News

Three Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP Partners Accredited as New England’s 2021 Super Lawyers

 

Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP would like to congratulate Katherine Hesse, Regina Williams Tate and Mary Ellen Sowyrda for being recognized as New England’s 2021 Super Lawyers. Katherine Hesse is a partner at the firm and was acknowledged for her proficiency in Employment and Labor law. Regina Williams Tate and Mary Ellen Sowyrda are also partners at the firm and were recognized for their expertise in Schools and Education law. It is no surprise to the firm that these talented lawyers received recognition in their respected area of practice.

 

Katherine Hesse is one of the founding partners of Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP, and is known throughout The United States and Canada. Ms. Hesse concentrates her practice primarily in labor, employment and employee benefits law serving as counsel to individuals, business, government, and tax-exempt organizations including hospitals, colleges, churches, and major private and public retirement and health plans. She has litigated numerous employment and benefits cases before the state and federal trial and appellate courts, administrative agencies and arbitrators. She is also an active practitioner in all forms of alternative dispute resolution, including mediation, conciliation, fact finding and various forms of arbitration.

 

Gini Tate is a partner at Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP, practicing primarily in the areas of labor and education law. Ms. Tate participates in the collective bargaining process on behalf of her education clients. She has served as counsel to over 60 school committees and private schools, providing advice on a daily basis as well as advocacy in litigation and in hearings before administrative agencies. Ms. Tate frequently litigates issues before the Bureau of Special Education Appeals, the office for Civil Rights, the Labor Relations Commission, and arbitrators on behalf of school systems. Ms. Tate has represented school committees and superintendents at all levels of the court system, including the Supreme Judicial Court.

 

Mary Ellen Sowyrda is a partner in the firm and heads the Special Education Department within Murphy, Hesse, Toomey and Lehane, LLP.  The firm currently represents more than 125 school districts and educational collaboratives in the practice area of Special Education Law.  She is involved in all aspects of litigation and alternative dispute resolution at the Bureau of Special Education Appeals, including representing clients at hearings, settlement conferences, pre-hearing conferences and mediations.  She provides clients with daily advice on school-related legal issues including all aspects of special education, Section 504, student discipline, student records and anti-bullying laws, and deals with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and other state agencies that are associated with the provision of special education services to students.

 

We applaud Ms. Hesse, Ms. Tate and Ms. Sowyrda for their hard work and look forward to future success and recognition for these dedicated attorneys.

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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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