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. On Tuesday, May 3, 2022, the City of Dover filed a petition with the New Hampshire Supreme Court.

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.

Legal filings for this case can be found below:

Maloney v. City of Dover: Case now pending with Rockingham Superior Court; City accepted service. Case is undergoing discovery.

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.

Mary Hebbard v. City of Dover, John & Karen Brough and Ryan Colbath: Served on City of Dover on April 17, 2019. 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 parties have ten days from the notice of decision to seek reconsideration. A reconsideration motion has been filed, which is currently awaiting decision.

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 near completion, though the City is awaiting certification of same from the project engineer. Following the certified completion of construction, it is expected that the parties will proceed with fulfilling the other obligations of the earlier stipulation they entered into, which includes conveyance of an easement and a mutual release. The Court has scheduled an evidentiary hearing to occur in September 2022, concerning post-trial damages alleged by the defendants. The City has moved to dismiss the post-trial assertion of damages.

Stergiou et. al. v. City of Dover: Planning Board appeal filed in August 2020 by certain abutters. The City accepted service in September 2020. This case was dismissed on jurisdictional grounds. An appeal to New Hampshire Supreme Court has been filed by the intervening abutter. The appeal is in the briefing stage. The appellants filed their brief in September 2021. The City has filed a memorandum of law stating its position in the appeal. The plaintiffs before the trial court filed no brief. Oral argument was held in January 2022 before the New Hampshire Supreme Court, after which the case was submitted for decision.

Barufaldi v. City of Dover: A city employee has filed an action in Strafford County Superior Court requesting declaratory judgment concerning the employee’s ability to, and cost of, participation in the New Hampshire Retirement System. The trial court granted the City’s motion to dismiss. The Plaintiff has appealed. Oral argument was held in January 2022 before the New Hampshire Supreme Court, after which the case was submitted for decision.

Estate of Stephen Towne: This is a probate matter concerning administration of estate that includes a bequest to the Dover School District. The City Attorney has filed an appearance and is monitoring the progression of the docket.