EL&C, Employment, Business, Appellate Advocacy, Health Care & Human Services, Land Use, Beach Rights, Consumer Rights, Municipal Law
Englander, Leggett, & Chicoine, P.C.
44 School Street, Suite 800
Boston, Massachusetts 02108
Telephone 617.723.7440
Facsimile 617.723.8849
Email:info@ec-attorneys.com
 


   
    Practice Areas
 

    Attorneys
 

    Notable Decisions
 

    News
 

    Articles and Publications
 

    Contact Us


       

Notable Decisions


The following is a sampling of significant issues Englander & Chicoine, P.C. has addressed in the courts over the years.


New and Noteworthy


Galvin et al. v. Boston Redevelopment Authority et al.
Alford et al. v. Boston Zoning Commission et al.

The Massachusetts Court of Appeals affirmed a summary judgment ruling in favor of our client, the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA).  The decision analyzes the BRA’s role in connection with a special zoning amendment known as an Institutional Master Plan. The BRA performed a multi-year comprehensive review of all aspects of Boston College’s plans to expand its academic, athletic, and housing facilities on its Brighton campus prior to recommending approval.  The Appeals Court held that the BRA’s role in this zoning process is legislative, and therefore not reviewable under Article 29.
Read the Initial Decision

Nantasket Beachfront Condominiums LLC v. Hull Redevelopment Authority

In August 2013, the Superior Court granted a motion for summary judgment that EL&C filed on behalf of our client, Hull Redevelopment Authority (HRA).  The case was a contractual dispute with a developer which HRA had designated to redevelop certain parcels of beachfront land into a condominium complex and a public park.  The project was delayed for years by abutter opposition and permitting issues.  Despite the HRA’s attempt to accommodate the developer, the developer refused to make the required incremental deposit payments to the HRA.

This breach prompted the HRA to terminate the contract with the developer and retain the deposit payments already submitted pursuant to the terms of the contract.  The Court held that the HRA’s termination of the contract was valid and not a breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing.  In addition, the Court carefully analyzed the liquidated damages provision in the parties’ contract and found that the HRA was entitled to retain the deposit payments already submitted as a matter of law. Read the Decision

Sanjoy Mahajan v. MA DEP and the BRA

In a March 15, 2013 ruling, the Supreme Judicial Court held that Long Wharf in Boston may be developed in accordance with the Boston Redevelopment Authority’s urban renewal plan, and is not a park subject to a two-thirds legislative vote under Article 97 for changes to lands taken for conservation purposes. The SJC also ruled that the issuance of a Chapter 91 license does not trigger a legislative vote under Article 97.

Read the Sanjoy Mahajan v. MA DEP and the BRA decision


Beach Rights


Weiss v. Kevorkian
Leahy v. Brown
Leahy v. Graveline

In all three of these cases, the courts addressed beach rights in a seashore subdivision known as Hyannis Park.   The courts affirmed the existence of an implied easement benefitting all backlot owners to use the beach.  The courts relied in large part on advertisements from the 1890s as evidence of the developer’s intent that the backlot owners would have use of the beach.  Other key pieces of evidence in this case were the subdivision plan showing all lots on ways that ran to the beach, and the original deeds for the waterfront lots, which conveyed only small rectangles and no rights to the beach.

Read the Leahy v. Graveline decision
Read the Leahy v. Brown decision
Read the Weiss v. Kevorkian decision

Klink v. Valovcin
The Land Court reviewed the Colonial Ordinance of 1641 in this case involving claims by multiple backlot owners to use the beach in a seashore subdivision known as Silver Spring.  The Land Court found the backlot owners had established an easement by prescription to use a stairway to the beach and the beach seaward of the high water mark.  Key pieces of evidence in this case included the timing of the conveyances of the waterfront lots, the layout of the subdivisions, and the backlot owners’ efforts to maintain a stairway to the beach and the beach itself.
Read the decision

Massari v. Mindrebo
A unique case involving claims by upland owners that aquaculture on the tidal flats constitutes a trespass.  The Appeals Court upheld the trial court ruling that, on the facts presented, a Land Court registration decree severed the tidal flats from the upland.  Because the upland owners could not prove title to the flats, the court dismissed their claims against the aquaculturists.
Read the decision


Employment Law


McKinney v. National Dairy Council
One of the earliest cases to establish the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing in at-will employment relationships under Massachusetts law.  The federal District Court held that the employer violated the implied covenant where the determining factor in the employer's decision to terminate employment was the employee's age.
Read the decision

Patriarca v. Center for Living & Working, Inc.
An important interpretation of Rule 4.2 of the Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct, which governs communications with persons represented by counsel, as applied to the employees of an adverse corporate party.  Upon grant of application for direct review, the Supreme Judicial Court held that all current and former employees of a corporation are not deemed to be represented by corporate counsel for purposes of the rule barring ex parte contact.  The analysis must be fact specific, to determine whether the employee in question is alleged to have committed the wrongful acts at issue in the litigation, exercised managerial responsibility in the matter, or has authority on behalf of the corporation to make decisions about the course of the litigation.
Read the decision

King’s Faire Inc. v. Strickney et al.
An analysis of an agreement not to compete in the unusual context of performing arts.  The court declined to enforce a non-competition clause which lasted two years and covered six states because it was an attempt to prevent legitimate competition by a former employee.  The court considered the geographic scope and time period of the covenant overly broad, particularly where the employer could not show the theatre production in question would harm its good will.
Read the decision



Land Use


Hyde Park Liquors, Inc. et al. v. Nahabedian et al.
In a dispute over the rights to use a passageway, the Land Court addressed the elements of extinguishing an easement of record and whether there is a right to park in a passageway.  The Land Court held that there is no express or implied right of servient estate owners to park in a right of way in a manner which interferes with its use by the dominant estate owners.
Read the decision

Rosenfield v. Joshi
A creditor attempted to partition a property in satisfaction of an alleged 1975 sheriff’s sale of the wife’s interest.  However, under the pre–1980 common law tenancy by the entirety, a wife could not convey a valid interest except by the express written deed of both husband and wife.  Because at common law a wife’s rights to the property were merged with those of her husband “as an inseverable part of the marital unity” her interest could not be attached, levied upon, or acquired by sale.
Read the decision


Municipal Zoning


304 Stewart Street et al. v. Boston Redevelopment Authority et al.
One of the few cases which directly addresses the Boston Redevelopment Authority's (BRA’s) role in connection with the review and adoption of a special zoning amendment known as a Planned Development Area (PDA).  The Land Court dismissed the plaintiffs’ claims against the BRA because it found nothing in § 10A of the Boston Zoning Enabling Act which either expressly or impliedly authorizes aggrieved persons to appeal the BRA’s action with respect to recommending proposed amendments to the zoning code.  The Land Court held “it is only the Boston Zoning Commission’s actions which are subject to de novo judicial review under § 10A.”
Read the decision

Galvin et al. v. Boston Redevelopment Authority et al.
The Superior Court analyzed the Boston Redevelopment Authority's (BRA’s) role in connection with the review and adoption of a special zoning amendment known as an Institutional Master Plan.  The BRA performed a multi-year comprehensive review of all aspects of Boston College’s plans to expand its academic, athletic, and housing facilities on its Brighton campus prior to recommending approval.  The Superior Court held in regard to the BRA that, when acting in its planning board capacity, the BRA’s recommendations to the Boston Zoning Commission are preliminary and advisory only and do not bear on the validity of the zoning amendment.
Read the decision

Pollard et al. v. Boston Redevelopment Authority et al.
One of only a handful of cases evaluating the BRA’s actions in approving a Chapter 121A project.  The development at issue is a mixed use complex in Jamaica Plain providing medical treatment facilities and low income housing for homeless people. 

The Appeals Court upheld the Superior Court dismissal of the neighbors’ legal challenge, validating the BRA’s careful and thoughtful assessment of the project.
Read the Superior Court decision

Read the Appeals Court Decision