BHPK’s Greg Pagnini successfully achieves dismissal of First Amendment retaliation claim based on discriminatory teacher’s TikToks.

BHPK partner Greg Pagnini, with Lenny Kesten serving as co-counsel, prevailed on a motion for summary judgment in federal court, obtaining dismissal of a First Amendment retaliation claim filed by a former school teacher. At issue were six social media memes posted on TikTok by the plaintiff containing themes of homophobia, transphobia, and racism.

Following a storm of controversy in the community and after conducting an investigation, the Hanover Public School District terminated the plaintiff, noting that her continued employment in light of the social media posts would have a significantly negative impact on learning at the high school.

The court agreed. While taking into consideration the time, place, and manner of the plaintiff’s speech — having been posted on a private TikTok account and prior to her hire — the court held that the District had a legitimate government interest in terminating her employment due to its reasonably related concerns that the posts were, and would continue to be, a disruption to student learning. Further, the court found that the posts reflected an intolerance to groups of people who were represented among both staff and the student body, which undermined the District’s goal of ensuring a safe learning environment and respect for human differences. The termination was upheld and the retaliation claim rejected.

Congratulations to the BHPK team on its victory.

Two BHPK Attorneys Named Best Lawyers in America 

BHPK proudly shares that two of the firm’s attorneys have been included in the 2024 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America: Ones to Watch® list.

The Best Lawyers in America list is based solely on a peer-review survey process in which thousands of leading attorneys confidentially evaluate other attorneys from their region in their own practice areas.

BHPK partner Michael Stefanilo, Jr. (Litigation – Employment) and associate Monica B. Towle (Commercial Litigation) were both recognized by Best Lawyers® as Ones to Watch in their respective fields for 2024. A link to The Best Lawyers in America press release® is below.

https://www.bestlawyers.com/press/best-lawyers-publishes-milestone-legal-rankings

BHPK partner Erica Brody was featured in the local and national news

BHPK partner Erica Brody was featured in the local and national news for her and the firm’s representation of four former foster children, and the historic $7,000,000 settlement against DCF and 17 state social workers that resulted.

https://www.usnews.com/…/former-foster-children-win-7m…

https://www.foxnews.com/…/massachusetts-house-horrors…

https://www.nbcboston.com/…/kids-abused-at…/3110358/…

http://b.com/…/massachusetts-dcf-blouin-family…/44795874

 

 

BHPK partner Michael Stefanilo, Jr. and associate Monica B. Towle, filed a class action complaint against the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs

BHPK partner Michael Stefanilo, Jr., along with associate Monica B. Towle, filed a class action complaint this morning against the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs on behalf of their client, Ashley Sheffield, an Air Force veteran who was denied access to IVF because she is in a same-sex marriage. A link to the complaint filed by BHPK, the National Veterans Legal Services Program – NVLSP, and Peter Romer-Friedman Law from D.C., is copied below. A press release covering the BHPK-filed complaint, and a companion NY lawsuit filed by NOW-NYC and Yale Law School, can also be found below.

“Ten years ago, the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act because that heinous law treated same-sex marriages as invalid and dehumanized LGTBQ+ people,” said Michael Stefanilo, Jr., a partner who leads the LGBTQ+ Civil Rights practice at the Boston-based litigation firm of Brody Hardoon, Perkins, & Kesten, LLP. “There is no excuse for the VA breathing new life into the bigotry that LGBTQ servicemembers and veterans have faced for hundreds of years.”

Press Release

Complaint

In the News
https://news.yahoo.com/now-nyc-air-force-veteran-194600450.html?soc_src=yahooapp

https://www.nbcboston.com/https://www.bostonglobe.com/2023/08/03/metro/air-force-veteran-denied-fertility-treatment-coverage-due-same-sex-marriage-sues-va/news/local/mass-veteran-sues-va-saying-she-was-denied-ivf-over-same-sex-marriage/3103854/

https://www.militarytimes.com/news/your-military/2023/08/02/now-nyc-and-air-force-veteran-sue-dod-and-va-over-ivf-policies/

https://www.bostonglobe.com/2023/08/03/metro/air-force-veteran-denied-fertility-treatment-coverage-due-same-sex-marriage-sues-va/

 

 

BHPK is pleased to announce the addition of two talented and experienced trial attorneys to its team.

BHPK is pleased to announce the addition of two talented and experienced trial attorneys to its team.

Tony Agudelo is an accomplished litigator with a diverse practice including medical malpractice, personal injury, insurance defense, employment law, and business disputes, among others. Tony joins BHPK after 20 years as a partner with Sugarman Rogers.

Monica Towle is a highly experienced civil trial attorney who joins BHPK from a multi-state insurance defense firm. Her practice areas include general liability and coverage, in addition to a wide array of services in civil litigation.

Please join BHPK in welcoming Tony and Monica to our award-winning team of attorneys.

Michael Stefanilo, Jr. and Lenny Kesten prevail on petition to vacate flawed arbitration award

BHPK’s dynamic duo of Leonard H. Kesten and Michael Stefanilo, Jr. prevailed on a petition to vacate an arbitration award filed on behalf of their municipal client, the City of Somerville.  This is a big win for the City, but also an important victory for municipal arbitration appeals in general.  Congratulations to the advocates and the client on a significant and meaningful decision.  Click here for full decision

Tom Donohue and Francesca Papia secure defense verdict in USDC

BHPK’s Tom Donohue and Francesca Papia secured a defense verdict in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts after four days of trial in federal court. Following a swift deliberation, the jury vindicated their municipal client who faced false accusations of discrimination.