Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP Attorneys Triumph in Land Court


In late December of 2020, Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP attorneys, David DeLuca and Rachel Mills, received a favorable result for the Town of Natick in the trial of Mechanic Willow LLC v. Natick Planning Board. In March 2018, the Natick Planning Board approved a site plan for a neighborhood park known as the Navy Yard, however, abutting property owner, Mechanic Willow LLC, appealed the decision to the Land Court. Litigation for this trial began in April of 2018 and continued until November of 2020. Mechanic Willow submitted their amended complaint in May 2018 containing six counts, four of which were denied within the first few months. Issues regarding standing as well as the Planning Board’s consideration of traffic, parking, and circulation proceeded to a three-day, in-person trial at the Land Court in October-November, 2020.


On December 28, 2020, the Land Court issued their decision affirming the Natick Planning Board’s decision to approve the Navy Yard site plan. As stated in the Judgement, “MW failed to offer at trial any evidence that the Board’s conclusion was arbitrary, capricious, or otherwise departed from the Board’s usual practices in reviewing vehicle and pedestrian circulation issues arising from as-of-right uses” The Court also found that Mechanic Willow failed to prove that parking is or will be inadequate in any way. After receiving the Court’s decision, Mr. DeLuca comments, “The case is noteworthy as a significant win for the Town insofar as the vigor of the litigation and the further development of standards for Site Plan Review in land use law.”


Formerly an Assistant District Attorney with the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, Mr. DeLuca handles a full spectrum of tort, contract, land use and workers’ compensation litigation matters. He is experienced in all phases of state and federal trial and appellate court advocacy and represents municipal clients regarding zoning matters at town meeting and before trial and appellate courts. Mr. DeLuca is a member of the Massachusetts, Norfolk County and Quincy Bar Associations, member for the Massachusetts Bar Association Joint Bar Committee on Judicial Appointments, and former Chairman of a regional Hearing Committee for the Board of Bar Overseers. Mr. DeLuca is a graduate of Boston College and Suffolk University Law School.


Ms. Mills’ practice is primarily focused on the areas of labor and employment law. Ms. Mills was a summer associate with the firm during law school. Since joining the firm, Ms. Mills has participated in arbitrations, negotiations of collective bargaining agreements, drafting litigation documents, and research on labor and employment matters. Ms. Mills graduated summa cum laude from Boston College in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a minor in French. She received her Juris Doctorate from Northeastern University School of Law in 2019. During law school, she held internships at the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts working with Magistrate Judge Kelley and at Veterans Legal Services in Boston.


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