Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP Attorneys Nominated by Super Lawyers Magazine
Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP would like to congratulate Katherine Hesse, Regina Williams Tate and Mary Ellen Sowyrda for being recognized as Massachusetts’ 2022 Super Lawyers, and Sarah Spatafore for being selected as a 2022 Rising Star. Attorney Hesse is a partner at the firm and was acknowledged for her proficiency in Employment & Labor law. Attorneys Tate and Sowyrda, also partners at the firm, were recognized for their expertise in Schools and Education law. Attorney Spatafore, another partner at the firm, was selected as a Rising Star for her success in Employment & Labor law. It is no surprise to the firm that these talented lawyers received recognition in their respected area of practice.
Katherine Hesse is known throughout the U.S. 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.
Mary Ellen Sowyrda heads MHTL’s Special Education Department. 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.
Gini Tate practices 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.
Sarah Spatafore focuses primarily on the labor and employment area, and handles cases within the firm’s education law practice. Ms. Spatafore has represented clients before a number of courts and administrative tribunals at both the state and federal level. She regularly conducts seminars and training programs on unlawful harassment, preventing discrimination, and a variety of other labor and employment issues. While in law school, Ms. Spatafore interned at the Massachusetts Superior Court and was a member of the Jessup International Moot Court team. Additionally, she was a co-recipient of the third year best oralist award at Boston College Law School.
We applaud Attorneys Hesse, Sowyrda, Tate and Spatafore for their hard work and look forward to future success and recognition for these dedicated attorneys.
Attorney Felicia Vasudevan, a partner at Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP, received a favorable decision on behalf of her client, Marshfield Public Schools. The Plaintiff appealed the district court’s judgement that upheld a decision of the Massachusetts Bureau of Special Education Appeals (“BSEA”). However, as the notice was filed more than 30 days after entry, the First Circuit ultimately dismissed the appeal for being untimely. The Plaintiff also appealed the district court’s order, denying her motion to vacate. Read More
Following our Alert from March 16, 2023, Civility is Dead – The Supreme Court Rules Municipal Control of Public Speak Limited to Reasonable Time/Place/Manner Restrictions, which discussed the holding to the Supreme Judicial Court’s decision in Barron v. Kolenda and the Town of Southborough (SJC-13284), we promised to bring you more detailed guidance on developing a Public Speak policy for your public body or municipality. The Barron case involved a constitutional challenge to the Town of Southborough’s public comment policy, which attempted to impose a code of civility on members of the public who participated in public comment before public bodies. In Barron, the court interpreted the state constitution to mean that public bodies may request, but not require, that public commentators be respectful and courteous. Instead, a public body may set restrictions on reasonable time, place, and manner comments to ensure that the meeting retains an orderly and peaceable manner.