• Panelists at MMLA's Annual Public Construction Update Program on April 26th. ! (Left to right): Dennis Ryan, Hon. Brian Davis, Mary Pichetti, Amanda Zuretti, Angela Atchue, Chris Pertrini, Peter Mello
Municipal Law News


KeywordsMunicipal Corporations, Water commissioners, Water installation fee. Real Property, Water. Water. Jurisdiction, Water charge. Subdivision Control, Municipal services. Taxation, Real estate tax: assessment. Zoning. Administrative Law, Exhaustion of remedies. Practice, Civil, Review of administrative action, Case stated.

The Appeals Court today issued its decision in “NINETY SIX, LLC vs WAREHAM FIRE DISTRICT“, in which it upheld the method used by the District in calculating betterment assessments.  The case is available from the MMLA website.  Congrats to MMLA member David Gay, Esq. who successfully represented the Fire District. For the text of the decision, click on the following link:  Ninety Six, LLC vs. Wareham Fire District


KeywordsPublic Employee Retirement Administration Commission. Contributory Retirement Appeal Board. Retirement. Public Employment, Retirement, Sick leave benefits, Vacation pay, Worker’s compensation. Words, “Regular compensation.”

The SJC today issued its decision in PUBLIC EMPLOYEE RETIREMENT ADMINISTRATION COMMISSION vs. CONTRIBUTORY RETIREMENT APPEAL BOARD & others, in which, upholding a determination by CRAB, the SJC held that sick leave and vacation pay paid as a supplement to an employee on workers compensation is not regular compensation. Click on PERAC v. CRAB for the full text of the decision. 

Cannabis Control Commission – Public Hearings Scheduled on Proposed Regulations

The Cannabis Control Commission has scheduled a series of public hearings on its proposed regulations [935 CMR 500 et seq.]  MMLA plans to attend and participate to stay abreast of how these regulations affect our cities and towns.  Click on the following link to the Commission’s notice of public hearing.  The notice contains a link to the full text of the proposed regulations. Also see MMLA’s letter dated 2/5/18 to the Commission includes MMLA Comments and Recommended Revisions to the proposed regulations, together with an annotated version of the draft regulations showing MMLA comments and recommended revision. See link below.

Notice of Public Hearing

MMLA Letter to CCC with Comments & Recommended Revisions


KeywordsMassachusetts Wage Act. Massachusetts Port Authority. Public Employment, Sick leave benefits.

The Appeals Court today issued its decision in TZE-KIT MUI vs. MASSACHUSETTS PORT AUTHORITY in which it held that accrued sick leave are not wages under the MA Wage Act.  Justice Budd wrote: “Upon review, we discern no reason to conclude that the Legislature intended to include sick pay as ‘wages’ under the Wage Act. . . . Because accrued, unused sick time is not compensable under a ‘use it or lose it’ sick time policy, such time clearly is not a wage under the act.”  Click here for the full text of the case.


Mark the Date – Thursday, February 15th! — A “Don’t Miss” Program on Municipal Opioid Litigation.

“Opioid Litigation:  Should Your City or Town Get Involved?”    MMLA is pleased to announce a special program focusing on solicitations to join in litigation dealing with the opioid problem, and its implications for local governments.  The program is scheduled to take place at The Publick House in Sturbridge on February 15th! —  This program provides municipal attorneys with the latest information, issues and resources to assist in counseling your municipal client and responding to inquiries to engage in opioid litigation. Counsel from communities who have entered into agreements with outside counsel to pursue litigation will discuss municipal concerns on this important issue, how their fee agreements work, what their complaints consist of, and other issues of concern or interest.  Panelists share their knowledge, experiences, and guidance in the decision-making process for their communities. Time is reserved for questions and answers. This program is restricted to MMLA members who are municipal attorneys.  Attorney Lauren F. Goldberg of KP Law, a frequent presenter at MMLA programs, sums up reasons why you should plan to attend this program: “The opioid epidemic has reached a crisis level. Every municipality in Massachusetts is in some manner addressing the devastating impacts of this problem, from education to treatment, with costs being incurred by police, fire, public health, and school departments, among others. While this is a national issue, it is most definitely a local problem.”  Click here for program details, schedule, and registration information.

Appeals Court: KENNEDY vs. THE COMMONWEALTH et al

KeywordsSchool and School Committee, Regional school district, Standing to challenge validity of statute. Contract, Regional school district, Promissory estoppel. Constitutional Law, Standing, Home Rule Amendment, Special law. Municipal Corporations, Home rule. Statute, Special law. Practice, Civil, Standing, Declaratory proceeding, Motion to dismiss. Declaratory Relief.

In its decision released today in Kennedy, et al v Commonwealth, et al, the Appeals Court upheld a Superior Court denying a Home Rule challenge to an Act of the Legislature. The decision dismissed on standing and other grounds a challenge by residents, the Town of Huntington, and the Gateway Regional School District to an Act of the Legislature which allowed Worthington to withdraw from a regional school district agreement notwithstanding the terms of the regional agreement.  The Appeals Court found that there was no violation of the Home Rule Amendment.  Other claims, including impairment of contracts and the local mandates law, were similarly dismissed.  Click here for the full text of the decision


KeywordsMunicipal Corporations, By-laws and ordinances. Zoning, Validity of by-law or ordinance, Private landing area. Federal Preemption

The SJC has ruled in favor of the Town of Rockport, whose building inspector and ZBA had found that a heliport on a residential property was neither an allowed use nor a permitted  accessory use.  The landowner had argued that, based on the state’s aeronautics statutes, a municipal zoning bylaw concerning private noncommercial aircraft landing areas is subject to prior approval by the DOT Division of Aeronautics.  Here is a link to the decision:


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KeywordsContract, Municipality, Performance and breach. Municipal Corporations, Contracts. Consumer Protection Act, Trade or commerce, Unfair or deceptive act. Bankruptcy, Stay of other proceedings.Practice, Civil, Directed verdict, Amendment, New trial, Instructions to jury. Judgment,  Amendment

The Appeals Court today issued its decision in City of Beverly v Bass River Golf Management, Inc. in which it upheld a trial court verdict in favor of the City of Beverly against an operator of the municipal golf course for breach of contract.  Proceedings against another defendant were stayed pursuant to the automatic stay resulting from a bankruptcy filing.  The counterclaim against the city, which included claims under G.L. c. 93A,  was unsuccessful.  Congrats to MMLA members from the City of Beverly Law Department- City Solicitor Stephanie Williams and Assistant City Solicitor Eitan Goldberg- on this successful outcome.  Golf course management cases have been problematic for several municipalities- be forewarned.  Click here for the full text of the decision.