Seventh Largest Verdict in Massachusetts in 2013

After six days of trial in four consolidated cases, an Essex Superior Court jury returned verdicts in favor of Cedar Properties Inc., Steven Tarshi and Paul Tarshi on July 24, 2013. The trial encompassed four separate lawsuits involving as plaintiffs brothers, Steven and Paul Tarshi, and Cedar Properties Inc., and defendants, the Mary Beth McInnis and Lauren Tarshi, Administrators of the estate of a third brother, the late attorney James Tarshi.

In one suit, Steven and Paul Tarshi claimed that they each held a 25 percent beneficial interest in 22 Woodland Realty Trust, owner of an apartment building at 22 Woodland St. in Lawrence, and that their brother, James, converted income from that property for personal use. The defendants denied both that Paul was a beneficiary and that James deprived them of any funds.

Two of the lawsuits concerned Cedar Properties Inc., a corporation that owns apartment buildings in Lawrence. Steven claimed that he and James formed the corporation to buy apartments; that he was and is a 50 percent owner of that corporation (despite not being issued any stock certificates); and that James converted money belonging to the corporation for his own use, harming it and depriving Steven of his share of corporate profits. The defendants denied any such agreement and asserted that if there ever had been such an agreement, it was barred by the statute of limitations.

In the fourth action, Steven claimed that he was a 50 percent owner of an apartment building in Methuen, although the title stood in James' name alone. The defendants denied Steven was an owner and asserted that, in any event, the statute of frauds and of limitations precluded recovery.

The summary of the plaintiffs' awards follows:

  • Steven was awarded 50 percent interest in Cedar Properties Inc., worth over $950,000;
  • Steven was awarded 50 percent interest in the Methuen apartment building, worth over $160,000;
  • Cedar Properties Inc. was awarded $499,707 in damages;
  • Steven was awarded $53,290 as beneficiary of 22 Woodland Realty Trust; and
  • Paul was awarded $53,290 as beneficiary of 22 Woodland Realty Trust.