December 18, 2013: Attorney Jonathan Silverstein will be a speaker at the Massachusetts Continuing Education Program “Surrounding Community Agreements Under the Massachusetts Gaming Act, ” to be held at the MCLE Conference Center from 9:00 AM - noon at 10 Winter Place, Boston, and available by webcast for viewing at the same time. This program will focus on tips and possible pitfalls in negotiating with casino applicants and navigating the Massachusetts Gaming Commission process under the new Expanded Gaming Act. Jonathan is highly qualified to advise clients about this new area of the law, since he has already represented 16 municipalities for negotiation of their surrounding community agreements, and has fully completed the negotiation process leading to the execution of advantageous agreements for a number of surrounding communities. Jonathan also has the unique perspective of having represented a number of potential host communities in negotiating with casino developers, resulting in the execution of five host community agreements. For more information about the seminar, click HERE.
January 14, 2014: Attorney Janet Pumphrey will be a speaker at the Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education seminar “Effective Appellate Advocacy, Doing More With Less.” This event is presented live and by webcast, and is aimed at assisting attorneys by acknowledging the financial hardships for all participants in the appellate system which have been created by the current economic climate, and will present methods for working within such limitations so as to accomplish justice. The distinguished panel of presenters also includes five judges from the Massachusetts Appeals Court and the Supreme Judicial Court.
Please note that due to circumstances beyond our control, the webinar on public and private ways scheduled for Thursday, October 3rd, will be rescheduled. As soon as the new date for this webinar is established, we will post a notice here of the date, send out a new eBulletin announcing the new date, and notify by e-mail those who registered for the October 3rd webinar directly.
November, 2013: The latest edition of the Massachusetts Law Review has published Attorney Janet Pumphrey’s reviews of two recent books on writing. Both books are valuable reading for all writers of legal documents and decisions, but provide useful guidance, as well, to readers and writers of all writing, legal and otherwise. The excerpts and comments by Attorney Pumphrey are valuable in and of themselves. The first book reviewed, “Point Made: How to Write Like the Nation’s Top Advocates,” by legal writing expert Ross Guberman, is specifically directed at the legal community, and advances fifty rules for clearer, more creative legal writing. The second book review is of “How to Write a Sentence: and How to Read One,” by literary theorist and law professor Stanley Fish, is of broader interest to all writers of any type, and Attorney Pumphrey’s review explains how this book dissects the basic element of all writing, the sentence, and breaks down this book’s instruction as to how to construct a good sentence.
September 3, 2013: After a six day trial in Newburyport Superior Court, Attorneys Gregg Corbo and Jeffrey Blake successfully defended the Town of Essex against claims for compensation based on allegations that Town officials fraudulently induced tenants to build cottages on Town-owned land. The plaintiffs were a group of tenants who occupy portions of Town-owned property in a waterfront area known as "Conomo Point." Although the Town leased the property to the tenants at nominal rents for many years, they claimed the Town owed them compensation for the value of the cottages at the end of these leases, on a theory that the Town misled them into believing their leases would be forever renewed. The Court sided with the Town and found the sole remedy available to each tenant is the right to remove the cottage at the end of the lease, but only if the cottage is not attached to the Town's land. In the latter case, the Court ruled that the tenants are entitled to nothing. With over 100 expiring leases at issue, the efforts of Attorneys Corbo and Blake assisted the Town in avoiding more than one million dollars in liability.
July 22, 2013: the Attorney General issued a significant decision on a proposed Town of Westborough zoning bylaw amendment regulating medical marijuana-related uses. The decision includes important guidance to municipalities regarding the limits of permissible zoning regulation on registered marijuana dispensaries and hardship cultivation. To read the decision of the Attorney General on the Westborough zoning bylaw amendment, click HERE.
June 6, 2013: Plainville Asphalt Corp. v. Town of Plainville, 83 Mass.App.Ct. 710 (2013): in a complicated and vigorously litigated case regarding the status of bituminous concrete production operation, the plaintiff appealed the decision of the Land Court on cross-motions for summary judgment that the operation was not permitted as-of-right under the Town of Plainville Zoning Bylaws and not protected as a pre-existing nonconforming use under G.L. c.40A §6. In a noteworthy victory for municipalities, the Appeals Court ruled that an ongoing commercial operation could not be grandfathered through from an amendment to the Zoning Bylaws to allow the termination of legal pre-existing nonconforming uses not only upon abandonment, but also upon the mere discontinuance of the pre-existing nonconforming use. In doing so, the Appeals Court rejected the plaintiff's request to extend to commercial uses the Supreme Court's ruling in Rourke v. Rothman, 448 Mass. 190 (2007) that residential lots could be protected from amendments to the grandfathering provisions of local zoning bylaws.
June 2013: Attorney Patricia Cantor's article entitled, "Medical Marijuana Law - What We Know Since the November Election" was published in the June 2013 issue of the Massachusetts Lawyers Journal, a publication of the Massachusetts Bar Association. This article updates readers on zoning developments at the local level by communities adjusting to the new law, as well as an explanation of the recently issued implementing Regulations of the Department of Public Health. To read the article, click here.
March 21, 2013: In 2012, the outstanding legal defense provided by attorney David Doneski to the Town of Holliston resulted in the landmark decision by the Supreme Judicial Court in Barr Incorporated v. Town of Holliston, 462 Mass. 112 (2012). The importance of this decision is underscored by the featured section in today's City and Town publication of the Massachusetts Department of Revenue's Division of Local Services, which notified all cities and towns of the Commonwealth of the high significance of this decision. In Barr, the Commonwealth's highest appellate court confirmed that municipal construction contract awards are not confined in all cases to the lowest bidder, and that awards may be based on other information in addition to the bidder's certification file maintained by DCAM and the information listed in the bidder's own update statement submitted with its bid. To read DOR's analysis of this decision, click HERE and scroll down to the section entitled, "Independent Investigation of Bidders Permissible."
March 13, 2013: Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers - Today, the Attorney General of the Commonwealth issued two notable decisions affecting local planning for addressing concerns resulting from Chapter 369 of the Acts of 2012, "An Act for the Humanitarian Medical Use of Marijuana" (Enacted as Question 3 of the November 2012 state ballot).
We are pleased to announce that the Attorney General approved a temporary moratium voted in Burlington, which employed the reasoning and the wording that Kopelman and Paige provided in order to create a zoning moratorium extending from January 28, 2013 until June 30, 2014. In doing so, the Attorney General determined that "Such a temporary moratorium is clearly within the Town's zoning power when the stated intent is to manage a new use, such as medical marijuana treatment centers, and there is a stated need for 'study, reflection and decision on a subject matter of [some] complexity...'." To read the decision of the Attorney General approving the Burlington moratorium, click HERE.
In contrast, the Attorney General today also disapproved a total ban enacted by the Town of Wakefield. The deficiencies noted in a total ban included that such a ban would frustrate the purpose of the Act as expressed by the voters who approved Question 3, and have the negative result of "throwing off" a controversial use to another town.... "To read the decision of the Attorney General disapproving the Wakefield total ban, click HERE.
October 30, 2013: Attorney John Goldrosen will be speaking at a Citizen Planner Training Collaborative at the Old Colony Planning Council in Brockton from 7:00 to 9:30 pm. The workshop, "Roles & Responsibiliteis of Planning and Zoning Boards, Part 2," is designed to discuss advanced topics for new board members of building inspectors. It will focus on the Open Meeting, Public Records, and Conflict of Interest Laws.
October 9, 2013: Attorney Joel Bard will be speaking at a Citizen Planner Training Collaborative at the Franklin Regional Council of Governments in Greenfield from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.. The workshop," Vested Rights and Nonconforming Structures and Uses," will clarify the difference betwewen a nonconforming structure, lot and use; explain the difference between a nonconforming and noncompliant structure; familiarize board members with issues regarding alternation to nonconforming structures or uses, and describe separate and common protection, as well as vested rights for subdivision and ANR plans.
October 7, 2013: Attorney Kay Doyle will be speaking at a Citizen Planner Training Collaborative workshop at the Northern Middlesex Council of Governments regarding the implementation of the Humanitarian Medical Use of Marijuana Act passed in November, 2012, the Department of Public Health Regulations that went into effect on May 24, 2013, the latest developments in the application review process at the Department of Public Health, and amending local zoning or general bylaws or ordinances to address medical marijuana-related uses, as well as other local regulation of medical marijuana.
October 3, 2013: Attorney Lauren Goldberg will be speaking at the Massachusetts City and Town Clerks Association Fall Conference at Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort in Hancock, MA on the topic of "The Mysterious World of Municipal Finance."
September 25, 2013: Attorney Kay Doyle spoke at a Citizen Planner Training Collaborative Workshop at the Old Colony Regional Planning Council regarding the implementation of the Humanitarian Medical Use of Marijuana Act passed in November, 2012, the Department of Public Health Regulations that went into effect on May 24, 2013, the latest developments in the application review process at the Department of Public Health, and amending local zoning or general bylaws or ordinances to address medical marijuana-related uses, as well as other local regulation of medical marijuana.
June 14, 2013: Attorney Elizabeth Lane will co-chair the Town of Plymouth's full-day Leadership Retreat for Town employees in "leadership" positions, including department heads, board Chairs, town meeting precinct chairs and others with highly visible public-contact positions. The session will assist the Town in continuing its implementation of the "Guiding Principles" that were recently adopted by the Board of Selectmen to serve as the consensus basis for the Town's service and the relation between Town employees and the public they serve.
June 8, 2013: Attorney Lauren Goldberg will be a featured speaker at this year's annual New Selectmen Training Seminar sponsored by the Massachusetts Municipal Association/Massachusetts Selectmen's Association, to be held at the Town of Natick Senior Center. This seminar will provide training in Open Meeting, Public Records and Conflict of Interest law, as well as budgeting basics and tips for effective service by newly elected selectmen.
June 6, 2013: Attorney Lauren Goldberg will once again provide training to city and town clerks as part of the MTCA & MCCA 2013 Summer Conference program "Essential Roles of the Municipal Clerk" held at Sea Crest Beach Hotel, Falmouth on June 5-7, 2013. Lauren will co-present this training with the Director and Legal Counsel to the Massachusetts Elections Division, Michelle Tassinari. This program will focus on Hearings Before the Board of Registrars/Election Commissioners, as well as address a "potpourri of election issues" that have recently presented the greatest challenges to local election officials.
June 6, 2013: Attorney Kay Doyle will be speaking at the Annual Conference of the Massachusetts Planning Directors regarding the implementation of the Humanitarian Medical Use of Marijuana Act passed in November, 2012, the Department of Public Health Regulations that went into effect on May 24, 2013 and amending local zoning or general bylaws or ordinances to address medical marijuana-related uses, as well as other local regulation of medical marijuana.
May 29, 2013: Attorney Kay Doyle will be speaking at the Franklin Regional Council of Governments regarding the implementation of the Humanitarian Medical Use of Marijuana passed in November, 2012 and amending local zoning bylaws or ordinances to address medical marijuana-related uses, as well as other local regulation of medical marijuana.
May 28, 2013: Attorneys and staff from Kopelman and Paige will once against participate in the Annual Lawyers Have Heart 5K road race to benefit the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. To learn more about this event, click HERE.
April 12, 2013: Attorney Jack Dolan will present Human Resources 101 (or the Alphabet Soup Survival Guide) at the meeting of the Southeast Coast Chapter of the International Public Management Association for Human Resources, where he will explain to municipal managers and department heads the intricacies and practical requirements of the various laws affecting employment and human resources, commonly kown by their acronyms, ADA, ADAAA, ADEA, COBRA, FLSA, FMLA GINA, PDA. MORE...
April 5, 2013: Attorney Kay Doyle will deliver a presentation on the implementation of the new Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Law as part of a panel discussion sponsored by the Real Estate Section of the Boston Bar Association. For additional information concerning this event, please click HERE.
April 2, 2013: Attorneys Tom McEnaney and Jeff Blake will present a seminar on Appellate Tax Board practice and procedure at the Middlesex County Assessors' Association Legal Roundtable. The seminar will address jurisdictional and procedural issues, discovery and recommended best practices, and will include a discussion of Open Meeting Law issues applicable to Boards of Assessors.
March 21, 2013: Attorney Lauren Goldberg hosted a comprehensive webinar entitled "Everything You Want to Know About Town Meeting But Might be Afraid to Ask." In this "soup-to-nuts" presentation, every facet of town meeting was covered and Lauren answered all questions submitted by the participants. The webinar topics covered a wide range, from the colonial history of town meeting, to preparation for the meeting, how to make and amend motions at the meeting, and what happens after the dissolution of the meeting, including the process for review and approval of zoning and general bylaws by the Attorney General and the referendum process in connection with votes taken at representative town meetings. We understand that there is interest in an encore presentation," so Lauren will be scheduling another opportunity for those who missed today's program. Watch for an invitation in the very near future!
March 16, 2013: Attorney Kay Doyle will be participating in a Citizen Planner Training Collaborative program on the subject of "Planning and Zoning for Medical Marijuana." Also participating will be Town of Billerica Director of Planning Tony Fields. Together, Kay and Tony will discuss the novel planning and zoning issues presented by the new law, medical marijuana and associated uses and offer ideas and guidance for navigating this uncharted legal territory. For additional information about the new law and the regulations being prepared by the State Department of Public Health, click HERE.
March 13, 2013: Attorney Joyce Frank will participate as a municipal law expert in the 11th Annual Municipal Conference sponsored by Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, Inc. ("MCLE") and the City Solicitors and Town Counsel Association. Attorney Frank will draw on her extensive experience to instruct municipal attorneys on the topic of "Insurance in the Public Sector." The faculty for this even also includes such experts as Retired Appeals Court Judge John M. Greaney, Kathleen Colleary, Chief of the Massachusetts Department of Revenue Bureau of Municipal Law, and representatives of the Attorney General's Division of Open Government. For additional information on this program or on MCLE, click HERE. To read an excerpt from the program book, Chapter 19, "Insurance for Municipalities," click HERE.
March 12, 2013: Attorney Kay Doyle obtained a decision in Essex Court dismissing a complaint for civil contempt brought by the operators of Ingaldsby Farm and the Town of Boxford Building Inspector. The decision in Nissenbaum v. Price, et al., ESCV2008-00541, is the first court ruling to examine what level of documentation may be required of farm stands to demonstrate compliance with the agricultural exemption in G.L. c. 40A §3 since the exemption was amended in 2007 and 2010. MORE...
March 6, 2013: By invitation of the Mayor of the City of Peabody, Attorney Lauren Goldberg will present a comprehensive "tutorial" on the Open Meeting Law to members of the City Council and staff and members of the City's many multiple-member boards. Attorney GOldberg will explain the fundamentals of the "new" Open Meeting Law, including new definitions, quorum requirements, deadlines, changes in the requirements for contents of meeting agendas, and will provide many practical tips for avoiding common pitfalls and explain the role of the Division of Open Government and other changes in the law that went into effect on July 1, 2010.