Legal Briefs: News From Around NH

OSHA fines Keene company more than $18k in employee's death, U.S. attorney’s DeVincent wins Superior Performance award … and more

OSHA fines Keene company more than $18K in employee’s death

A Keene electrical company was fined more than $18,000 after being cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration with several “serious” violations in connection with an employee’s death at Keene’s wastewater treatment plant in North Swanzey last August, OSHA records indicate.

Michael Knicely, an Alstead resident and employee of Hamblet Electric, died by electrocution when reaching into an energized switch gear operating at 480 volts, according to the records.

OSHA initially fined the Keene company $27,680 on Jan. 19, but informal settlements on Feb. 25 reduced the total to $18,500. The agency reported the case closed on April 26, and U.S. Department of Labor public affairs specialist Ted Fitzgerald said the company paid the fines in full.

In total, OSHA records list four “serious” violations found in the agency’s investigation. The records cite the corresponding regulations, and include the initial and settled fines to the company, but don’t otherwise elaborate on OSHA’s findings.

McLane Middleton to host “What’s Her Story” event

Maria Proulx Headshot

Maria Proulx

Maria Proulx president of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in New Hampshire, will be the featured guest at the next edition of McLane Middleton’s “What’s Her Story,” a networking series featuring successful business women. The event will take place on May 31, 2023 at McLane Middleton’s Manchester office.

Proulx will join attorney Linda Johnson for a chat discussing her 16-year journey in the healthcare industry.

“What’s Her Story” is an initiative of McLane Middleton’s Women in Business Group, which was created to offer opportunities for professional growth, career goals, business development, and personal satisfaction. The long-running series features women entrepreneurs, CEOs, and other executive positions.

To register for the free event, visit

DeVincent wins Superior Performance award

Philip A. DeVincent, administrative officer at the U.S. Attorney’s office in New Hampshire, recently earned a Director’s Award for his service. He was presented the award in a May 3 ceremony in Washington.

He won the Superior Performance in Administration award for his leadership in managing staff and providing excellent customer service through the pandemic. Among other efforts, DeVincent facilitated remote work to keep federal prosecutors and support staff healthy and developed a system to test out-of-state witnesses for Covid before their court appearances.

His administrative skills served as a model for all federal employees, said U.S. Attorney Jane E. Young.

“Phil DeVincent was the standard bearer for office administration during an unprecedented period in our nation,” said Young. “His leadership skills and creative thinking ensured that the daily operations of the office continued during the pandemic, so that the people of the district of New Hampshire had the highest level of performance and response from the United States Attorney’s Office.”

NH Supreme Court hearing oral arguments redistricting challenge

Terie Norelli

Terie Norelli

The NH Supreme Court was scheduled today to hear oral arguments in the case Brown v. Scanlan, an ongoing legal challenge to state’s NH Senate and Executive Council maps.

The case Brown vs. Scanlan was dismissed by a superior court judge late last year, and appealed to the Supreme Court.

The plaintiffs, a group that includes former Democratic House Speaker Terie Norelli, claim the redrawn districts approved by the Republican-controlled legislature, were gerrymandered to give the GOP a majority in the Senate and Executive Council. The state’s brief claims the plaintiffs have not proven the issue should be before the court, and similar cases has been turned down by other courts.

Salem man who sought race war sentenced to 18 months

A Salem man who expressed a desire to start a race war, was sentenced May 10 in federal court to 18 months in prison for the unlawful possession of machine guns.

Kyle Morris, 23, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Samantha D. Elliott to 18 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Morris was also ordered to pay a fine of $1,000. He pleaded guilty in January.

He was also ordered to forfeit to the government two machine guns seized during the execution of a search warrant of his home.

The machine guns were kept in a locked gun room that also contained more than 20 other firearms and Nazi paraphernalia, including a Nazi uniform, two Nazi flags and a framed photo of Hitler, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s office.

“The defendant expressed an interest in perpetrating horrific acts of violence against racial and religious minorities,” said U.S. Attorney Jane Young. “Those beliefs coupled with his illegal possession of machine guns pose a danger to our communities, and today’s sentence sends a clear message that such conduct will result in not only a felony conviction but in incarceration.”

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