Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP Attorney Triumphs in Mask Mandate Lawsuit
On November 16, 2021 a Judge ruled in favor of Attorney Peter Mello of Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP and his clients in a lawsuit regarding mask mandates in Massachusetts schools. The Plaintiff’s filed a preliminary injunction in hopes of barring the Defendants’ from enforcing mask mandates on students while in school. They argued that “the defendants lacked authority to issue and implement the mask mandates, that the mandates violate parents’ constitutional rights to make decisions regarding their children’s health, and that mask wearing is ineffective and harms children.” After hearing from the Plaintiff’s experts and past cases, the Judge ultimately denied the motion for preliminary injunction. The case made headlines in several local papers and highlighted the Judge’s strong criticism of the Plaintiff’s arguments, for example he described their argument as being “premised upon nonauthoritative cases as well as thin and heavily contradicted evidence.” He went on to provide some case examples of his own, comparing the mask mandates to previous cases at “the intersection of schools and public health, such as a 1905 challenge to requiring smallpox vaccinations.”
Mr. Mello focuses his practice in municipal law and general civil litigation, including in the areas of construction, land use and zoning, wetlands and school law, among others. He has advised private clients and governmental entities alike regarding myriad and diverse issues, including employment, energy-related issues, licensing, procurement, public records, meeting procedures, conflict of interest, and many others. He practices routinely before state and federal courts and state agencies in Massachusetts and has written and presented extensively on wetlands, construction and labor issues for organizations such as REBA, the Massachusetts School Building Authority, the Massachusetts Municipal Lawyers Association and the Massachusetts Bar Association. Mr. Mello was recognized as a Rising Star by New England Super Lawyers magazine in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
Mr. Mello earned his B.A. in Politics, with a Certificate in Legal Studies from Brandeis University and is a graduate of Boston University School of Law. While at Boston University School of Law, he served as a staff editor of the American Journal of Law and Medicine. He is admitted to practice in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts and the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.
A Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP client was unanimously granted a special permit by the Zoning Board of Appeals to allow the conversion of the St. Joseph-St. Therese Church rectory into a group residence facility for young women. The owners of the building, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fall River, are represented by Attorney Peter McNulty from MHTL. The rectory building originally closed in October 2021, and was used to house Parrish priests. Mr. McNulty reported that the Read More
The Supreme Court Blocks OSHA Vaccination and Testing Requirements but Upholds HHS Vaccination Requirements
On January 13, 2022, the United States Supreme Court issued a “stay” that prevents OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”) from taking effect for the time being. On the same day, the Supreme Court also issued a “stay” that allows the Health and Human Services (“HHS”) mandatory COVID-19 vaccination rule for all Medicare and Medicaid funded facilities to go into effect. Given that both of these rulings involved applications for preliminary or emergency relief, neither of them represents the final word on the enforceability of the vaccine and/or testing mandates, and additional litigation is a certainty as the lower courts further evaluate the legality of the mandates.