7 Winthrop Street
  Essex, Massachusetts 01929-1203

  Tel: (978)768-6610
  E-Mail: dpd@certworthy.com





Dennis P. Derrick is a seasoned attorney with an established appellate practice in Massachusetts since 1977. He is a duly licensed attorney in good standing and authorized to practice law in both Massachusetts and Connecticut. He is a Member of the Bar of the United States Supreme Court, the State courts of Massachusetts and Connecticut and the federal courts of the First Circuit Court of Appeals, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and the federal district courts for the Districts of Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Besides preparing petitions for certiorari and amicus curiae Briefs for submission to the U.S. Supreme Court, Mr. Derrick has authored the prevailing Brief in over 335 appeals in both state and federal court, including 75 reversals of the lower court’s judgment. Many of these decisions implicate important statements of the substantive law and have addressed emerging issues in family law, constitutional law, civil rights, land use regulation, federal practice and procedure, tort law and commercial law. These decisions are identified in Mr. Derrick’s Appellate Track Record below.

Of the fifty petitions Mr. Derrick has authored, two provided immediate relief for petitioners. See Blaisdell v. City of Rochester, 544 U.S. 957 (2005), granting the petition and remanding the case to the court of appeals; Boyd v. Wisdom, Dkt. No. 05-603 (2/16/06), where on the strength of the petition, a settlement favorable to the petitioner was reached prior to the Court’s vote. In six other petitions (Information Systems v. United States, Dkt. No. 06-234; Goldblatt v. Ebert, Dkt. No. 07-1097; UFO Chuting of Hawaii v. Smith, Dkt. No. 07-1427; Pinnick v. Corboy & Demetrio, PC,  Dkt. No. 08-1129; Harmon v. Pollock, Dkt. No. 09-1195; and Onwuteaka v. Serna, Dkt. No. 15-511, chosen by SCOTUSblog.com as its “Petition of the Day” on 12/27/2015 and a “Petition to Watch” on February 19, 2016), the Court ordered respondents to answer Mr. Derrick’s  arguments, an event which increases ninefold the likelihood of a petition’s grant.

Mr. Derrick received his bachelor's degree from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and is an honors graduate of Suffolk University Law School in Boston. While in law school, he served as Note Editor of the Law Review and authored several Notes and Case Comments for that journal as well as inaugurating independent student newspapers at the law school.

After serving as law clerk for United States District Judge Robert C. Zampano in New Haven, Connecticut, Mr. Derrick entered private practice in New Haven and then Boston, representing plaintiffs in civil litigation and defendants in medical malpractice actions. Since 1977, he has concentrated his practice in the prosecution of civil and criminal appeals in both the State and federal courts in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as well as the preparation of petitions for certiorari and amicus curiae Briefs in the United States Supreme Court.

Highlights of Mr. Derrick's Supreme Court practice:

-representing the petitioner and authoring the prevailing petition for certiorari in Blaisdell v. City of Rochester, 544 U.S. 957(2005), where the United States Supreme Court GRANTED the petition, VACATED the judgment below and REMANDED the case to the First Circuit Court of Appeals on the issue of whether the doctrine of federal jurisdiction expressed in Rooker v.  Fidelity Trust Co., 263 U.S. 413(1923) and District of Columbia Court of Appeals v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462(1983), was wrongly applied in order to deprive the petitioner of a trial on his civil rights claims in federal court;

–representing the petitioner in Boyd v. Roy Wisdom et al., U.S. Supreme Court No. 05-603, where the petitioner was punished with substantial financial sanctions and referred for disciplinary proceedings for bringing a fair housing claim in federal district court. On the strength of the petition for certiorari which challenged the due process deprivations incident to the proceedings, a settlement favorable to the petitioner was reached within a week of the Supreme Court’s scheduled vote on the petition. The disciplinary proceedings were dismissed as well on the strength of the petition for certiorari;

–representing the grandfather and authoring the prevailing Brief in Blixt v. Blixt, 437 Mass. 649 (2002), cert. denied, 537 U.S.1189 (2003) which established the constitutionality of the grandparent visitation statute (G.L.c. 119,§ 39D).  The decision, reported on the Boston Globe’s front page of September 10, 2002, was selected by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly as the second most important opinion of 2002. (See Lawyers Weekly, January 6, 2003). Blixt’s sense of the evolving nature of the family provided part of the rationale for the High Court’s later recognition of same-sex marriage in Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health, 440 Mass. 309 (2003);

-challenging a home invasion by the police, their detention of plaintiffs and two searches where the police knew immediately that the plaintiffs’ home was not the one identified in the search warrant.  Harmon v. Pollock, U.S. Supreme Court No. 09-1195 (Response Ordered by Supreme Court);

-challenging the refusal by four justices of the Illinois Supreme Court to recuse themselves from an appeal by a party which contributed substantially to their reelection campaigns. Pinnick v. Corboy  & Demetrio, PC, U.S. Supreme Court No. 08-1129 (Response Ordered by Supreme Court);

-challenging Hawaii’s five-month seasonal ban on thrill craft in navigable waters off Maui’s coast  as violative of the Supremacy Clause and the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act, 16 U.S.C. § 1379(a). UFO Chuting of Hawaii, Inc. v. Smith, U.S. Supreme Court No. 07-1427 (Response Ordered by Supreme Court);

-presenting the question whether a litigant is denied due process when his appeal was dismissed for the mistakes of federal court personnel. Goldblatt v. Ebert, U.S. Supreme Court No. 07-1097 (Response Ordered by Supreme Court); 

-representing a Subchapter S corporation which challenged federal regulatory protocol which prevents it from being reimbursed for the state income taxes it paid as the result of performing services for the federal government. Information Systems & Networks Corporation v. United States,  U. S. Supreme Court No. 06-234 (Response Ordered by Supreme Court);

-representing Oregon landowners who challenged under the Takings, Contract and Due Process Clauses the State of Oregon’s retroactive repeal of its land use regulations which had vested them with the right to develop their land. Bruner v. Whitman, U.S. Supreme Court No. 11-1422 & Bruner  v. Josephine County, U.S. Supreme Court No. 11-1423 (Three Amici Curiae Briefs filed);

-challenging the constitutionality of requiring indigent pro se plaintiffs to file “super filing fees” in the form of affidavits of merit before commencing medical malpractice actions in Michigan. Jackson v. Mecosta County, Michigan Med. Ctr., U.S. Supreme Court No. 11-1272;

-seeking resolution of a conflict among the federal circuit courts of appeals for admitting expert scientific testimony under Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993).Tamraz. v. Lincoln Electric Co., U.S. Supreme Court No. 10-1122;

-addressing the scope of the police’s qualified immunity from suit under the Civil Rights Act after using deadly force in the course of a vehicular chase where the victim presented no threat to the police of imminent bodily harm. Wilkinson v. Torres, U.S. Supreme Court No. 10-781;

-addressing the inter-circuit court of appeals’ conflict of whether Iqbal-Twombly’s heightened pleading standard should be imposed on a Civil Rights plaintiff alleging municipal liability under  Monell v. New York Dept. of Social Services, 436 U.S. 659 (1978). Palermo v. Town of North Reading, U.S. Supreme Court No. 10-73;

-asserting that the denial of the parents’ right under IDEA to advocate for and participate in the formulation of an individual educational plan for their autistic child denied them due process. E.H.  and K.H. et al. v. Board of Education, U.S. Supreme Court No. 09-887;

-representing Louisiana homeowners seeking to reinstate a jury’s verdict that their insurer acted in bad faith when it denied their claims for insurance coverage following the destruction of their homes by Hurricane Katrina. Kodrin v. State Farm Fire & Casualty, U.S. Supreme Court No. 09-123;

-challenging the constitutionality of Florida’s civil and criminal appellate system which allows intermediate appellate courts to issue per curiam orders disposing of appeals without issuing written  opinions thereby foreclosing appellants from seeking further appellate review from the Florida Supreme Court. Bothe v. Hansen, U.S. Supreme Court No. 08-1504;

-representing peanut farmers in several south and southwestern States who sought to hold the Department of Agriculture to the contract price of peanuts it agreed to when the farmers planted their  crops. In re: Peanut Crop Insurance Litigation, U.S. Supreme Court No. 08-489;

-requesting the Court to provide renewed guidance to inferior federal courts about the misuse of summary judgment procedure in order to dispose of employment discrimination cases without a trial. Rodriquez v. City of New York, U.S. Supreme Court No. 12-1169;

-asking whether the court of appeals denied petitioner due process when it refused to apply Texas substantive law to determine when the limitations period began to run on claims that respondents committed fraud and breached their fiduciary duty in sabotaging petitioner’s patent applications. USPPS v. Avery Dennison, U.S. Supreme Court No. 13-1011;

-seeking clarification of the Court’s disruption standard of Garcetti v. Ceballos, 547 U.S. 410 (2006) and Pickering v. Bd. of Educ., 391 U.S. 563 (1968), when a public employee loses her job for exercising her First Amendment rights as a whistle-blower. Johnson v. City of Murray, U.S. Supreme Court No. 13-1082;

-challenging the Ninth Circuit’s subversion of the Court’s two-part test in Feist Publications, Inc. v. Rural Tel. Serv. Co., 499 U.S. 340 (1990), for proving substantial similarity under the Copyright Act thereby causing the unrestrained piracy of original work by studios and television networks. Segal v. Rogue Pictures, U.S. Supreme Court No. 13-1425 (Amicus Curiae Brief filed);

-challenging on due process grounds delays of 18 and 22 months, respectively, in providing petitioners a post-deprivation  hearing after suspending or revoking their permits to carry a firearm.  Kuck et al. v. Masek, U.S. Supreme Court No. 14-279;

-questioning the constitutional adequacy of notice terminating a probationary teacher when the School District Board failed to comply with the Texas Education Code and petitioner’s teacher contract. Jones v. Houston Independent School District Board of Education, U.S. Supreme Court No.  14-536;

-presenting for resolution whether petitioner’s Title VII’s discrimination and retaliation claims on the basis of his Italian-American heritage presented a triable fact question for a jury. Milione v. City University of New York, U.S. Supreme Court No. 14-494.

-asking for a resolution of the conflict among the Circuits about whether a federal agency waives a timely exhaustion defense when it fails to raise that defense in the administrative proceeding. Reveles v. Secretary of Homeland Security, U.S. Supreme Court No. 14-1343;

-challenging an egregiously unfair Philippine arbitral award as inconsistent with the Court’s eight-factor test in Lauritzen v. Larsen, 345 U.S. 571(1953) and Hellenic Lines, Ltd. v. Rhoditis, 398 U.S. 306(1970). Asignacion v. Rickmers, U.S. Supreme Court No. 15-305 (Three Amici  Curiae Briefs filed);

-seeking a resolution among the Circuits about when the 1-year limitations period under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act begins to run, i.e., when the offending debt collection suit is first filed or when it is served? Onwuteaka v. Serna, U.S. Supreme Court No. 15-511, chosen by SCOTUSblog as its “Petition of the Day” on 12/27/2015 and a “Petition to Watch” on 2/19/ 2016 (Response Ordered by Supreme Court).

-challenging a third remand by the D.C. Circuit court of appeals for resolution of a journalist’s right to attorney’s fees under FOIA after he prevailed in his request for records associated with the Kennedy assassination. Morley v. CIA, U.S. Supreme Court No. 16-__.

Highlights of Mr. Derrick's State Court practice:

–representing the grandfather and authoring the prevailing Brief in Blixt v. Blixt, 437 Mass. 649 (2002), cert. denied, 537 U.S.1189 (2003) which established the constitutionality of the grandparent visitation statute (G.L.c. 119,§ 39D).  The decision, reported on the Boston Globe’s front page of September 10, 2002, was selected by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly as the second most important opinion of 2002. (See Lawyers Weekly, January 6, 2003). Blixt’s sense of the evolving nature of the family provided part of the rationale for the High Court’s later recognition of same-sex marriage in Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health, 440 Mass. 309 (2003).

‑preparing an interlocutory appeal on behalf of Thomas Junta incident to the "Hockey Dad" criminal prosecution, Commonwealth v. Junta, Middlesex Superior Court Docket No. 2000‑1000, selected by Lawyers Weekly as one of the thirty (30) most memorable cases of the last 30 years. (See Lawyers Weekly, September 16, 2002).

‑authoring the prevailing Brief on behalf of the father in Custody of Vaughn, 422 Mass. 590 (1996), which established the need for assessing domestic violence by both parents when making child custody determinations.

‑authoring the appellant's Brief in Indus Partners, LLC v. Intelligroup, Inc., 77 Mass. App. Ct. 793 (2010) which defined for the first time the contours of "broker‑dealer" status for purposes of the Massachusetts Uniform Securities Act, G.L.c. 110A, §§ 201 et seq.

‑authoring the prevailing Brief in McGovern v. McGovern, 77 Mass. App. Ct. 688 (2010), a seminal decision on the reach of the Derelict Fee Statute, G.L.c. 183, § 58.

‑authoring Briefs in MacDougall v. Acres, 427 Mass. 363 (1998); Hillier v. Hillier, 41 Mass. App. Ct. 486 (1996); Delk v. Gonzales, 421 Mass. 525 (1995); and Custody of Brandon, 407 Mass. 1 (1990), all seminal decisions in the law of inter‑jurisdictional child custody disputes.

‑authoring the prevailing Brief in Bouchie v. Murray, 376 Mass. 524 (1978), establishing the inadmissibility of "totem‑pole" hearsay evidence in hospital and medical records.

‑authoring the prevailing Brief in Costello v. Pet, Inc.,17 Mass. App. Ct. 382 (1984), which reaffirmed the fundamental rules of offer and acceptance in contract law.

‑authoring the prevailing Brief in Barry v. Barry, 409 Mass. 727(1991), which established the time limits within which an ex‑spouse may seek the modification of an alimony award.

‑authoring the prevailing Brief in Boudreau v. Landry, 404 Mass. 528 (1989), holding that a minor plaintiff's insanity would toll the running of the statute of limitations for bringing a medical malpractice action.

‑authoring Briefs in Zeghibe v. Zeghibe, 82 Mass. App. Ct. 614 (2012) C.D.L. v. M.M.L., 72 Mass. App. Ct. 146(2008); Sampson v. Sampson, 62 Mass. App. Ct. 366(2004); Boulter‑Hedley v. Boulter, 429 Mass. 808(1999); Beaulieu v, Beaulieu, 46 Mass. App. Ct. 850(1999); Smith‑Clarke v. Clarke, 44 Mass. App. Ct. 404 (1998); Savides v. Savides, 400 Mass. 250 (1987); Fugere v. Fugere, 24 Mass. App. Ct. 758 (1987); Duro v. Duro, 392 Mass. 574 (1984); Belsky v. Belsky, 9 Mass. App. Ct. 852 (1980); and the Kennedy trilogy of appeals, all important precedents in family law.

‑authoring the appellants' Briefs in Massand v. MMJUA, 420 Mass. 690 (1995) and Daniels v. Board of Registration in Medicine, 418 Mass. 380 (1994), noteworthy decisions addressing the process due doctors in administrative proceedings.

‑authoring Briefs in Danger Records, Inc. v. Berger, 444 Mass.1 (2005) and Pirie v. First Congregational Church, 43 Mass. App. Ct. 908 (1997) which establishes the scope of review for single justices when entertaining appeals under G.L.c. 231, § 6G, from orders to pay attorney's fees under G.L.c. 231, § 6F.


Mr. Derrick is a sole proprietor who alone prepares every Petition for Certiorari, Amicus Curiae brief and appellate brief after collaboration with the client and his or her attorney.


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