HLAB wins judgment against Mass. painting & construction company for recurring wage theft

CAMBRIDGE, Feb. 21, 2023—Dana Talbot, owner of painting and construction company Dana Talbot Painting, has incurred numerous judgments in Massachusetts courts for violating Massachusetts wage laws by refusing to pay employees and ignoring legal action against him.

The Harvard Legal Aid Bureau (“HLAB”) has filed suit and won a judgment for $9,540 against Dana Talbot on behalf of three employees, members of the same family, who were never paid for the manual labor they performed for Mr. Talbot and his company.  One of HLAB’s clients noted that Dana Talbot is notoriously known among the construction worker community for ignoring requests for payment and for absences in legal proceedings against him.  Upon closer inspection, HLAB discovered that there have been at least three other legal actions against Mr. Talbot. In total, at least seven workers have filed complaints for nonpayment of regular wages or overtime in addition to HLAB’s $9,540 judgment against Mr. Talbot.

Mr. Talbot had previously failed to show up for two court proceedings in Salem, MA, where he was ordered to pay over $2,000 and $3,000 in damages for both plaintiffs.  Now, separately, HLAB has a default judgment against him for over $9,540 in treble damages.  Despite these judgments and complaints against him, Mr. Talbot continues to be unresponsive to his unpaid workers and has reportedly continued running his business.

By failing to appear in court or negotiate with his unpaid workers, Mr. Talbot has effectively circumvented Massachusetts wage laws guaranteeing fair wages for workers. Workers are subject to financial hardship if they do not receive their earned wages – failing to pay bills, rent, or familial expenses.

HLAB’s Wage Practice routinely represents workers who are seeking to cover unpaid wages, through settlements and other representations. Clients of the Wage Practice often come from industries such as construction, landscaping, domestic work, and food service.

Mr. Talbot has not yet reached out to HLAB for comment or negotiation.

Press Release by Shilpa Sadhasivam, student attorney at the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau.  For more information, please contact Shilpa at ssadhasivam.jd23@hlsclinics.org.