Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP
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Ms. Amara practices in the areas of litigation, municipal and land use law. She has represented municipalities in all phases of municipal law and litigation. She regularly advises clients on a wide range of environmental, zoning, planning, conservation, wetlands, personnel issues, contracts, licensing, telecommunications, procurement, eminent domain, licensing, town meeting and governance issues. She has counseled government officials and boards regarding their obligations under state ethics laws, public records laws and the Open Meeting Law. Ms. Amara has litigated numerous cases before the Massachusetts state and federal trial and appellate courts and administrative agencies
Mr. Bateman practices in the areas of business and commercial real estate law. He represents privately-owned businesses ranging in size from small start-ups to middle market companies, including both for-profit and non-profit organizations, and across a number of industries. He regularly advises business owners and executives on a wide range of matters, including business entity selection and formation, governance, contract and lease negotiation, data security, intellectual property rights, debt and equity financing, and mergers and acquisitions. He also advises clients with regard to various commercial real estate matters, including the purchase and sale, leasing, and financing of commercial property.
Mr. Bresnahan practices in the areas of labor and employment, education, and municipal law. Mr. Bresnahan has negotiated collective bargaining agreements on behalf of numerous municipalities and school committees, and has represented public employers before the courts of the Commonwealth, in arbitrations, and in a wide variety of administrative proceedings before various agencies, including the Division of Labor Relations, the Civil Service Commission, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, and the Joint Labor-Management Committee. He advises public employers in various aspects of employment law, including: compliance with federal and state discrimination statutes, the Family and Medical Leave Act; the Fair Labor Standards Act; and Chapter 32B of the Massachusetts General Laws, the public insurance law statute. Among his notable experience, Mr. Bresnahan worked on the successful resolution of a strike by a teachers’ union, including filing a strike petition with the former Labor Relations Commission and working closely with the labor commissioners to craft and obtain a preliminary injunction and contempt order in Superior Court. Mr. Bresnahan has also successfully negotiated an agreement for the transfer of a municipality’s approximately one thousand (1000) employees to the Commonwealth’s Group Insurance Commission for healthcare coverage, and has successfully obtained a preliminary injunction on behalf of a school district in Superior Court.
Thomas Colomb provides ongoing counsel to employers on a wide range of labor and employment matters, including: negotiation and administration of collective bargaining agreements; personnel policies and employee handbooks; workplace investigations and fact finding; compliance with disability and leave statutes; preventing and responding to sexual harassment and workplace violence; unemployment insurance claims; and all manner of discrimination claims.
Ms. De Oliveira is an associate attorney with the firm, maintaining a general practice. Ms. De Oliveira devotes much of her practice providing regular guidance and counseling to public retirement boards, and to counseling employers regarding an array of issues, including employee benefit plans. She represents employers in arbitration and litigation of employment related disputes, including discrimination, sexual harassment and wrongful termination, before state court and administrative agencies, such as the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.
Formerly an Assistant District Attorney with the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, Mr. DeLuca handles a full spectrum of tort, contract, land use and workers’ compensation litigation matters. He is experienced in all phases of state and federal trial and appellate court advocacy, having handled administrative law judge, bench and jury trials including personal injury, product liability, domestic litigation, zoning and tax disputes, insurance litigation, workers’ compensation claims and civil rights violations. Mr. DeLuca advises building inspectors and planning directors on zoning, tax enforcement and tax title recovery matters. He represents municipal clients regarding zoning matters at town meeting and before trial and appellate courts. Mr. DeLuca also handles all phases of workers’ compensation litigation for self-insured municipal clients and is a frequent participant in continuing legal education seminars on workers’ compensation and related municipal/labor matters. Mr. DeLuca is a member of the Massachusetts, Norfolk County and Quincy Bar Associations, member for the Massachusetts Bar Association Joint Bar Committee on Judicial Appointments, and former Chairman of a regional Hearing Committee for the Board of Bar Overseers. Mr. DeLuca is also a former instructor with the Northeastern University College of Criminal Justice. Mr. DeLuca is a graduate of Boston College and Suffolk University Law School.
Dr. Charles Desmond is a member of the MHTL Advisory Board, advising on matters in private, non-profit, public, and educational areas. Dr. Desmond has broad and extensive experience at the senior-most levels of government, higher education, philanthropy, and in non-governmental agencies. His leadership accomplishments range from chairing the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education to initiating multi-layered corporate and philanthropic engagements in local, regional and national educational initiatives. As a policy analyst and senior advocacy expert, Dr. Desmond has four decades of direct experience working at the local and national level and has developed an expansive knowledge of diverse sectors, including banking and financial services, life sciences, and equity and diversity matters in the academic and corporate sectors.
Ms. Ehrens has forty years' experience in civil litigation, including special education, public sector, commercial/corporate, bankruptcy, personal injury (plaintiff and defense), employment litigation, and multiemployer trust fund litigation. She has extensive experience in federal and state, trial and appellate courts. Ms. Ehrens is admitted to practice in Massachusetts and Alaska, the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, the United States District Court for the District of Alaska, and the United States Courts of Appeals for the First and Ninth Circuits. She has appeared in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Districts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, the United States District Court for the Districts of Connecticut and Western Michigan, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and the New Hampshire Supreme Court. She has also appeared before various state administrative agencies including the Bureau of Special Education Appeals, Housing Appeals Committee, the Appellate Tax Board, the Division of Administrative Law Appeals, and the Massachusetts Committee Against Discrimination. She was associate editor of the legal update of a quarterly periodical for many years, has taught business law in a MBA program, and has training in mediation. Selected as a Super Lawyer in 2004, Attorney Ehrens currently focuses her practice in the special education and municipal/town counsel areas. She has been practicing since 1977, after receiving her J.D. from the University of Denver, College of Law.
With nearly fifteen years of criminal practice as an Assistant District Attorney in both Essex and Suffolk Counties, Matthew Feeney is a senior associate in our litigation department. Mr. Feeney’s areas of focus include general litigation, advising employers on public safety related matters, providing internal reviews and/or investigations for both public and private sector clients, and criminal defense, including white collar defense.
Mr. Flynn has served as Town Counsel for thirty years to the Town of Natick, and has served as Town Counsel to the Town of Milton for twenty-two years. He represents these towns in all phases of municipal law including litigation, environmental matters, zoning, personnel issues, contracts, licensing, eminent domain, and the entire spectrum of town meeting issues. Mr. Flynn also has provided general counsel and special counsel services for over twenty years to many towns and school committees for general and litigation matters. He is a member of the Massachusetts City Solicitors and Town Counsel Association. He has lectured at educational seminars sponsored by the Massachusetts Selectmen’s Association. A seasoned trial attorney with extensive success in civil jury and non-jury trials before Massachusetts and federal courts, Mr. Flynn also has developed an expertise in real estate and contract law. Mr. Flynn is a graduate of Boston College and the Georgetown University Law Center, and he served in the Vietnam War with the United States Navy.
Brian Fox is an associate practicing in the area of employee benefits and labor and employment law. Mr. Fox devotes much of his practice to counseling public retirement boards, health and welfare trust funds in both the public and private sectors, and employers with employee benefit plans with regard to the myriad of issues that face such benefit plans. He deals regularly with matters arising out of Massachusetts public pension law as well as federal statues affecting employee benefits, such as ERISA, HIPAA and COBRA. In the course of his practice, Mr. Fox has successfully represented clients in court, arbitration and state adjudicative settings.
Lauren Galvin practices in the areas of litigation and municipal law. Ms. Galvin has successfully represented municipal clients at a variety of court proceedings including injunction hearings, civil contempt hearings, dispositive motion hearings and trials in the Superior Court and Land Court. She conducts all states of litigation including initiation, discovery, trial preparation and appeals. Recently, Ms. Galvin successfully argued the landmark case at the Supreme Judicial Court which established the standard of review for Conservation Commission enforcement actions and established the standard for extending deadlines set by the Wetlands Protection Act. Additionally, Ms. Galvin regularly advises municipal clients on a wide range of issues that arise in the context of land use, eminent domain, local legislation, elections, public records requests, open meetings, conflicts of interest, trustee process, bankruptcy, licensing and contracts.
Mr. Graham is a managing partner with Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP and directs the firm’s corporate and commercial law practice areas. Mr. Graham has over thirty-five years experience in corporate organization, commercial contracting, business acquisition and sales, license and royalty agreements, intellectual property protection, commercial financing (bank, private placement and venture), commercial real estate acquisition, sale, leasing and construction, as well as general business counseling and advice. He has served as an arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association and has been a director for various charitable organizations, including Holyoke Hospital, South Shore Economic Development Corporation, Academy Hill Center for Gifted Children and is a member of the Governing Board of the South Shore Athena Powerlink program, a mentoring program for woman owned businesses. Mr. Graham is also an authorized agent for First American Title Insurance Company and Old Republic Title Insurance Company. He also has extensive commercial litigation experience having appeared before the Massachusetts Superior Court, Massachusetts Appeals Court, Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts and the US District Court for the Districts of Massachusetts and Connecticut. Mr. Graham is a graduate of Wesleyan University of Connecticut and received his J.D. cum laude from Suffolk University Law School.
Katherine Hesse is one of the founding partners of Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP. Ms. Hesse concentrates her practice primarily in labor and employment and employee benefits law serving as counsel to individuals, business, government, and tax exempt organizations including hospitals, colleges, churches, and major private and public retirement and health plans. She has litigated numerous employment and benefits cases before the state and federal trial and appellate courts, administrative agencies and arbitrators. She is also an active practitioner in all forms of alternative dispute resolution, including mediation, conciliation, fact finding and various forms of arbitration.
Mr. Lehane has spent most of his forty year legal career in labor and employment law and public sector work. Mr. Lehane serves as the Town Counsel to the Towns of Bedford, Danvers, and Norwood. He has served as special counsel to municipalities and school committees on litigation matters, and he serves as labor counsel to a number of municipalities and other public entities. Mr. Lehane has handled a variety of public sector matters including land use and zoning, eminent domain, environmental protection, licensure, construction contract disputes, housing authority acquisitions and employment and labor relations issues. He is admitted to practice before all Massachusetts courts, the Federal District Court of Massachusetts, the United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court. Mr. Lehane is a graduate of Boston University and the Boston University School of Law.
Mr. Maccaro’s practice is focused on the areas of labor and employment in the public and private sector, litigation, and employee benefits. Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Maccaro served as Associate General Counsel for a large public sector labor union. He has litigated numerous matters, and has argued before various state courts, appellate courts, and administrative agencies throughout New England. Mr. Maccaro has served as an Adjunct Professor at the Massachusetts School of Law where he has taught legal writing and appellate advocacy. Following law school, Mr. Maccaro served as a Law Clerk to the Justices of the Superior Court.
Mr. Mangiaratti’s practice is concentrated in the areas of real estate, municipal law, land use, and litigation in those areas. He has served as City Solicitor for the City of Attleboro and as a Town Counsel to various municipalities. In his capacity as general counsel to these municipalities he is often involved in complex land use and construction litigation. Mr. Mangiaratti also provides advice and representation to public officials on a very wide range of legal matters including municipal finance, eminent domain, licensing, contracts, procurement, municipal utilities, ethics and zoning. For private clients Mr. Mangiaratti handles complex real estate transactions, land use permitting, leasing and litigation involving interests in real estate.
Mr. Murphy's legal career emphasizes management labor, corporate and litigation matters. Selected in the publication of Best Lawyers in America, Mr. Murphy represents many large and small businesses, including Fortune 500 corporations, and serves as counsel to a variety of trade associations as well as major governmental agencies in all areas of labor and employment law. Mr. Murphy has presented and argued hundreds of cases including labor and employment matters in proceedings at the administrative, state and federal levels. He has successfully argued labor and employment cases at both the state and federal levels, including the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts.
Ms. Murphy practices labor and employment law, emphasizing wage and hour, employment discrimination, employment contracts, and related litigation. Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Murphy served three years with the Office of the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Ms. Murphy worked two years as an Assistant Attorney in the Fair Labor Division where she handled criminal and administrative enforcement of labor laws including wage and hour, public construction, health and safety, child labor, unemployment taxation, and workers' compensation insurance. Before joining the Fair Labor Division, Ms. Murphy worked in the Attorney General's Public Protection area where she provided specialized financial support in fraud cases.
Karis L. North is an experienced litigator, with a focus on complex business litigation and an expertise in environmental law and policy. Her practice encompasses counseling and advocacy on behalf of business and corporate clients; municipal governments; and non-profit organizations. These matters include general business issues, corporate transactions, real estate transfers, compliance audits, and representation in enforcement proceedings. Ms. North has a proven track record of partnering with clients and counsel to achieve successful outcomes in all stages of state and federal litigation, administrative proceedings, and transactions. She engages in creative problem solving to resolve conflicts, and has achieved favorable outcomes for her clients in many settings, including successful negotiation of settlement agreements, and, in the environmental context, successful negotiations of penalties.
Nan O’Neill - Ms. O’Neill is Senior Counsel in the law firm of Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane. Her emphasis is in labor and employment law. She has extensive experience in litigation and arbitration of employment related disputes, including discrimination, sexual harassment and wrongful termination matters, before state and federal courts and administrative agencies such as the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. Ms. O’Neill also represents clients in collective bargaining negotiations. She counsels clients on a day-to-day basis on employment related matters. Additionally, Ms. O’Neill frequently conducts training sessions on topical legal issues such as disability, FMLA, and other emerging legal trends. She has also authored several articles on subjects which include discrimination, drug testing, and legal updates. She was previously associated with the Boston law firm of Goodwin, Procter and Hoar and the Chicago law firm of Wildman, Harrold, Allen and Dixon. Ms. O’Neill is a graduate of Boston College and the Georgetown University Law Center, where she served as Articles and Notes Editor of the American Criminal Law Review and received awards for outstanding work in the study of labor law.
Mr. Rhodes received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa where he was a University Honors Scholar. In 1992, Mr. Rhodes received his. J.D. from the University of Iowa, College of Law graduating with distinction, and serving as a member of the Iowa Law Review. Mr. Rhodes served as an Assistant Utah Attorney General, where he received the State of Utah Award for outstanding service. He has also served as a prosecutor and most recently served as counsel for the Cambridge Health Alliance and has appeared extensively before the EEOC, the MCAD, and the UADD (Utah’s equivalent to MCAD), as well as before state and federal courts in Utah and Massachusetts. In addition, Mr. Rhodes has testified and argued before legislative subcommittees on labor and employment issues. Mr. Rhodes concentrates in litigation, labor and employment benefits law with both private and public sector clients.
Ms. Sherwood is an attorney in the Education Law Group at Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane. She primarily represents clients in regular and special education matters. Ms. Sherwood received her bachelor’s degree from the University of California at San Diego and her Juris Doctor degree from Vanderbilt Law School. While in law school, Ms. Sherwood participated in a domestic violence and family law clinic and spent her summers prosecuting criminal cases in the District Attorney’s Offices in Nashville, TN and San Francisco, CA. After her admission to the Massachusetts Bar in November of 2013, Ms. Sherwood successfully litigated on behalf of various state agencies as a Special Assistant Attorney General before the Massachusetts Superior Court. Subsequently, she litigated Care and Protection and Child Requiring Assistance cases on behalf of indigent clients before the Massachusetts Juvenile and Appeals Courts. As the trial and interlocutory appeals attorney, she was partially responsible for the father’s successful appeal in Supreme Judicial Court case, Care and Protection of Walt.
Ms. Sowyrda is a partner at the firm and heads the Special Education Department within Murphy, Hesse, Toomey and Lehane, LLP, which currently represents approximately 160 school districts and educational collaboratives in the field of Special Education Law. She is involved in all aspects of litigation including hearings, mediations, pre-hearing conferences with the Bureau of Special Education Appeals and court cases. She provides clients with daily advice on school-related legal issues and deals with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Bureau of Special Education Appeals, and other state agencies that involve the provision of special education services to students. She conducts workshops for clients on such special education topics as discipline, inclusion, procedural issues, strategies to avoid hearings and to prepare for hearings, recent trends in the law, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act and ongoing changes in regulations. Ms. Sowyrda also conducts workshops on these same topics before national groups such as Lorman Education Services, Inc., and the National Business Institute. Ms. Sowyrda is a Phi Beta Kappa summa cum laude graduate of Boston College and a graduate of Boston College Law School. She is a member of the Massachusetts Bar Associations and the American Bar Association, and has been named a Super Lawyer by Boston Magazine for 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.
Ms. Spatafore is an associate attorney with the firm. She practices primarily in the labor and employment area, representing both public and private clients. Ms. Spatafore also handles education issues. Ms. Spatafore has represented clients before a number of courts and administrative tribunals at both the state and federal level. She regularly conducts seminars and training programs on unlawful harassment, preventing discrimination, and a variety of other labor and employment issues. Ms. Spatafore has completed all the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination-certified “Train-the-Trainer” courses.
Ms. Tate has been practicing law since 1978. She practices primarily in the areas of labor and education law. Her practice in the area of education covers the spectrum of issues related to education including student discipline, special education, Education Reform, due process rights of teachers and other school employees, and other employment matters, academic freedom and civil rights. She also participates in the collective bargaining process on behalf of her education clients. She has served as counsel to over 60 school committees and private schools, providing advice on a daily basis as well as advocacy in litigation and in hearings before administrative agencies. Ms. Tate frequently litigates issues before the Bureau of Special Education Appeals, the office for Civil Rights, the Labor Relations Commission, and arbitrators on behalf of school systems. Ms. Tate has represented school committees and superintendents at all levels of the court system, including the Supreme Judicial Court, in key decisions on teacher tenure, the right of a district court judge to order a special education, residential placement, due process rights of principals and assistant principals in a reorganization and the appropriateness of a school-based IEP. She also has conducted numerous workshops and seminars on educational issues such as developments in special education, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, teacher evaluation, teacher and administrator liability and student discipline.
Town Counsel to the Towns of Hanover and Scituate, and general counsel to a number of other municipal entities as well as general counsel to a number of school committees and private schools, Mr. Toomey's practice focuses on municipal, education, corporate and labor matters and related litigation. A veteran in the field of municipal law and education law, Mr. Toomey's expertise covers the full range of legal matters affecting municipalities including land use and zoning, environmental and public health issues, licensing, procurement, labor and employment, public education, and related litigation. He is a Past President of the City Solicitors and Town Counsel Association and a member of the National School Board Association's Council of School Attorneys and the School Attorneys Group of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees. Mr. Toomey has successfully represented clients in significant appellate cases before both the state and federal courts. In addition, he conducts seminars and workshops on a variety of legal topics. Mr. Toomey is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross and Boston College Law School.
Mr. Wachterhauser represents public- and private-sector clients. He regularly represents clients in labor and employment matters. He also advises public-sector clients in matters related to public law, and maintains a general litigation practice. Mr. Wachterhauser has extensive experience counseling clients in employment-related matters, drafting policies and contracts, and representing clients in litigation, including discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, and wage and hour disputes before federal and state courts and administrative bodies.
General counsel to a number of towns and school committees, Mr. Waugh's practice focuses on education and municipal law, with an emphasis labor and employment matters. Mr. Waugh works with and advises employers on various employment matters including hiring, discipline and termination issues, drafting severance agreements, FMLA and ADA issues, and compliance with other state and federal discrimination and/or civil rights laws. Mr. Waugh has extensive experience negotiating and drafting collective bargaining agreements, and he defends employers in grievance arbitrations and unfair labor practice charges on a regular basis. He has represented clients at the trial and appellate level in state court and before a broad range of administrative agencies. He also regularly conducts seminars and workshops for clients on a variety of legal topics. Mr. Waugh currently serves on the Finance Committee for the Town of Dover, MA. Mr. Waugh began his career as a judicial law clerk to the Justices of the New Hampshire Superior Court. Mr. Waugh is a graduate of Middlebury College and Suffolk University Law School. He is a member of the Massachusetts and New Hampshire Bar Associations and is admitted to practice law in the state and federal courts in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
Mr. Wermuth emphasizes labor and employment related matters and general litigation. He is admitted to practice before all Massachusetts courts, the Federal District Court of Massachusetts, and the First and Fourth Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal. Mr. Wermuth represents private and public labor and municipal clients before administrative bodies such as the National Labor Relations Board, Massachusetts Division of Labor Relations, courts at the state and federal level, and in mediations and arbitrations. Mr. Wermuth is a cum laude graduate of both the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Boston College Law School.
On February 13, 2018, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rejected PERAC’s contention that sick or vacation payments, when used to supplement workers’ compensation payments, are “regular compensation” as defined in M.G.L. c. 32, § 1.