Seth Barnett is a Partner at Pierce Davis & Perritano LLP.
His practice is centered on litigation and trial advocacy in defense of both public sector and private clients in a broad range of complex cases, including civil rights, education, employment, contract, tort and environmental, before all levels of the Massachusetts trial courts, the United States District Court (Districts of Massachusetts), the Massachusetts Appeals Court, and the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.
Mr. Barnett’s civil rights defense work is primarily focused on defending school districts and officials in Title IX, bullying and peer-on-peer harassment claims. In addition, Mr. Barnett routinely defends municipal officials and public safety officers in civil rights matters stemming from First Amendment free speech claims, Fourth Amendment excessive force claims, due process, equal protection and whistleblower retaliation claims. He regularly handles significant civil rights and constitutional matters on behalf of local municipalities and officials, which are often of public significance.
Mr. Barnett counsels clients on general municipal law, licensing, land use and permitting. For the past several years, Mr. Barnett has counseled numerous clients s in a wide range of complex issues including disputes as to the use of student affinity groups in schools, the scope of Native American fishing rights, the operation of wind turbines, public access cable programming decisions, the impact of a residential development on a drinking water supply, and the liability of high school coaches for student-athlete head injuries.
For over a decade, Mr. Barnett has appeared before federal and state courts and administrative agencies with respect to employment discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful discharge cases, unfair labor practices, wage and hour matters, and other employment related litigation. He also counsels clients regarding matters including hiring and firing decisions, severance agreements, employee handbooks, employee discipline, wage and hour laws, and compliance with state and local statutes, regulations, and case law.
Outside of the office, Mr. Barnett spends his free time coaching youth sports and currently has served as the President of Westwood Basketball Association for the past two years.
- Armato v. Stoneham, 100 Mass. App. Ct. 1134 (2022) (affirming summary judgment in favor of Town officials in Whistleblower retaliation claim
- Roe v. Lincoln-Sudbury Regional School District (D. Mass 2021) (obtaining summary judgment on behalf of school district and officials in Title IX student-on-student sexual assault case)
- Reeves v. Town of Hingham (1st. Cir. 2021) (dismissal of civil rights claims against police department arising from suicide during police standoff)
- Dusti v. Town of Shirley, 96 Mass.App.Ct. 1109 (2019) (upholding dismissal of challenge to Building Inspector’s opinion as to the applicability of zoning bylaws to property)
- Pascucci v. Town of Lynnfield, 330 F.Supp.3d 648 (D. Mass 2018) (dismissal of condo unit owners’ action alleging unlawful taking of unit without just compensation)
- DeBenedictis v. Blanchard (Sup. Ct. 2017) (obtained jury verdict in favor of Fire Chief in defamation and invasion of privacy suit brought by terminated firefighter)
- Andersen v. Town of Falmouth (Sup. Ct. 2017) (prevailed before Barnstable County jury after 7-day trial as to whether Town’s operation of wind turbines constituted a nuisance to nearby property owners)
- Najas Realty, LLC v. Seekonk Water District, 821 F. 3d 134 (1st Cir. 2016) (dismissal of civil rights claims against Water District and District official who spoke in opposition to proposed residential subdivision because of environmental concerns)
- Comley v. Town of Rowley, 88 Mass. App. Ct. 1109 (2014) (upholding dismissal of various tort and civil rights claims brought by property owner who sought to challenge the Rowley Conservation Commission’s issuance of various enforcement orders)
- Jones v. Scotti, 2010 WL 1711200 (D. Mass. Apr. 26, 2010) (dismissal of civil rights claims against police chief for role in conducting investigation into former police officer’s conduct)
- Surgens v. Attleboro Public Schools, 27 Mass.L.Rptr. 7 (Mass. Super. 2010) (school entitled to immunity for not dropping off first-grade student, who was struck by on-coming traffic, at her designated bus stop)
Awards & Honors:
- Selected to Massachusetts Super Lawyers List, 2019-2021
- Selected to Massachusetts Super Lawyers “Rising Stars”, 2013 – 2014
Publications and Speaking Engagements:
- Massachusetts Municipal Lawyers Association Seminar, “The Risks of Participating in Public Meetings and Hearings,” Speaker (August 9, 2018)
- Negligent Retention: Does the Imposition of Liability on Employers for Employee Violence Contradict the Public Policy of Providing Ex-felons with Employment Opportunities?, 37 Suffolk U.L. Rev. 1067 (2004)
- Massachusetts Bar Association
- Massachusetts City Solicitors and Town Counsel Association
- Developments in Municipal Law Newsletter: Summer 2018
- Seth Barnett to Present “The Risks of Participating in Public Meetings and Hearings” at the MMLA
- Representing Cities and Towns Across Massachusetts
- Fire Chief Held Not Liable in Employment Defamation Trial
- PDP Wins Wind Turbine Nuisance Trial
- Town Immune for Student Injured by Errant Shot Put During High School Track Meet
- Town Is Immune from Claims of Negligence Arising Out of Choking Death: McFarland v. Town of Mashpee
- First Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Developer’s Entire Suit: Najas Realty v. Seekonk Water District
- Court Applies Highway Defect Statute To Contractor Electrocuted While Paving Sidewalk
- Federal Appeals Court Upholds Discipline of Police Officer for Facebook Posts
Suffolk University Law School, J.D., cum laude, 2004
Boston University School of Management, B.S., 2001
Bar & Court Admissions
Commonwealth of Massachusetts (2004)
U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts (2006)
U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit (2011)