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Nick Carter, Luci Passanisi obtain $2M gender bias verdict for female Boston Police detective

Nicholas Carter and Lucia Passanisi obtained a $2 million federal jury verdict in favor of a high-ranking female Boston Police detective for gender bias, retaliation, and hostile work environment after she lodged gender bias accusations against a male supervisor.

The jury, which deliberated about 3.5 hours following the four-week trial, awarded damages to the firm’s client, Donna M. Gavin, for emotional distress and lost job promotion opportunities.

A three-decade veteran of the police department, Ms. Gavin rose through the ranks from police cadet to lieutenant detective.

However, her career was derailed when the supervisor engaged in a campaign to undermine her rise in the police department after she was promoted to a new position in the department’s Family Justice Center, which included units focused on human trafficking and crimes against children.

The supervisor and other male officers “hated the idea that a talented woman might rise above them to a position of real power in the Boston Police Department,” Mr. Carter told the jury in closing arguments.

For over a year, Ms. Gavin was denied a request for a private office like those given to male officers of the same rank, instead being assigned to a cubicle. The supervisor micromanaged her unit, undercut her authority with subordinates, and conducted secret audits of her cases.

After she complained of gender discrimination, the Boston Police Department in retaliation had her reassigned to a less-desirable position at the Boston Police Academy, derailing a likely promotion to the Department’s command staff.