Attorneys & Professionals

Doris R. MacKenzie Ehrens

TEL: (617) 479-5000
EMAIL: drmackehrens@mhtl.com

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.

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Neponset Valley Chamber of Commerce: Labor & Law Employment Update

MHTL attorneys Katherine Hesse and Kier Wachterhauser will be presenting information regarding important legal issues and developments in the Labor & Employment field at a Neponset Valley Chamber of Commerce (NVCC) event on Thursday, November 15th.  These presentations will include a comprehensive overview of major legislative/regulatory/case law developments, as well as best practices in navigating issues such as marijuana in the workplace and sexual harassment.

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Supreme Judicial Court Issues Important Decision Protecting Employers – Back Pay Awards Do Not Constitute “Wages” Under the Wage Act and Thus Are Not Subject To Trebling

In a recent decision, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC” or “Court”) declined to classify a court-ordered “back pay” award as “wages” under the Massachusetts Wage Act (“Wage Act”).   In response to a request for briefs from the Court, Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP (MHTL), on behalf of its public and private clients, submitted an amicus brief, supporting the defendant employer’s position.   The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and the New England Legal Foundation also submitted amici briefs.  This decision – a significant victory for employers – has far-reaching consequences and helps to protect employers from punitive and excessive penalties in many employment contexts.  Had the case been decided for the plaintiffs, it could have had significant ramifications for employers, extending the punitive damage scheme under the Wage Act (strict liability, treble damages, attorneys’ fees, individual liability, etc.) to a myriad of different employment contexts.

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