Richard T. Cassidy
Rich Cassidy is a trial lawyer, mediator, and arbitrator. His practice focuses on personal injury litigation and labor and employment law.
One of the founders of Hoff Curtis, he has more than 35 years' experience with the practice of law in Vermont. Over the years, his practice has changed substantially. As a result, Rich has represented all sides in many kinds of disputes: plaintiffs and defendants, employers and employees, injured parties and insurance companies. He believes that the breadth of his experience benefits all of his clients.
He is proud to represent the Burlington Police Officers Association.
Now, his personal injury practice is limited to representing injured persons and his labor and employment practice focuses on representing employees. He enjoys the challenge of representing individuals in a world that seems increasingly dominated by large corporations and powerful institutions.
He has significant experience with litigation and alternative dispute resolution involving higher education, public education, public safety, health care, municipalities and manufacturing. His clients have included college students, faculty, and administrators as well as individuals, businesses, governmental agencies, and not-for-profit entities. He represents both labor unions and individuals in collective bargaining relationships. Many of his individual clients in employment law cases begin work with him under Limited Scope Representation Agreements.
He has also advocated for individuals, businesses and governments in a broad range of civil litigation, including in construction cases, cases under the Uniform Commercial Code, and contract and business tort claims.
In addition to his work as a litigator and counselor, he has served as a mediator and arbitrator and is a member of the Panel of Early Neutral Evaluators for the United States District Court for the District of Vermont and the early neutral evaluation panels for the Vermont Environmental Court and a Vermont Superior Courts.
Vermont Governor Howard Dean appointed Richard as a Vermont Member of the Uniform Law Commission in 1994. He has been reappointed 4 times by three different Governors. He served as a member of the Drafting Committee on the Model Punitive Damages Act, the Drafting Committee on the Revised Uniform Arbitration Act, the Drafting Committee on the Apportionment of Tort Responsibility Act, and he chaired the Drafting Committee on the Uniform Collateral Consequences of Conviction Act. He is a former Chair of the ULC Executive Committee, and a former chair of its Scope and Program Committee and a former Secretary of the Commission. At the Commission's 2015 Annual Meeting, Rich was elected to a two year term as President of the ULC. He is the first Vermonter to serve a the President of the 123 year old law reform organization since George Brigham Young served from 1925 through 1927.
Richard represented the Vermont Bar Association in the American Bar Association House of Delegates for nine years and was the Chair of the Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services. He served as a member of the ABA Board Governors from 2005 through 2008.
He was a long-time member of the Vermont Board of Bar Examiners serving as both chair of the board and examiner until 2004.
Richard is a frequent writer and speaker on legal topics. He has lectured on trial practice, employment, arbitration, mediation, and construction law subjects before the American Bar Association, the National Employment Lawyers' Association, the Vermont Bar Association, the Vermont Trial Lawyers Association, and the Vermont Employment Lawyers' Association.
He has been selected for inclusion in Best Lawyers® and New England Super Lawyers® by his peers. (Listing in The Best Lawyers in America® or Super Lawyers® does not guarantee a desired result in a legal case or that listed lawyers are necessarily more skilled than lawyers who are not listed in such publications.) He was the 2013 "Best Lawyer of the Year" for Employment Law - Individuals and the 2015 "Best Mediator of the Year."
His blog, OnLawyering.com, is widely read by other legal professionals.
Richard is a 1975 graduate of the University of Vermont and a 1978 graduate of Albany Law School. He served as law clerk to the Honorable Robert W. Larrow of the Vermont Supreme Court in 1978-79, and as Chief Law Clerk to Chief Justice Albert W. Barney in 1979-80 before entering private practice in 1980.
A South Burlington resident, Rich was as a member of the South Burlington School Board and chaired the Board from 2007 to 2013.
He also served as Chair of the Vermont Solid Waste and Air Quality Variance Board from 1993 through 2005.
In 2012, he was elected by the Vermont Democratic Party as a member of the Democratic National Committee.
He serves as an Acting Judge on regular basis in the Small Claims Division of the Chittenden Superior Court.
When he's not practicing law or in a committee meeting, Rich enjoys reading, walking Baxter the dog, skiing, swimming, and rowing his Adirondack Guide Boat on Lake Champlain.
Verdicts and Settlements
Richard Cassidy has obtained many millions of dollars of settlements and verdicts for his clients.
The punitive damage portion of this $2.3 million dollar verdict in a hazing case, Brueckner v. Norwich University, 169 Vt. 118; 730 A.2d 1086 (1999), was reversed by a split decision on appeal, but the award of compensatory damages was upheld and established the important legal proposition that a University may be responsible for the acts of hazing committed by student leaders authorized to orient and indoctrinate first-year students. W. Kaplin and B. Lee, The Law of Higher Education, at 312. (4th Edition, Jossey-Bass (2007)).
Other notable results include the recovery of many hundreds of thousands of dollars in a number of employment discrimination cases, a $700,000 settlement in a slip and fall case, a $620,000 settlement in a wrongful death claim based on a falling tree and, a $3.6 million dollar settlement in a combined employment/commercial dispute.
Kaplan v. City of Burlington, 891 F.2d 1024 (C.A.2 (Vt.) 1989).
Chabad-Lubavitch of Vermont v. City of Burlington, 754 F.Supp. 372 (D.Vt. 1990).
Chabad-Lubavitch of Vermont v. City of Burlington, 936 F.2d 109 (C.A.2 (Vt.) 1991).
Ballard v. University of Vermont, 693 A.2d 713, 118 Ed. Law Rep. 419 (Vt. 1997);
Brueckner v. Norwich University, 169 Vt. 118; 730 A.2d 1086 (1999).
Provost v. Fletcher Allen Health Care, Inc., 2005 VT 115.
St. Martin v. Department of Labor, 2012 VT 8.
Nelson v. Town of St. Johnsbury, 2015 VT 5 (A statutory town manager cannot be discharged without just cause).
Areas of Practice
- Personal Injury
- Labor & Employment
- Alternative Dispute Resolution
- Civil Litigation
- Vermont, 1979
- New York, 1979
- U.S. District Court District of Vermont, 1979
- U.S. District Court Northern District of New York
- U.S. Court of Appeals 2nd Circuit, 1986
- U.S. Supreme Court, 1990
- Albany Law School Union University, Albany, New York
- J.D. - 1978
- University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont
- B.A. - 1975
- Kaplan v. City of Burlington, 891 F.2d 1024 (C.A.2 (Vt.) 1989)
- Chabad-Lubavitch of Vermont v. City of Burlington, 754 F.Supp. 372 (D.Vt. 1990)
- Chabad-Lubavitch of Vermont v. City of Burlington, 936 F.2d 109 (C.A.2 (Vt.) 1991)
- Ballard v. University of Vermont, 693 A.2d 713, 118 Ed. Law Rep. 419 (Vt. 1997)
- Brueckner v. Norwich University, 169 Vt. 118; 730 A.2d 1086 (1999)
- Provost v. Fletcher Allen Health Care, Inc, 179 Vt. 545, 890 A.2nd 97 (2005)
- St. Martin v. Department of Labor, 2012 VT 8 (2012)
- Nelson v. Town of St. Johnsbury, 2015 VT 5
- Burlington Firefighters Association
- National Indemnity Insurance Company
- Vermont State Colleges Faculty Federation
- Vermont Subcontractors Association
- Vermont Federal Bank
Honors and Awards
- Jonathon B. Chase Award, ACLU of Vermont, Inc., 1990
- Grassroots Award, American Bar Association, 2009
- President’s Award, Vermont Bar Association, 2015
- Equal Justice for All Award, American Bar Association
Professional Associations and Memberships
- Uniform Laws Commission, Vermont Member, 1994 - Present
- American Counsel Association, President, 2009 - 2010
- The Model Punitive Damages Act, Member, Drafting Committee
- Revised Uniform Arbitration Act, Member, Drafting Committee
- Apportionment of Tort Responsibility Act, Member, Drafting Committee
- Scope & Program Committee, Member
- Uniform Collateral Consequences of Conviction Act.(ABA), Chair
- American Bar Association, Secretary of the Commission
- American Bar Association, Member, Executive Committee
- American Bar Association, Committee on Liaison
- American Bar Association, Board of Governors, 2005 - 2008
- American Bar Association, House of Delegates, 1999 - 2015
- American Law Institute, Elected Member, 2015 - Present
- Uniform Law Commission, President, 2015 - 2017
- Vermont Association for Justice, Member
- Vermont Bar Association, Member
Past Employment Positions
- Hon. Robert W. Larrow of the Vermont Supreme Court, Law Clerk, 1978 - 1979
- Chief Justice Albert W. Barney, Jr., Vermont Supreme Court, Chief Law Clerk, 1979 - 1980
- Law Office of David C. Drew, Associate Attorney, 1980 - 1982
- Hoff, Wilson, Powell and Lang, P.C., Shareholder, 1986 - 1988
- Hoff, Wilson, Powell and Lang, P.C., 1982 - 1986