ATTLEBORO — Richard M. Gaboury says his family relied on an Attleboro attorney to obtain justice for his late father in a lawsuit against Texas Instruments, and his trust was violated.
His mother, 89-year-old Mary Gaboury, gave the attorney, Gail Balser, nearly $17,000 as a down payment and has no hope of getting it back, Richard Gaboury said Monday in a phone interview.
Balser, a lawyer for nearly 40 years, was disbarred in December after Gaboury’s family and another family complained to the Attorney Board of Supervisors.
The Gabourys were among two dozen former employees and the heirs of deceased Metals & Controls and Texas Instruments workers who claimed in a lawsuit that the companies failed to protect workers from radioactive materials and dangerous chemicals.
Gaboury said his father, Richard H. Gaboury, died of leukemia at the age of 58 in 1992. He worked at Metals and Controls before joining the US Air Force Texas Instruments.
Gaboury said his mother received $150,000 in compensation and medical expenses under a program authorized by Congress in 2001 to help injured or sick workers in the atomic weapons industry.
During the 1950s, company officials announced that the plant was the largest privately owned nuclear fuel manufacturer in the country.
The family hired Balser in 2015 after a meeting in Attleboro with the other plaintiffs she recruited to file a lawsuit against the companies.
“She came in a new $40,000 car,” Gaboury said. “But I thought, well, nothing breeds success like success.”
Gaboury, 68, who now lives in Granville, Vt., a small town east of Middlebury, Vt., said she went to Attleboro High School with Balser’s brother but did not know Gail Baler personally.
The Board of Bar Supervisors determined that Gail Balser used the money the Gabourys gave her for her personal use. The board also found that she used another attorney to file the lawsuit after her attorney’s license was suspended, claiming to the attorney that she was in conflict rather than disclosing the disciplinary action.
The Sun Chronicle has made repeated attempts to reach Balser. A woman who called a number listed by the board for Balser on Monday said it was the wrong number. The Sun Chronicle also left a message at a phone number listed for her in court documents, but did not receive a return call.
The Attorney Board of Supervisors said Balser did not cooperate with its investigation of the matter.
Multimillion-dollar lawsuits against Metals & Controls and Texas Instruments, filed in federal court, were dismissed or terminated in favor of the companies, according to court records.
Gaboury said another attorney told him the statute of limitations had passed to file the lawsuit.
Gaboury, who has two younger sisters, said her mother hoped to use the money to give her grandchildren an inheritance.
The Gabourys have filed a claim to recover their $17,000 advance with the Massachusetts Customer Safety Board. The board distributes funds collected from attorneys throughout the state to reimburse clients whose attorneys have stolen from them.
“We don’t expect anything to come of it,” Gaboury said. “The wind is out of our sails.”