Frequently Asked Questions

Can I obtain legal advice from the Law Department?

The Law Department does not provide legal advice or services to the general public. The Law Department only represents City departments and employees in their official powers and duties.

 

What does the Law Department do?

The Law Department provides legal advice to the Mayor, City Council, School Committee as well as all city departments, boards and commissions on matter relating to their official powers and duties. The City Solicitor is the chief legal counsel and provides advice and legal opinions on matter of municipal concern. The Law Department litigates all civil actions on behalf of the City in all trials as well as legal proceedings in state and federal court.  

 

Can you refer me to a lawyer?

The following agencies may provide you assistance with a referral to an attorney.

Community Legal Aid

https://www.masslegalservices.org/content/community-legal-aid-springfield-0

Hampden County Bar Association

https://www.hcbar.org/for-attorneys-judiciary/lawyer-referral-information-service/

Committee for Public Counsel Services

https://www.publiccounsel.net/

Massachusetts Bar Association

https://www.massbar.org/public/lawyer-referral-service  

 

How do I file a claim against the city for property damage or personal injury?

If an individual or entity has sustained damage or is injured and believes the City of Springfield is responsible a claim form should be submitted to the Law Department. There are highly technical notice requirements governing sending notices of negligence claims to municipalities, and you should consult an attorney to protect your rights. Generally, if you intend to make a claim for personal injury or property damage under Mass. General Law Ch. 258 a claim must be made within two years of the cause of action before a civil action for damages may be brought against the City. If you intend to make a claim for personal injury or property damages based on a defect in the public way under Mass. General Law Ch. 84 you have thirty days from the date of the incident to comply with statutory requirements.

For further advice on how to move forward with your claim you should consult an attorney to protect your rights.

 

Who is the City of Springfield’s insurer?

The City is self-insured. An insurance company does not handle claims against the City claims should be submitted to the Law Department.

 

Who do I contact to report a possible code violation?

Concerns or complaints regarding possible code violations are reported to the City through our 311 system, i.e. at 413-736-3111.

 

How do I put in a request for public records?

Public records request should be submitted to the City Clerk who is the Records Access Officer for the City of Springfield. Requests may be submitted via US Mail, hand delivery or email to publicrecords@springfieldcityhall.com.  Please contact the public records custodian at 413-787-6443 if you have any question about submitting a public records request.

 

Does the City accept service on behalf of the Mayor and City Departments?

Yes, The Law Department will accept service on behalf of the Mayor as well as the police and fire department. The City Solicitor may agree to accept service for other City departments, boards or commissions. If individual employees are named, the Law Department may be able to accept service on their behalf in limited circumstances.

 

Who should I contact regarding a landlord/tenant dispute or housing issue?

The Western Division Housing Court should be contacted regarding matters involving landlords/tenants as well as all housing related issues. Please contact the Clerk’s Office and Housing Specialist Department 413-748-7838.

 

How would I file a small claims lawsuit?

Small claims cases lawsuits should be filed in Springfield District Court or the Western Division Housing Court if it relates to a housing issue. Please contact the Civil Clerk’s Office 413-747-4841.

 

Who should I contact regarding a domestic relations dispute?

The Springfield Court Services Center located in Springfield District Court can provide you with legal information on the different options available to you. The staff will assist you with one on one help filling out court forms. They also can provide contact information for community resources, legal assistance programs and social service agencies. The Springfield Court Services Center is open whenever the courts are open and their services are available to all court users. Their services can be used with or without attorneys.

 

 

If any Springfield resident fears or has been threatened with bodily injury or would like to report criminal activity they should contact the Springfield Police Department by calling 911, the community police unit 413-787-6359 or non-emergency line 413-7876302.  

Page last updated:  Thursday, August 16, 2018 07:20 pm