Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane Attorneys Find Favorable Decision for Swampscott Public Schools
Murphy, Hesse, Toomey and Lehane attorneys Mary Ellen Sowyrda, Doris Ehrens, and Felicia Vasudevan worked together in receiving a favorable decision for Swampscott at the BSEA and District Court. Mary Ellen handled the BSEA litigation, Doris Ehrens completed all of the pleadings in District Court, and Felicia Vasudevan delivered the oral argument.
Swampscott Public School (“Swampscott”), along with the Bureau of Special Education Appeals (“BSEA”) had an appeal filed against them (collectively, “Defendants”) by the Parents of a minor, G.D., requesting a summary judgement. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”), all schools are required to provide eligible students with a free and appropriate public education (“FAPE”). The Plaintiffs argued that Swampscott did not provide FAPEto the student, G.D, even after being evaluated and approved for special education services. The Parents held firm on their belief that G.D. needed to keep attending a private special education school. Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP, a firm that represents over one hundred school districts across Massachusetts, represented Swampscott in this litigation.
At age 7 G.D. was diagnosed with “a significant language-based learning disability, encompassing ‘double-deficit’ dyslexia and dysgraphia as well as some related difficulties with expressive language”. G.D. was evaluated and qualified for the special education services in Swampscott. The Parents, however, wanted to be reimbursed by Swampscott for G.D. tuition at a private school, as they did not believe Swampscott had the resources that G.D. needed to excel. Swampscott provided G.D. with an IEP, and began second grade at Swampscott in September 2017. The Hearing Officer stated “the overwhelming weight of the evidence is that Swampscott developed five successive IEPs that responded to Student’s special needs, increasing services as the extent of those needs became clearer.”
The Parents then argued that the Hearing Officer erred in the determination that G.D. was offered a FAPE by Swampscott, claiming that the student’s rate of gains did not satisfy the Endrew F. ex rel. Joseph F. v. Douglas Cty. Sch. Dist. RE-1 decision.,
The District Court concluded that the student’s progress in Swampscott was appropriate in light of the circumstances as the Hearing Officer held and denied the Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgement, finding for Swampscott and the BSEA.
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
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.