Our Attorneys

John J. Cloherty III Attorney Photo

John J. Cloherty III


John J. Cloherty III is a Partner at Pierce Davis & Perritano LLP.

His practice is focused on litigation and trial advocacy in defense of individuals, corporations, and governmental subdivisions and agencies in federal court and in the state courts in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Mr. Cloherty represents public and private employers in defense of charges of discrimination before the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. He is also a frequent lecturer for Continuing Legal Education seminars for fellow lawyers as well as for client seminars.

Mr. Cloherty has represented numerous individuals, corporations, municipalities, schools and school districts, and other governmental agencies in defense of negligence, motor vehicle torts, products liability, premises liability, negligent security, medical malpractice, civil rights, discrimination, zoning and licensing disputes, and intentional tort claims. He has represented individuals and public employers under the Civil Rights laws of the United States and Massachusetts and Rhode Island, as well as the state and federal anti-discrimination laws. His trial experience includes diverse cases such as First Amendment claims, police misconduct, motor vehicle torts, breach of contract claims, property nuisance, accounting malpractice, and employment discrimination.

Mr. Cloherty also has experience representing individual property owners and municipalities in claims brought under the Federal Telecommunications Act (TCA) concerning the permitting, site selection, and construction of cellular communications towers. Mr. Cloherty has defended product manufacturers in claims of liability alleging defective construction equipment and truck campers. Mr. Cloherty has an active practice representing elevator maintenance and installation companies in personal injury lawsuits. He has also represented higher education institutions in tort, contract, and employment claims.

Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Cloherty served as an Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of Boston for three years. He also garnered substantial trial experience in criminal law while serving as a Rhode Island State Assistant Public Defender for two years. Attorney Cloherty began his legal career as a law clerk for the Honorable Donald F. Shea of the Rhode Island Supreme Court.

Prior to law school, Mr. Cloherty gained business experience as a Trust Accountant at a large Boston bank. He also served as an officer in the U.S. Army, obtaining the rank of Captain and achieving distinctions of Airborne and Ranger qualifications.

AV 2018

Representative Matters

  • Gutwill v. City of Framingham, 995 F.3d 6 (1st Cir. 2021) (affirming summary judgment in employment retaliation lawsuit alleging violation of First Amendment and Massachusetts Whistleblower Act)
  • Stuart v. City of Framingham, 989 F.3d 29 (1st Cir. 2021) (affirming summary judgment in wrongful termination lawsuit by Police officer alleging violation of First Amendment and Massachusetts Whistleblower Act)
  • Zani v. Town of Ashland, 98 Mass. App. Ct. 1108, 152 N.E.3d 1156 (2020) (affirming allowance of defendants’ motion to enforce a settlement agreement) (table case)
  • MSP Recovery Claims, Series LLC v. Plymouth Rock Assurance Corp., Inc., 404 F. Supp. 3d 470 (D. Mass. 2019) (dismissing class action claims under Medicare Secondary Payer Act due to overbroad designation without temporal time limitation and class definition sought to create an impermissible fail-safe class)
  • DiSano v. Argonaut Ins. Co., 178 A.3d 982 (R.I. 2018) (affirming arbitration award in favor of employer’s insurer on employee’s claim for underinsured motorist benefits)
  • Lief-Socolow v. Plymouth Rock Assurance Corp., 93 Mass. App. Ct. 1104, 103 N.E.3d 768 (2018) (reversing bad faith settlement practices judgment and ordering judgment in favor of Defendant insurer) (table case)
  • Chadwick v. Duxbury Pub. Sch., 475 Mass. 645, 59 N.E.3d 1143 (2016) (refusing to recognize union member-union privilege and ordering Plaintiff teacher to disclose requested communications to defendant School in employment retaliation case)
  • Morgan v. Town of Lexington, MA, 823 F.3d 737 (1st Cir. 2016) (affirming dismissal of Due Process and Title IX claims arising from alleged failure to prevent student bullying)
  • Moore v. Town of Billerica, 83 Mass. App. Ct. 729, 989 N.E.2d 540 (2013) (affirming summary judgment because Town had governmental immunity from liability for injuries suffered by child hit by baseball while visiting town park)
  • Dinitto v. Pepperell, 77 Mass. App. Ct. 247, 929 N.E.2d 979 (2010) (affirming dismissal of motorcyclists’ personal injury claim because vegetation causing accident was a defect in or upon a way within the meaning of the highway defect statute)
  • Ciampi v Westerly, 598 F.Supp.2d 257 (Dist. R.I. 2009) (granting summary judgment, in part, on § 1983 procedural and substantive due process claims arising from storm water drainage onto plaintiff’s residential property)
  • Assoc. of Comm. Org. Reform Now v. East Greenwich, 453 F. Supp. 2d 394, (D. Mass. 2006) Aff’d, 239 Fed. Appx. 612 (1st Cir. 2007) (holding advocacy group was not entitled to preliminary injunction preventing town from requiring a permit and setting time limits on door-to-door solicitation of money based on insufficient evidence of First Amendment violation)
  • McNiff v. Dracut, 433 F. Supp. 2d 145 (D. Mass. 2006) (granting summary judgment in disability discrimination case because police captain’s successful cancer treatment which was not fully disclosed to employer did not substantially limit major life activity of working and was not a “disability” under ADA)
  • Doe v. East Greenwich Sch. Dept., 899 A.2d 1258 (R.I. 2006) (affirming dismissal under Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) because Parents were not excused from exhausting administrative remedies)
  • Lacava v. Lucander, 791 N.E.2d 358 (Mass. App. Ct. 2003) (holding prisoner was not denied equal protection by Town’s refusal grant burial plot in same Town cemetery where prisoner’s murder victim wife was buried).
  • Mullin v. Town of Fairhaven, 284 F.3d 31 (1st Cir. 2002) (affirming directed verdict for Town in First Amendment claims by Conservation Commissioners removed from office due to unlawful change in chairmanship of commission mid-term)
  • Collins v. Nuzzo, 244 F.3d 246 (1st Cir. 2001) (affirming summary judgment in civil rights claims brought by used car dealer denied renewal of license and holding one member’s alleged retaliatory motive is not imputed to a legislative body for § 1983 liability)
  • Rogan v. Menino, 175 F.3d 75 (1st Cir. 1999) (reversing district court grant of summary judgment at final pretrial conference where judge did not provide plaintiff with adequate notice).
  • Standifird v. Town of Boxborough, 84 F. Supp.2d 213 (D. Mass. 2000); aff’d 230 F.3d 1347 (1st Cir. 2000) (granting summary judgment because police officer had probable cause to stop motorist, and 45-minute traffic stop did not exceed a permissible length of detention under the Fourth Amendment)



  • August 2021 – Obtained defense verdict in federal civil rights jury trial alleging Fourth Amendment violations during arrest of Plaintiff for probation violation
  • January 2020 – Obtained Arbitration award of $750,000.00 on behalf of insurance company in breach of contract/indemnification action against insurance agent
  • May 2019 – Obtained settlement payments totaling $1,750,000.00 on behalf of estate of elderly passenger killed in motor vehicle accident
  • August 2015 – Obtained settlement payment of £286,786.16 (equivalent to $448,246.77 at contemporary exchange rate) on behalf of London Biopharmaceutical Executive in breach of employment contract claim against start-up Biotechnology Company


Awards & Honors

  • Martindale-Hubbell National Law Directory, AV® Preeminent Peer Review Rating
  • Selected to Massachusetts Super Lawyers List, 2016-2021
  • A.M. Best’s Recommended Insurance Attorneys


Speaking Engagements

  • 20th Annual Municipal Law Conference 2022, “Employment Law: Litigation Tips in Representing the Municipality in Big Cases” (March 16, 2022)
  • 18th Annual MCLE-MMLA Municipal Law Conference, “First Amendment Update: Signs, Panhandlers, Public Meetings” (September 9, 2020)
  • Municipal Lawyers Association, “Covid-19 Response: Labor Issues with Returning Employees”, Panelist (June 24, 2020)
  • Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, Inc., 17th Annual Municipal Law Conference, “Public Employment Law Meets the First Amendment” (March 13, 2019)
  • A.M. Best Insurance Law Podcast “Managing ESI Discovery Expenses” (November 7, 2018)
  • A.M. Best Insurance Law Podcast “Update on School Bullying and Cyber Bullying Claims” (October 3, 2017)
  • International Municipal Lawyers Association, “Personnel Holidays and Religion in the Municipal Workplace,” Co-Speaker, Webinar (November 18, 2015)
  • International Municipal Lawyers Association, “Religious Expression in the Public Workplace,” Co-speaker, Audio Seminar (March 20, 2013)
  • Massachusetts Bar Association, Individual Rights and Responsibilities Section Open Meeting, “What’s Bullying,” Panelist (February 9, 2011)
  • Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, Inc., 8th Annual Municipal Law Conference, “What’s New in Personnel Law and Labor Relations” (March 18, 2010)
  • Massachusetts Interlocal Insurance Association, “Risk Management Seminar” – “Conflict of Interest – For Elected and Appointed Officials,” Panelist (June 10, 2009)
  • Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, Inc., “Trying Your First, or Next, Civil Case in Federal Court,” Panelist (April 10, 2003; March 31, 2004; March 24, 2005; March 23, 2006; March 1, 2007; April 9, 2008, May 8, 2014)



  • Author, Chapter 12, “Damages Actions Under Section 1983,” published in Federal Civil Litigation in the First Circuit, MCLE (July 2017) (revised July 2019) (2021 update pending publication)
  • Author, Chapter 5, “Legal Representation in Civil Lawsuits Arising from Police-Involved Shootings,” published in Suicide by Cop: A Comprehensive Examination of the Phenomenon and its Aftermath, (Vivan B. Lord) (Looseleaf Law Publications, Inc. Feb. 2015)
  • Author, “The Supreme Court’s Vance and Nassar Decisions: The Burden of Proof in Employment Discrimination Cases and Other Developments”, published in Employment Law 2014 – Top Lawyers on Trends and Key Strategies for the Upcoming Year, Aspatore Publishing, Thomas/Reuter, 2014 WL 343156 (February 2014)
  • Author, Chapter “A Discussion of Emerging Trends in Municipal Law,” published in Aspatore Books: Navigating Municipal Employment Issues, (West Services Inc. 2011) online at Thomson/Reuter, 2011 WL 6740832 (December 2011)
  • Co-Author, Chapter 2: Massachusetts Rules of Evidence in the Federal Courts, Massachusetts Evidence – A Courtroom Reference(MCLE 2008)
  • Chapter 5, “Legal Defense of Law Enforcement Officers in Police Shooting Cases,” published in Suicide By Cop – Inducing Officers to Shoot: Practical Direction for Recognition, Resolution, and Recovery, (Vivian B. Lord) (Looseleaf Law Publications, Inc. 2004)
  • Note, The Serious Juvenile Offender in the Adult Criminal System: The Jurisprudence of Rhode Island’s Waiver and Certification Procedures, 26 Suffolk U.L. Rev. 407 (1992) – cited by RI Supreme Court in  In Re Harrison, 992 A.2d 990, 998 (RI 2010) and State v. Day, 911 A.2d 1042, 1048 (RI 2006)
  • Frequent contributor to PDP’s Developments in Municipal Law newsletter



  • Burial laws raised in Tsarneav matter, Massachusetts Lawyer Weekly (May 7, 2013)


Charitable & Civic Involvement


Suffolk University Law School, J.D., cum laude, 1993

Providence College, B.A., cum laude, 1986


Bar & Court Admissions

State of Rhode Island (1993)

Commonwealth of Massachusetts (1994)

U.S. District Court, District of Rhode Island (1994)

U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts (1996)

U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit (1998)

Supreme Court of the United States (1998)


Association Memberships

Boston Bar Association

Rhode Island Bar Association

Massachusetts Council of School Attorneys (COSA)

The Massachusetts Municipal Lawyers Association (MMLA)

The International Municipal Lawyers Association (IMLA)