Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP Attorneys Nominated by Super Lawyers Magazine
Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP would like to congratulate Katherine Hesse, Mary Ellen Sowyrda, Peter Mello, and Karis North for being recognized as Massachusetts’ 2023 Super Lawyers. Attorney Hesse is a partner at the firm and was acknowledged for her proficiency in Employment & Labor law. Attorney Sowyrda, also a partner at the firm, was recognized for her expertise in Schools and Education law. Attorneys Mello and North, the firm’s newest attorneys to be recognized as Super Lawyers, were selected for their excellence in State, Local & Municipal 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.
Peter 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.
Karis North has been practicing municipal law for over fifteen years and has more than twenty-five years of experience counseling and resolving complex regulatory and land use matters for her clients. Her expertise includes all of the areas necessary to advise a municipal corporation. Ms. North is also an experienced litigator and has experience in bench and jury trials in state and federal courts, arbitrations, and administrative litigation. She engages in creative problem solving to resolve conflicts and has achieved favorable outcomes for her clients in many settings that take into account the client’s needs as well as the facts and the law underlying each matter.
We applaud Attorneys Hesse, Sowyrda, Mello and North 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.