Robert Berluti, a partner at Berluti McLaughlin & Kutchin LLP, practices all aspects of complex civil litigation. He has extensive experience in jury and bench trials of all forms of business and employment disputes including. His accomplishments include securing the largest Massachusetts jury verdict ever recorded in an age discrimination case. His clients include large and small businesses in diverse industries.
Mr. Berluti has tried cases in state and federal courts including the United States Tax Court and has appeared in state and federal trial and appellate courts in Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, and New Hampshire, as well as state and federal administrative agencies, including FINRA and the Internal Revenue Service.
He advises clients in all aspects of business disputes, including between shareholders/partners, valuation (including in divorce actions), derivative actions, individual and class action wage and hour cases, trade secrets, intellectual property, non-compete and non-solicitation agreements, employment law, contract, real estate, and construction disputes. He also represents individuals in serious personal injury cases and investor – broker disputes. He has also defended businesses in personal injury matters such as dram shop cases. He represents families in probate litigation, such as will contests. Mr. Berluti has extensive experience in all forms of alternative dispute resolution, including arbitration and mediation.
Phone: (617) 557-3030
Mobile: (617) 834-3340
Fax: (617) 557-2939
44 School Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02108
- LL.M., Taxation, Boston University Law School, 1982
- M.B.A., Boston University Graduate School of Management, 1988
- J.D., Suffolk University, 1980
- B.A., Tufts, 1977
- New York
- New Hampshire
- United States Tax Court
- United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
- Supreme Court of the United States
Closely Held Business Disputes
- Dispute between two 50% shareholders – secured a preliminary injunction to gain access to corporate information; successfully motions to compel sale of corporate stock through an arbitration procedure set out in the Articles of Organization; preserved the opposition before the Supreme Judicial Court in an interlocutory appeal Vale v. Valchuis 471 Mass. 495 (2015), where the SJC found the Article of Organization provision was an arbitration clause but the shareholder successfully withdrew from the arbitration procedure before the arbitration began; successfully obtained Summary Judgment on claims to force sale on other theories.
- Successfully tried and obtained a judgment in favor of four brother against the oldest brother who contended he was the sole shareholder of a family business after the death of the father. Persuaded the Trial Judge that older brother was not entitled to any of the stock because of a prior transaction several years earlier whereby the brother tendered their stock in a related corporation to the older brother but he never completed nor rejected the transaction, thus tolling the statute of limitations.
- Successfully prosecuted a breach of fiduciary duty claim against a minority shareholder on behalf of the majority shareholders for disclosing confidential information to a competing company.
- Represented majority shareholders against a renegade minority shareholder and successfully negotiated a favorable settlement without ever filing a lawsuit in court.
- Secured a victory in a Probate Court trial representing all siblings against the oldest brother who contended he was the sole owner of a family automotive business after the death of the father. The Trial Judge found the father had never completed his will and the estate must be probated as intestate.
- Successfully represented majority shareholder against a minority shareholder in a bitter family dispute over real estate and other operating businesses by initially securing a favorable settlement and then successfully trying a contempt case when the no contact provisions were violated.
- Successfully tried in arbitration a law firm breakup wherein the older partner sought a disproportionate share of profits and assets from the younger partner.
- Successfully represented majority partners in an arbitration trial of an accounting firm dispute over a written partnership agreement where a withdrawing was seeking excess profits after the partnership agreement was amended by the conduct of the parties.
Employment Contract Disputes
- Obtained a judgment in excess of $2 million for an executive in an arbitration trial over a breach of his employment contract.
- Obtained a settlement of $2 million on behalf of several brokers over a dispute over career harm as a result of misrepresentations in recruiting them to a new employer.
- Obtained a judgment in excess of $600,000 in a FINRA arbitration over a dispute over a breach of contract of an employment contract and the interpretation of compensation system.
Employment Related Disputes
- After winning a jury trial on behalf of four employees negotiated a settlement of over $1 million dollars prior to post-trial motions being heard (technology industry).
- Won a jury trial then successfully defended the victory in the Appeals Court resulting in payment of over $1.9 Million to my client (finance industry).
- Won a jury trial for a long time employee of a large insurance company then preserving the victory before the Appeals Court resulting in payment of over $500,000 (insurance industry).
- Obtained a judgment in excess of $100,000 for a female law enforcement officer in an MCAD trial claiming sexual harassment and discrimination based on gender by a co-worker (law enforcement).
- Defended employer in a sexual harassment claim by an employee was having a consensual relationship with a co-worker then claimed discrimination when the co-worker broke it off to return to his wife (construction industry).
- Defended employer in investigation and then in an MCAD claim of sexual harassment (real estate management industry).
Wage and Hour
- Secured a judgment in a bench trial for over $500,000 against an employer who misclassified a worker as an independent contractor.
- Obtained a settlement of over $1 million for several employees in an employee misclassification case.
- Obtained a settlement of over $800,000 for five employees in an employee misclassification case.
- Secured a defendant’s verdict in representing the employer in a jury trial over an employee/independent contractor misclassification suit (discount furniture industry).
- Defended employer in a class action lawsuit alleging misclassification of independent contractors.
- Secured an $180,000 settlement for a misclassified independent contractor (medical sales industry).
- Secured a jury verdict on behalf of my client who was a correction officer being discriminated against based upon his sexual orientation. The Jury verdict was then preserved on appeal.
- Obtained a settlement of over $400,000 on behalf of a customer in a customer dispute with her financial advisor.
- Obtained a settlement in mediation of over $700,000 in a business dispute on behalf of a consultant and a former employee against former employer who retaliated when the formed their own competing business.
- Obtained a judgment for the defendant in an arbitration claim over a contract warranty dispute.
- Obtained a judgment for the Plaintiff for breach of contract and the covenant of good faith and fair dealing as well as against individual defendants for business torts, including interference with contractual and business relations.
- Obtained a Lis Pendens on the basis of text message acceptance of an offer to purchase and ultimately settling the case permitting our client to purchase a prime Cape Cod residential home.
- Obtained a judgment for the defendant in a dispute over a purchase and sale agreement, where the property owner refused to sign a title insurance affidavit at closing.
- Obtained a judgment for the defendant in Land Court where the abutting property owner claimed there was a constructive or implied easement over the defendant client’s property.
- Obtained a settlement in mediation of $750,000 in a wrongful death.
- Secured a settlement of $260,000 against a third party for a worker who fell from a ladder in an industrial building when climbing onto a roof.
- Secured a plaintiff’s judgment of $260,000 in an arbitration trial on behalf of a pedestrian struck in a cross walk who fractured her wrist then had complications.
- Secured a settlement of $100,000 in a slip and fall case for a plaintiff who suffered an avulsion fracture and torn MCL.
- Secured a settlement of over $120,000 for a femoral fracture in a slip and fall case.
Appellate and Reported Cases
- Parker v. EnerNOC (2020) – established law before the SJC confirming that future commissions not earned because of wrongful termination must be trebled under the Massachusetts Wage and Hour Statute even if not due on the date of termination. The appeal not only preserved the trial court jury award for gender based discrimination and Wage and Hour violations including for lost commissions, emotional distress and punitive damages. On appeal the SJC determined that $350,000 of future commissions must also be trebled.
- Froio Management Group, Inc., et al. v. Bargain Discount Markets, Inc. (2018) – preserved the trial court victory by affirming Summary Judgment finding the client’s option to purchase real estate took precedence over a right of first refusal.
- Vale v. Valchuis et.al. 471 Mass. 495 (2015) – preserved the trial court victory preventing an arbitration to force the sale of stock before the Supreme Judicial Court where the SJC found the Article of Organization provision was an arbitration clause but the shareholder successfully withdrew from the arbitration procedure before the arbitration began.
- MacFadyen v. Maki 70 Mass.App.Ct. 618(2007) – secured a reversal of a trial court decision on granting summary judgment on behalf of a defendant Tree Farm where failure to post a statutory warning allowing the Plaintiff to go to trial.
- Bradley v. Stonecroft Properties et.al. 78 Mass.App.Ct. 1109 (2010) – preserved trial court victory on behalf of Stonecroft in the Land Court.
- Salvi v. Suffolk County Sherriff’s Dept.67 Mass.App.Ct. 596 (2006)- preserved jury verdict in favor of the Plaintiff.
- Ventresco v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Company55 Mass.App.Ct. 201 (2002) – preserved jury verdict for the Plaintiff.
- Harnett v. CSA Financial Corporation 44 Mass.App.Ct. 1101 (1997)- preserving seven figure trial court jury award.
DISTINCTIONS AND SIGNIFICANT MATTERS
- Best Lawyers in America “Ones to Watch” (2023)
- Selected as one of Boston’s Top Rated AV Preeminent Rated™ Lawyers each year from 2000 through 2017
- Massachusetts Super Lawyer in 2005, every year from 2007 through 2022
- Awarded an “AV” rating by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest accolade from a select group of attorneys who have been recognized by their peers for both legal expertise and high ethical standards
- Published in the Massachusetts Law Review
- Past lecturer at New England School of Law (now New England Law)
- Past lecturer in many continuing legal education seminars including at MCLE and Suffolk University Law School on employment and trial topics
MEMBERSHIPS, AFFILIATIONS, AND PERSONAL INTERESTS
- Boston Bar Association
- American and Massachusetts Bar Associations
- Past President Tufts Jumbo Club
- Member Board of Directors Westwood Pop Warner