salaries to CharlieCards for middle and high school students - are increasing even more. The $1.03-billion budget proposal is the largest in BPS history.
Laurans said she and her staff rejected the idea of a single across-the-board percentage cut for all schools to help make up the budget hole.
She said elementary schools simply have less room to cut, because their budgets are already relatively close to minimum "compliance" budgets, that is, budgets that pay for programs that are mandated by the state or federal governments.
In contrast, high schools have numerous programs not mandated by higher levels of government, from guidance services and AP classes to athletics.
Some 30 students, parents and teachers attended the meeting to urge the committee to ask for more money from Mayor Walsh, in a city that is seeing record construction that will bring in new tax revenue - and that feels the need to throw $25 million in tax breaks at General Electric.
Students and teachers from the Boston Community Leadership Academy in Hyde Park in particular warned that the school just would not be the same without all the AP classes it now offers - and with a library that might have to close without a librarian.
Laurans said her staff has found $8 million in "efficiencies" that can be pruned from the budget - including money that would have gone to pay community organizations for providing services in schools and money that will be saved through tighter management of school-bus expenses.
But, she continued, BPS needs to cut another $30 million to balance its budget.
Roughly $20 million would come from slashing services BPS provides centrally to schools; the rest from schools.
Laurans acknowledged BPS now seems to have these deficits to make up every year, and said that this year, administrators will begin looking at cracking the nut of more fundamental changes to save money over the long term - such as changing the system's current school-assignment and transportation policies.
School Committee Chairman Michael O'Neill expressed particular ire that BPS is facing a $1.3-million increase - some 23% - in the cost of the roughly 21,000 CharlieCards it now buys from the MBTA. T officials have said that the cost of passes are not limited by the state law that bars it from raising basic fares by more than 10%.
The proposed budget does include some new programs - including a $4 million allocation to add 200 to 300 new K1 seats.