David H. Rich is a partner in the firm. He joined Todd & Weld upon his graduation from law school in 1996. His practice is varied, but he spends the majority of his practice focused on complex business and commercial litigation, first amendment law, and employment law. Mr. Rich is quoted frequently and regularly lectures on matters relating to defamation law, employment matters and trial practice.
Mr. Rich has successfully tried several cases in the state and federal courts involving diverse matters such as the representation of a state superior court justice suing a media entity for defamation, a harness horse racing facility suing a contractor for fraud, representation of a local investment banker suing for an investment banking fee, a local lawyer and former chairman of a board of selectmen suing for defamation, defense of a lender liability lawsuit, defense of a suit on a promissory note and guarantee, representation of a local insurance brokerage firm on a wide variety of employment-related matters, prosecution of a federal trademark infringement case against a major national bank, prosecution of a lawsuit against an internationally known rock musician and major publishing company for defamation, defense of a regional automobile distributorship sued in a class action lawsuit by its dealers for alleged violations of the RICO statute, and the prosecution of a matter on behalf of a national music retailer suing over a proposed lease extension.
Some of Mr. Rich's most notable achievements include the following:
In 2015, Mr. Rich acted as lead trial counsel to a local attorney and former chairman of the Chelmsford Board of Selectmen in a defamation action tried to a jury in the Lowell Division of Middlesex Superior Court. After a three-week jury trial, the jury found in favor of Mr. Rich's client and awarded $2.9 million in damages, including $2.5 million in reputational damages. The jury's verdict included a finding that Mr. Rich's client had succeeded in proving, by clear and convincing evidence, that the defamatory statements which were the subject matter of the suit had been published with actual malice. At the time of the verdict, the damages award was the single largest jury verdict issued in Massachusetts in 2015.
In a case tried in 2014 but decided in early 2015, Mr. Rich acted as lead trial counsel to an investment banking firm which had assisted in the sale of Planet Fitness to a private equity firm for $525 million. After a bench trial held in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, the Court (Stearns, J.) awarded Mr. Rich's client $2.525 million plus an additional $700,000 in prejudgment interest. The Court's ruling in this regard found that although the written contract between Mr. Rich's client and Planet Fitness did not provide a basis for an investment banking fee, the Court nonetheless awarded damages under a quantum meruit and unjust enrichment equitable theory of recovery.
Also in 2014, Mr. Rich successfully represented the director of a local non-profit youth organization in a defamation action against the Boston Herald and its reporter. After a multi-week trial, a Suffolk Superior Court jury returned a verdict in favor of Mr. Rich's client and awarded substantial monetary damages, including $550,000 in emotional distress damages. Through its verdict, the jury found that Mr. Rich's client had succeeded in demonstrating, through clear and convincing evidence, that the Boston Herald's reporting had been published with actual malice.
In November 2013, the First Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a decision of a lower court in favor of Mr. Rich's client, a Guarantor who had been found liable by the trial court under an Environmental Indemnity Agreement. After a trial in January 2013, while the trial court found that the Guarantor was not liable for alleged waste and related damage to certain commercial property, the court did find that the Guarantor was liable under the Environmental Indemnity Agreement for significant costs associated with environmental testing undertaken at the property relative to the alleged suspicion of hazardous materials on site. In reversing the decision of the District Court, the First Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously held that the District Court's interpretation of the Environmental Indemnity Agreement was "too broad," that the cost of the testing "fell outside of the scope of the Indemnity Agreement," and that the significant costs incurred by the lender were not "required to take necessary precautions to protect against the release of any Hazardous Materials." Accordingly, the First Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the District Court's order awarding the lender the costs associated with environmental testing.
Also in 2013, in a case of first impression in Massachusetts, Mr. Rich obtained a ruling from the Massachusetts Superior Court concerning whether a Massachusetts court could exercise personal jurisdiction where "[t]he acts in question were purposefully directed to Massachusetts referenced individual resident[s] in Massachusetts and their company that is based in Massachusetts, and purported to be posted by a former employee with knowledge of the plaintiffs' business practices. The [internet] postings were plainly intended to cause harm in Massachusetts."
Mr. Rich also served as lead counsel in a trademark lawsuit, successfully obtaining a preliminary injunction on behalf of Commerce Bank prohibiting TD Banknorth from using the name "TD Commerce Bank" in the Boston and Worcester metropolitan areas. TD Banknorth had announced plans to begin using the name "TD Commerce Bank" after its merger with New Jersey-based Commerce Bancorp. Mr. Rich brought suit on behalf of Commerce Bank, a Massachusetts bank headquartered in Worcester, and obtained a preliminary injunction after the Court found that Commerce Bank's trademark was worthy of protection and that TD Banknorth's proposed mark was likely to cause confusion. The injunction prohibited TD Banknorth from renaming its branches, referring to itself using Commerce Bank's mark, using the new mark on the TD Banknorth Garden, or advertising under the new mark within Commerce Bank's market, pending a trial on the merits. The matter was eventually resolved through TD Banknorth's agreement not to use the "TD Commerce Bank" in Massachusetts.
Mr. Rich also successfully obtained a $20+ million-dollar verdict on behalf of a local private equity firm in the late 2000s. The legal action was commenced after an affiliate of Mr. Rich's client made a series of high-risk loans to a developer, Meadow Creek, LLC, for a real estate development project involving the construction of an 18-hole golf course and a 178-lot residential subdivision in Dracut, Massachusetts. The developer failed to pay the loans when due and later commenced a "lender liability," usury and fraud-based lawsuit. After a nine-day jury-waived trial, Justice Ralph Gants, Chief Judge of the Massachusetts Superior Court's Business Litigation Session, issued a verdict in favor of Mr. Rich's client and against Meadow Creek, LLC and its principal. The Court's verdict included an award to Mr. Rich's client of $20+ million in compensatory damages plus an award of attorneys' fees. The Court's award also held the borrower's principal personally liable for in excess of $670,000 of the verdict, plus an award of attorneys' fees. The Court's decision specifically rejected Meadow Creek, LLC's multi-million dollar "lender liability," usury and fraud-based claims, holding that the actions of Mr. Rich's client were lawful, appropriate and justified.
In 2005, Mr. Rich successfully tried two matters, each of which resulted in a million dollars plus verdict. Specifically, Mr. Rich, along with Howard Cooper, successfully represented a state superior court justice in a suit against a local media newspaper. After a month-long trial, the jury awarded a $2.09 million dollars verdict. Mr. Rich and J. Owen Todd also successfully prosecuted a case on behalf of a local horse racing facility in which the Court, after a 33-day trial, entered a verdict in excess of one million dollars, plus attorneys' fees.
In 2003, Mr. Rich, along with fellow Todd & Weld attorneys Lisa Arrowood and Edward Foye, successfully defended a high profile author and nutritionist sued for breach of contract in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts. The case was voted among the “Biggest Defense Wins of the Year” by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.
Mr. Rich was named a "Massachusetts Super Lawyers Rising Star" in Boston Magazine in 2005-2007 and 2010-2011. He was named a "Massachusetts Super Lawyer" in each year from 2012 through 2014..
Mr. Rich received his Bachelor of Science from Syracuse University where he majored in finance, with a minor in economics. Mr. Rich received a J.D. from Suffolk University Law School, where he graduated cum laude and served on the Moot Court Board. While in law school, Mr. Rich worked as an intern with the United States Department of Justice's Organized Crime and Racketeering Section and the Norfolk County District Attorney's Office. He lives in Sudbury with his wife and three sons.