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

Dr. Charles Desmond’s Tribute to John Lewis

Dr. Desmond’s first encounter with John Lewis was at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963. At just 18 years old he was one of roughly 250,000 people from across America who gathered at the nation’s capital to attend the infamous march where, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his emotional and prophetic “I Have a Dream” speech. Among other notables who spoke, Desmond recalls that a young, 23-year-old John Lewis delivered a moving and emotional call for racial and economic justice and passage of overdue civil rights legislation.

Legal Updates

National Labor Relations Board Changes Legal Approach to Employee’s Use of Profane, Racist, and Sexually Harassing Speech in Protected Activity

On July 21, 2020, the National Labor Relations Board (“the Board”) changed its analysis towards an employee’s use of verbally offensive behavior in the context of protected activity under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (“the Act” or “NLRA”) in the following decision: General Motors, LLC, No. 14-CA-197985, 369 NLRB No. 127 (2020).

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