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Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP Partner Triumphs in Federal District Court

 

On February 8, 2022, in C.F. v. Scolaro et. al., the Federal District Court ruled in favor of Marshfield Public Schools (“Marshfield”) on motions for summary judgment, upholding the findings from the Bureau of Special Education Appeals. Attorney Felicia Vasudevan, a Partner at Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP, represented Marshfield throughout the case. Marshfield was among several individuals and entities being sued by the Parent of a student that attended Marshfield High School between 2019 and 2020. In the case, the Parent had unilaterally placed her child in an unapproved residential school, despite being accepted to numerous neighboring public schools.  The Court upheld that Marshfield’s proposal to send the student to neighboring school districts or collaboratives was consistent with the requirements for the student to be educated in the least restrictive environment as there was no evidence that the student could not be mainstreamed with general education peers.  The case reiterates that if the school district’s proposal provides a free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment, the parents are not entitled to reimbursement for their unilateral placements.

 

Ms. Vasudevan is an attorney in the firm’s Education Law and Special Education Law Groups, working in regular and special education issues. She represents school districts in all aspects of special education litigation, from administrative hearings at the Massachusetts Bureau of Special Education Appeals (BSEA) through all levels of judicial appeal. She represents school districts in matters of student discipline, civil rights issues, collective bargaining, public procurement, and employment issues.  Ms. Vasudevan presents workshops to both client groups and at state conferences such as the Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (MCLE). These workshops are on a variety of relevant education issues such as conducting investigations, evaluations, special education, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, state and federal student record regulations, bullying, and civil rights laws. Ms. Vasudevan received her Bachelor’s Degree from Stanford University, with a major in Public Policy and her Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School. Prior to law school, she taught high school mathematics for two years in San Jose, California, as part of Teach for America, and trained the incoming Teach for America Corps Members at Teach for America’s Summer Institute.

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Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP Partner Presents “Recent Developments in ERISA”

  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

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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