Samantha Elliott – Nominee to the U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire

Concord based attorney Samantha Elliott is President Biden’s nominee to replace Judge Paul Barbadoro on the U.S. District Court in New Hampshire.

Background

Samantha Dowd Elliott received a B.A. cum laude from Colgate University in 1997 and a J.D. from Columbia Law School in 2006. Elliott has been at the firm of Gallagher, Callahan & Gartrell, P.C. since her graduation, and currently works as a partner.

History of the Seat

Elliott has been nominated for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire. The seat opened on March 1, 2021, with Judge Paul Barbadoro’s move to senior status. Elliott was nominated to fill the vacancy on September 30, 2021.

Legal Experience

Elliott has spent her entire career at Gallagher, Callahan & Gartrell, P.C., where she worked primarily in commercial and employment litigation, while also taking some cases involving negligence and product liability matters. Among her notable matters, Elliott represented a supermarket developer in litigation challenging a zoning variance that it received from the town of Bedford. See Hannaford Bros. Co. v. Town of Bedford, 64 A.3d 951 (N.H. 2013). The New Hampshire Supreme Court found that the petitioner challenging the variance lacked standing to bring the suit, dismissing it. See id. at 959. Elliott also represented municipalities before the First Circuit as it rejected a challenge to a law establishing a buffer zone around abortion clinics. Reddy v. Foster, 845 F.3d 493 (1st Cir. 2017).

In other matters, Elliott represented the Town of Sanbornton in defending against a suit brought by a man injured by a stun gun while allegedly fleeing during a field sobriety test. See Huckins v. McSweeney, 90 A.3d 1236 (N.H. 2014). The plaintiff sued the town and the officer for battery, among other claims, and challenged the constitutionality of a New Hampshire statute that established immunity of municipalities for certain intentional torts committed by their employees. See id. at 1239. However, the New Hampshire Supreme Court found the laws to be constitutional, and noted that this allowed the plaintiff to continue to pursue his claim against the officer directly. Id. at 1242-43. Elliott later represented the City of Concord in another challenge before the New Hampshire Supreme Court that reaffirmed the immunity officers had in intentional tort matters. See Farrelly v. City of Concord, 130 A.3d 548 (N.H. 2015).

Political Activity

Elliott has made several political contributions throughout her career, all of them to New Hampshire Democrats.

Overall Assessment

As an experienced attorney in New Hampshire state and federal courts, Elliott is likely to be well-versed in the cases she is likely to hear as a federal judge. While some may object to her work defending municipalities in suits based on officer torts, Elliott’s supporters can likely point out that her positions were ultimately affirmed unanimously by the New Hampshire Supreme Court, and that her clients were entitled to zealous representation.

3 Comments

  1. I didn’t see the following mentioned in this article which I think is important in terms of what the Biden administration is looking for in nominees… Since 2011, she has been an active member of New Hampshire Legal Assistance and the Legal Advice Referral Center and president of the board of directors from 2014 to 2017 and co-chair of the Board from 2017 to 2018. Since June 2021, she has been co-chair of the founding Board of Directors for 603 Legal Aid, an organization that provides pro bono statewide legal aid. Elliott served on its committee from 2018 to 2021.

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  2. Virginia senators send up two candidates for a Richmond area seat in EDVA.

    https://richmond.com/news/state-and-regional/two-recommended-for-federal-judge-seat-by-kaine-warner/article_e835af7f-f916-568f-85ab-8caf1772c8fd.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=user-share

    Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Hanes is by far the best choice here. She is a former public defender and consumer protection attorney, and I believe is relatively young. She would be an absolutely fantastic choice. The other candidate is an AUSA, which we don’t need any more of on the federal bench.

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    • Thank you for the article, good information. Melissa E. O’Boyle (Born around 1976) seems like your standard run of the mill nominee. I would agree with Shawn, Elizabeth W Hanes (Seems to be born in the early 1980’s) being a former federal defender for about 8 years would seem to be the front runner out of the two.

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