Attorneys & Professionals

Karis L. North

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

Karis L. North has been practicing municipal law for the past decade, and has over twenty years of experience counseling and resolving complex regulatory and land use matters for her clients.  She is currently Town Counsel for the Town of Burlington.  Ms. North is also an experienced litigator on behalf of municipalities and municipal agencies, private parties, and non-profit organizations.  She has extensive experience in bench and jury trials in state and federal courts, arbitrations, and administrative litigation. 

Her practice encompasses counseling and advocacy on behalf of municipal governments; business and corporate clients; individuals; and non-profit organizations. These matters include regulatory and environmental counseling and enforcement, real estate transfers, general business issues, corporate transactions, compliance audits, and representation in enforcement proceedings.   Ms. North also represents municipalities in collective bargaining and in arbitrations and other proceedings, as well as in wage and hour litigation and employment litigation.  Her goal in any matter is to find the right solution for her clients.  She engages in creative problem solving to resolve conflicts and has achieved favorable outcomes for her clients in many settings that take into account the client’s needs as well as the facts and law underlying each matter.

 

Ms. North is a graduate of Cornell University and Vermont Law School, where she was the Managing Editor of The Vermont Law Review. She is an accomplished public speaker, and has presented at the MCLE annual Municipal Law Conference, and at Suffolk University’s Center for Advanced Legal Studies and Institute for Trial and Appellate Advocacy. Her advice to cities and towns on the new retail marijuana regulations was recently published in the New England Real Estate Journal, and she is a regular contributor to the Municipal Law Quarterly, a publication of the Massachusetts Municipal Lawyer’s Association.  Ms. North is member of the Vermont Law School Board of Trustees, where she Chairs the Governance Committee.   She is also active in her community as a member of the Straits Pond Watershed Association, serves as a Trustee of the Hull Public Library, and is a member of the Hull Town Meeting Study Committee.  Ms. North is admitted to practice in state and federal courts in Massachusetts and in the state of Maryland.

 

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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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