John J. Davis 

John J. Davis
(617) 350-0950
(617) 350-7760
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Boston University School of Law, J.D., 1981
Tufts University, B.A., cum laude, 1978
Bar Admissions:
Commonwealth of Massachusetts (1981)
U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts (1982)
United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit (1982)
State of Rhode Island (1992)
United States Supreme Court (2008)
U.S. District Court, District of Rhode Island (2009)
Association Memberships:
  • Massachusetts Bar Association
  • Rhode Island Bar Association
  • Massachusetts Municipal Lawyers Association
  • International Municipal Lawyers Association
  • TAAP (Tufts Alumni Admissions Program)
“That which we obtain too easily, we esteem too lightly.”
- Thomas Paine

John J. Davis is a Partner with Pierce, Davis & Perritano, LLP, and head of the firm's Governmental Liability and Civil Rights Practice Group. His primary practice focuses on the defense of cities, towns and other public employers in suits alleging civil rights violations, discrimination, harassment, negligence and educators' and school board liability. In 1999, Mr. Davis defended the Town of Dartmouth in the landmark school safety case of Brum v. Town of Dartmouth, 428 Mass. 684, where the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that a public school could not be held liable, either in tort or under various civil rights theories, for the unforeseen classroom stabbing death of a sixteen-year old high school student.  In 2008, Mr. Davis represented the Town of Lexington and Lexington school officials in Parker v. Hurley, 514 F. 3d 87 (1st Cir.), cert. den., 555 U.S. 815 (2008), the first case in the country in which a court upheld the right of public school officials to use same-sex teaching materials in the classroom.

During his career, Mr. Davis has successfully defended police officers sued for wrongful death and civil rights violations in connection with fatal shootings, high speed pursuits and suicides by pre-trial detainees, school officials accused of harassment, sexual assault or unlawful discipline of students, and other public officials against allegations of defamation, abuse of process, unlawful license revocation and wrongful termination.

Mr. Davis also has significant litigation and trial experience in the areas of insurance coverage, sexual abuse and molestation, premises liability and negligent security. He frequently appears in all Massachusetts courts, in the United States District Courts and before the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. Mr. Davis is also licensed to practice law in Rhode Island.

Mr. Davis has been practicing in Boston since 1981. In 1998, he joined partners Joel Pierce and Judith Perritano in founding Pierce, Davis & Perritano, LLP.

Recent Publications:Listings:
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV® rating
Reported Decisions:
  • Lakeland Harbor SPE LLC v. Town of Rockland Rent Control Bd., 2010 WL 1223602 (D.Mass.);
  • Doe v. City of Fitchburg, 76 Mass. App. Ct. 1106 (2010);
  • Anderson v. City of Gloucester, 75 Mass. App. Ct. 429, rev. den., 455 Mass. 1105 (2009);
  • Jones v. Maloney, 74 Mass. App. Ct. 745 (2009);
  • Comley v. Town of Rowley, 74 Mass. App. Ct. 1122, rev.den., 455 Mass. 1101 (2009);
  • King v. Rivas, 555 F.3d 14 (1st Cir. 2009);
  • McCarter v. Bi-County Collaborative, Inc., 73 Mass. App. Ct. 1115, rev.den., 453 Mass. 1108 (2009);  
  • Parker v. Hurley, 514 F.3d 87 (1st Cir.), cert. den., 555 U.S. 815 (2008);
  • Martins v. Town of Rockland, 66 Mass. App. Ct. 1118 (2006);
  • LaSota v. Town of Merrimack, 65 Mass. App. Ct. 1110 (2005), rev. den., 446 Mass. 1104 (2006);
  • Abington Transfer Station, LLC v. Board of Health of Abington, 64 Mass. App. Ct. 1111 (2005);
  • Carlson v. Town of Ipswich, 61 Mass. App. Ct. 1112 (2004);
  • Jones v. Town of Sharon, 58 Mass. App. Ct. 1106 (2003);
  • Demers v. Leominster School Department, 263 F. Supp. 2d 195 (D. Mass. 2003);
  • Serrell v. Franklin County, 47 Mass. App. Ct. 400 (1999);
  • Brum v. Town of Dartmouth, 428 Mass. 684 (1999);
  • Brayton v. Monson Public Schools, 950 F. Supp. 33 (D. Mass. 1997);
  • Aubuchon v. Commonwealth, 933 F. Supp. 90 (D. Mass. 1996);
  • Armstrong v. Lamy, 938 F. Supp. 1018 (D. Mass. 1996);
  • Canney v. City of Chelsea, 925 F. Supp. 58 (D. Mass. 1996);
  • Carista v. Berkshire Mutual Ins. Co., 394 Mass. 1009 (1985).
Speaking Engagements:
  • On June 3, 2014, Attorney Davis will speak on "Bullying and Students with Behavioral Issues" at a seminar held at the Sheraton Boston Hotel and hosted by the National Business Institute. The seminar entitled "Disciplining Students with Behavioral Issues" is designed for school administrators, teachers, SPED directors, guidance counselors, school nurses, and attorneys practicing school law.
  • On March 12, 2014, Attorney Davis will speak on "Employment and Labor Law - Hot Topics in the Municipal Field" at the MCLE 12th Annual Municipal Law Conference in Boston. The Conference is being co-sponsored by the Massachusetts Municipal Lawyers Association.
  • On November 20, 2013, Attorney Davis spoke on Chapter 258, the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act, at a MCLE seminar in Boston, Massachusetts. His subject was "Section 10 Immunities."
  • On August 8, 2013, Attorney Davis participated in a half-day municipal law program sponsored by the Massachusetts Municipal Lawyers Association and held at The Publick House, Sturbridge, Massachusetts. His subject was "Wind Turbines: A Case Study."
  • On June 11, 2013, Attorney Davis spoke on “State and Federal Laws Impacting FERPA and PPRA,” at a seminar held in Waltham, Massachusetts and hosted by the National Business Institute. The seminar entitled “Lawfully Managing Student Records Without Violating Privacy Rights” was attended by teachers, school administrators, guidance counselors, school nurses and attorneys practicing school law and civil rights law.
  • On April 16, 2013, Attorney Davis participated as a panelist at the 2013 Mid-Year Seminar of the International Municipal Law Association held at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. His presentation was on “Insurance Coverage for Municipalities and Municipal Officials”.
  • On March 13, 2013, Attorney Davis participated on the “Personnel Law” panel at the MCLE 11th Annual Municipal Law Conference in Boston. The Conference was co-sponsored by the Massachusetts City Solicitors and Town Counsel Association.
  • On January 22, 2013, Attorney Davis spoke on “Inspectors’ Liability” at the 2013 Annual Conference of the New England Plumbing, Gas & Mechanical Inspectors Association held at The CBS Scene at Patriot Place, Foxborough, Massachusetts. Attorney Mark G. Cerel, Town Counsel for the Town of Franklin, joined Attorney Davis in the presentation.
  • On September 28, 2012, Attorney Davis participated as a panelist in the program “Federal Court Practice for the Municipal Lawyer” held at the Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place Hotel in Springfield, Massachusetts, as part of the 2012 Annual Conference hosted by the Massachusetts City Solicitors and Town Counsel Association. Also on the panel were U.S. District Court Magistrate Kenneth Neiman and AAG Bart Hollander.
  • On March 14, 2012, Attorney Davis spoke at the MCLE 10th Annual Municipal Law Conference in Boston. His subject was "First Amendment Retaliation: The Public Employer's Perspective." The Conference was co-sponsored by the Massachusetts City Solicitors and Town Counsel Association.
  • On October 4, 2011 Attorney Davis spoke on "Search & Seizure" at a conference hosted by the National Business Institute in Newton, Massachusetts. Captioned “Student Privacy: The Top Hot Button Legal Issues,” the conference was attended by administrators, counsel and numerous other school officials.
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