Current Litigation

Below are the current court cases where the City of Dover is a litigant. The Office of the City Attorney provides a monthly update on ongoing litigation matters in the City Manager's Report. Most cases are handled in house. The use of outside counsel to handle specialty matters continues and consists of environmental matters and labor negotiations. There are a small number of attorneys hired on various smaller matters.

City of Dover, Debra Hackett v. Secretary of State for New Hampshire David Scanlan: On April 27, 2022, the City Council directed City Manager J. Michael Joyal, Jr., to pursue legal action regarding the constitutionality of the New Hampshire House redistricting legislation, signed into law earlier this year. 

The Council discussed the law at an April 27, 2022, workshop. House Bill 50 groups Dover's Ward 4 residents into two districts, both combined with other towns. At the workshop, City Attorney Joshua Wyatt discussed whether the state constitution requires the representation of Dover's Ward 4 in the House of Representatives to have at least one district that is not grouped with other towns.

On May 3, 2022, the City of Dover filed a petition with the New Hampshire Supreme Court. Legal filings for the New Hampshire Supreme Court Rule 11 Petition case can be found below:

On July 26, 2022, the City of Dover filed a complaint with the Strafford County Superior Court. In October 2022, the defendants filed a Joint Motion to Dismiss. In November 2022, the plaintiffs filed an objection, to which the defendants filed a reply. Plaintiffs filed a brief surreply memorandum. Case has not yet been scheduled for discovery. A hearing on the motion to dismiss occurred on Friday, May 5, 2023. On June 30, 2023, the court denied the defendants' motion to dismiss. Thereafter, the defendants moved for reconsideration, which the Court denied. In August 2023, the defendants filed an answer to the complaint. In October 2023, with the parties unable to agree on case scheduling, the Court conducted a structuring conference and issued a scheduling order. A deposition of the plaintiffs’ expert occurred in December 2023. Summary judgment briefing on the merits is expected to occur in early 2024. A summary judgment hearing was held on Feb. 7, 2024. In April 2024, the court issued a summary judgment issued in favor of the defendants. The plaintiffs' are appealing the case to New Hampshire Supreme Court.

Legal filings for this superior court action, can be found below. 

Following the superior court's summary judgement ruling in favor of the defendants, the City of Dover and other plaintiffs appealed the decision to the New Hampshire Supreme Court, case number 2024-0259. The legal filings can be found below.

Maloney v. City of Dover: Case is pending with Rockingham Superior Court. In July 2023, the trial court granted the City summary judgment. Plaintiff thereafter filed a motion for reconsideration, which the Court has now denied. Plaintiff filed an appeal, which is currently undergoing scheduling. 

Opioid Epidemic Litigation: Retained services of Robbins Geller of Boca Raton, Florida for fraudulent marketing practices of pharmaceutical manufacturers. Suit filed in USDC in Concord. Case has been transferred to federal court in Ohio as part of a multi-district litigation consolidation. In 2021, the City received its first payment from the State of New Hampshire pursuant to RSA 126-A:83, II, by virtue of an opioid-related settlement entered into by the State of New Hampshire. A national settlement as to certain defendants was accepted in January 2022. Settlements or other payments in satisfaction of City claims may be forthcoming from other defendants, but would be required to be tendered to the State’s Opioid Abatement Trust Fund per RSA 126-
A:83, I. Certain of the City’s opioid claims have become part of bankruptcy proceedings. Following is a list of remaining defendants with a brief note about status of each case:

  • Purdue companies: Claims in bankruptcy; following a Second Circuit appeal ruling, the United States trustee has filed a motion to stay while seeking a writ of certiorari (i.e., acceptance of a discretionary appeal) from the U.S. Supreme Court. The U.S. Supreme Court has now granted certiorari and the appeal is believed to be in the briefing process.
  • Endo companies: Claims in bankruptcy, though understand a potential settlement resolution may be underway.
  • Mallinckrodt: Claims in bankruptcy, but money appears to have been distributed to the State of New Hampshire in January 2023.
  • Sacklers (Individuals): See Purdue update above.
  • Rite-Aid: Possible bankruptcy filing.

Mary Hebbard v. City of Dover, John & Karen Brough and Ryan Colbath: Partial summary judgment rulings received in February 2021. Following trial in 2021, a final trial order was issued by the Court on April 1, 2022, finding in favor of the City on the width of Spruce Lane, the location of Old Garrison Road, several disputed issues of law concerning allowable uses on public roads, and issuing an injunction requiring remedial action. The Hebbards filed a motion for reconsideration, which the Court denied. The case was then appealed by Mr. and Mrs. Hebbard. A new briefing schedule has issued. The Hebbards filed an appeal brief in June 2023. The City is in the process of drafting an opposing brief and substantially completed a draft of same during July 2023. The City and other parties submitted opposing briefs in August 2023. The Hebbards have filed a reply brief, which the City moved to strike portions of and the Court has not yet ruled upon. No appeal decision has been received. Case has still not yet been scheduled for oral argument.

City of Dover v. Mary and Rick Hebbard: Complaint filed in October 2019 concerning drainage in the Tanglewood Subdivision. Partial summary judgment rulings were received in February 2021. Case was tried by City Attorney, Deputy City Attorney, and outside counsel on April 7, 8 and 9 of April 2021. The post-trial briefing was divided into two areas: (1) injunctive relief concerning removal of a berm, and (2) remaining issues, including enforcement of a stipulated Court-Order for an underground drainage system. In May 2021, the Court issued an order granting an injunction and requiring removal of the berm and restoration of surface drainage. In September 2021, the Court issued a final Order on the remaining trial issues, finding the defendants to be in contempt of a prior stipulation and requiring that the defendant’s complete construction of the drainage project within 90 days of receiving additional materials from the City. The drainage system is now believed to be constructed and completed. The Court held an evidentiary hearing on September 9, 2022 relating to damages alleged by the defendants. No decision has issued yet on that damages hearing. The Hebbards have filed other post-hearing items since, to which the City has responded to the extent necessary. The parties are or should be in the process of fulfilling the other obligations of the earlier stipulation they entered into, which includes conveyance of an easement and a mutual release. To summarize, as of end of December 2023, the Hebbards have not yet fulfilled all of their obligations under the earlier stipulation, and the “damages” matter has been briefed and is still awaiting decision, which includes the City’s motion requesting an award attorney’s fees (and/or used to setoff of any “damages” found to be due to Mr. and Mrs. Hebbard).

Barufaldi v. City of Dover: In September 2022, a former employee filed a Charge of Discrimination with the New Hampshire Commission for Human Rights alleging age-based disparate treatment. In October 2022, the respondents filed an answer. The City recently filed a motion to dismiss. The Commission recently granted the motion to dismiss the Complaint with respect to state law (New Hampshire), and transferred the matter/complaint to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) for further administrative agency review under
federal law. The EEOC has recently requested additional records and information from the City, which the City provided to the EEOC in December 2023. The EEOC has not yet rendered any decision on the referred matter. 

Richard Strahan v. William McNamara: Declaratory judgment and injunction action filed in U.S. District Court by a citizen against the University of New Hampshire, the Town of Durham, and the City of Dover. In the Complaint, the plaintiff alleges various claims arising out of a no-trespass order related to UNH Wildcats Transit. Outside counsel is defending this matter and has moved to dismiss the claims asserted by the plaintiff against Chief Breault. The Court denied
the plaintiff’s requests for a preliminary injunction, following the most recent of which the plaintiff filed an interlocutory appeal to the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals. The First Circuit later dismissed the interlocutory appeal. Plaintiff moved to amend to assert claim against presiding judge. The United States District Court for New Hampshire has denied the motion to amend and has granted a motion to dismiss Chief Breault as a party. No appeal has been filed.

Garry Lane et al v. City of Dover et al.: In October 2022, abutters filed an appeal of a decision of the Zoning Board of Adjustment granting an equitable waiver of dimensional requirements. The City and other respondent have filed an answer. The City filed a certified record. The final hearing was held on March 22, 2023 and the appellants and the City each filed a memorandum with the Court. The intervenor filed a post-hearing memorandum and the appellants filed a reply to same. Case is awaiting decision by the Court.

Pamela Leighton et. al. v. City of Dover et al.: In November 2022, representatives of the estates of two decedents filed a tort action in Strafford Superior Court, naming as defendants a former Dover police office and the City of Dover. In December 2022, the City and co-defendant filed answers to the Complaint. Case is now in general discovery.

Tibbett v. City of Dover: The City was notified in January 2023 of an appeal to Superior Court of a subdivision approval in November. In February 2023, the City filed a certified record and answer to the complaint. The City filed a memorandum of law and a hearing on the merits was held on May 1, 2023. By Order dated June 27, 2023, the Superior Court (Howard, J.) affirmed the decision by the Dover Planning Board. A motion for reconsideration was thereafter filed by the party/petitioner who filed the Court appeal, which is still pending.