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.
Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP is proud to announce that Attorney Kathryn Murphy, a Partner at the firm, has been selected as a Top Women of Law 2022 honoree by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. The honorees are selected based upon their “ significant contributions to the legal profession while also serving as role models for women entering the law.” Ms. Murphy is the first attorney at the firm to receive this prestigious honor. She has been practicing law at Read More
On August 10, 2022, Chapter 177 of Acts of 2022, “An Act Addressing Barriers to Care for Mental Health” was signed by Governor Baker. For public schools, it has impacts on student discipline, special education services, and emergency response plans. The bill goes into effect on November 8, 2022. Set forth below are summaries of the new law’s impact in the identified areas.