J. NATHAN COLE is a graduate of Bates College, B.A., 1997, and Boston College Law School, J.D., 2003. After graduating from BCLS, Nathan served as an Attorney-Advisor in the United States Department of Commerce, Office of General Counsel, Ethics Division, in Washington, D.C. Nathan left the Department of Commerce to serve as a law clerk to the Justices of the Massachusetts Superior Court (2005-2006). Nathan is experienced in a wide range of civil litigation including general liability, premises liability, construction liability, professional liability, insurance coverage and personal injury cases. Nathan has tried small claim, district and superior court cases throughout the Commonwealth. Nathan is admitted to practice law in Massachusetts and in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts and is a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association. He most recently practiced at Tucker, Heifetz & Saltzman, LLP, in Boston, MA.
Nathan was recently named to the Massachusetts Super Lawyers Rising Stars list for the third consecutive year (2013-2015). Each year, no more than 2.5% of lawyers in the Commonwealth are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor. In 2014, Nathan also achieved a Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating of AV® Preeminent™ 4.7 out of 5.
In 2015, Nathan was recently accepted for membership in the International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC). Formed in 1920, the IADC is comprised of approximately 2,500 invitation-only, peer reviewed corporate and insurance lawyers and insurance executives. They are partners in large and small law firms, senior counsel in corporate law departments, and corporate and insurance executives. Members represent the largest corporations around the world, including the majority of companies listed in the FORTUNE 500. Nathan is presently serving as Vice Chair of the Trial Techniques and Tactics Committee and member of the 2016 annual meeting CLE steering committee.
This August, Nathan will be attending the IADC Trial Academy at Stanford University Law School in Palo Alto, CA. The IADC Trial Academy is one of the oldest and most respected programs for developing defense trial advocacy skills.
While a sophomore at Bates College, Nathan obtained his United States Coast Guard Master of Near Coastal Steam or Motor Vessels captain’s license for vessels up to 100 tons. For several summers, Nathan served as the captain of the M/V Pilgrim Explorer, a tour boat based out of Plymouth, MA. He now lives on dry land in Roslindale, MA, with his wife, Kristen Binck, a commercial real estate attorney at Nutter, McClennen & Fish, LLP, and their two daughters, Grace and Amelia.
Nathan has obtained numerous victories and favorable settlements on behalf of his clients.
On May 18, 2015, in MA Dept. of Industrial Accidents v. Eugene P. Costa v. Lewis Gammons Ins. Agency, Inc., SUCV2013-02041, Nathan obtained summary judgment on behalf of his client, a Massachusetts insurance agency, on all counts of the Third-Party Complaint. The Third-Party Plaintiff, Mr. Costa, owned a trucking company and had over 40 years of experience in interstate trucking. He alleged that the Gammons Insurance Agency negligently failed to advise Costa that his truck drivers were not, as Costa had elected to classify them, 1099 independent contractors but rather employees.
The court found that Costa’s only instruction to the agent was that he wanted his trucks to be “legal” on the road. The agent testified that although he offered to procure both a commercial automobile policy and a workers’ compensation policy, Costa refused to purchase workers compensation, claiming he did not need it because the drivers were not employees. Instead, he elected to purchase only a commercial automobile policy. Several years later, one of the drivers was injured in the course of his employment and the Massachusetts DIA was forced to provide benefits to the employee. The DIA then brought a claim against Costa for failure to purchase workers’ compensation insurance and Costa sued the agency. The Court (Ullmann, J.), held that the agent’s only duty in the circumstances was to procure commercial automobile insurance, which it did, and that the agent had no duty to obtain workers’ compensation coverage for Costa absent a specific instruction to do so.
On May 16, 2011, the Appeals Court of Massachusetts affirmed a summary judgment decision Mr. Cole obtained on behalf of his client, a restaurant franchisee. In Hampton v. Riverfront Foodservice Corp., 79 Mass. App. Ct. 1118 (2011), the Appeals Court held that expert witness testimony regarding a customer’s food allergies was necessary to establish the causation element of the customer’s negligence claim against a restaurant. Hampton, a nurse, claimed that she was allergic to Gorgonzola cheese but nevertheless ordered a gorgonzola cheese salad with walnuts — while failing to tell her server of any supposed allergy.
The plaintiff claimed she requested that the waitress substitute blue cheese for the gorgonzola and that after she took a few bites of the salad, she suffered an allergic reaction. Through discovery of the plaintiff’s medical records, it was revealed that she had treated with an allergist who told her she was likely not allergic to gorgonzola, but rather to walnuts. Defendant’s motion for summary judgment was allowed, and affirmed by the Appeals Court of Massachusetts, on the basis that plaintiff had failed to provide any expert witness testimony regarding her alleged food allergies. “Hampton’s subjective and speculative belief, that ingesting gorgonzola cheese prompted her allergic reaction, is insufficient to overcome the defendant’s motion for summary judgment.” Id. at p. 1118.
In Lopez v. Olympia & York State, Suffolk Superior Court C.A. No. 2005-02295, Mr. Cole obtained summary judgment on behalf of the defendants, a property owner and its property manager, in case in which a cleaning company’s employee claimed she slipped and fell on wet floor of lobby moments after she observed a co-worker mopping the area where she fell. Arguing that (a) defendants, who had retained services of plaintiff’s employer to clean the property, had not breached any duty owed to the plaintiff; and (b) that any alleged lack of warning of the wet floors was superfluous given the fact that the plaintiff knew the floors had recently been cleaned and were, therefore, presumably still wet and slippery, Mr. Cole obtained a complete victory for his clients and avoided the cost of trial.