News

Supreme Judicial Court’s Decision Agreed with Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane Attorney Regarding Tort Claims Act

 

On January 22nd, the Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) issued a decision in Magliacane v. City of Gardner which preserved key protections for municipalities facing tort claims. The SJC’s decision agreed with the arguments put forth by MHTL’s attorney Cindy Amara in an amicus brief she filed in the case on behalf of the Massachusetts Municipal Lawyers Association (“MMLA”), in support of the City of Gardner.

 

If the Court had not concluded that claims similar to those raised by the resident were governed by the Act, the financial impact on municipalities could have been catastrophic, considering the wide variety of activities a municipality offers for a fee (e.g. sports, recycling, trash removal). Murphy, Hesse Toomey & Lehane’s brief to the SJC laid out the magnitude of the financial impacts to a municipality if the Act did not apply to such “commercial” activities. For example, on the one issue, if residents were allowed to bring similar claims, the City could have been liable for more than forty-five percent of its annual budget for Fiscal Year 2020.

 

Given the important protections that the Act provides for municipalities and the potential fiscal cost that could have been imposed through this case, the SJC’s decision in Magliacane v. City of Gardner constitutes a major win for the Commonwealth and municipalities.

Latest News

Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP Partner Presents “Recent Developments in ERISA”

  Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP, Partner Katherine Hesse gave a plenary presentation on Recent Developments in ERISA on Friday September 16 to members of the Group Legal Services Association (“GLSA”) at its annual meeting in New Orleans.  Among the topics she emphasized were what employers/plan sponsors need to know in the aftermath of the Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade and lessons from the Court’s decision in Hughes and other class action litigation as to factors to consider Read More

Legal Updates

MARIJUANA REFORM BILL BECOMES LAW

On August 12, 2022, Governor Charlie Baker signed S. 3096, “An act relative to equity in the cannabis industry,” (“Act”) into law. The Act reforms Massachusetts’s existing marijuana laws, particularly with respect to host community agreements (“HCAs”), community impact fees (“CIFs”), and social consumption sites (e.g. marijuana cafes). The Act empowers the Cannabis Control Commission (“Commission”), the state regulatory agency, to exert greater control over HCAs and their CIFs. Municipalities levy CIFs on cannabis businesses to account for the costs they impose on the municipality as a result of their operations. Additionally, the Act allows municipalities to permit on-premises social consumption of marijuana at designated sites. Other notable provisions of the Act include the new Social Equity Trust Fund (“Trust Fund”), changes to the tax law regarding cannabis businesses, and various provisions concerning those persons and communities most impacted by the prior illegality of marijuana usage and sale. Governor Baker vetoed only one section of the final bill: the provision calling on the state to conduct a study of medical marijuana usage in schools.

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