BHPK’s Michael Stefanilo, Jr. spoke on behalf of his client in response to the Commonwealth’s proposal to reimburse LGBTQ+ veterans

BHPK’s Michael Stefanilo, Jr. spoke on behalf of his client in response to the Commonwealth’s proposal to reimburse LGBTQ+ veterans who were wrongfully denied IVF services by the VA, and the federal government’s forthcoming amendments to its policy, ending several years of disparate treatment against a marginalized group of veteran heroes.

“Ms. Sheffield is extremely moved by the Healey Administration’s dedication to advancing the rights of LGBTQ+ veterans, and is honored to learn that her bravery in coming forward has inspired the creation of a pilot program that will serve to protect a vulnerable subset of the veteran population from acts of invidious discrimination,” her attorney, Michael Stefanilo Jr., wrote in an email to GBH News.

https://www.wgbh.org/news/health/2024-02-08/many-lgbtq-unmarried-veterans-in-mass-could-soon-get-ivf-benefits-for-the-first-time?fbclid=IwAR18P74Ea47AHpP0EHusHtFbx8s0-F9aodR4BzKFGDF3J-uhZ-WjYkHL4dU

Healey-Driscoll Administration has proposed legislation initiating a pilot program for LGBTQ+ couples

As a direct result of impact litigation filed by BHPK partner Michael Stefanilo, Jr. in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, the Healey-Driscoll Administration has proposed legislation initiating a pilot program for LGBTQ+ couples denied IVF reimbursement by the VA.

Michael is prosecuting the subject class action lawsuit along with prestigious co-counsel from the National Veterans Legal Services Project and Peter Romer-Friedman Law in D.C.

The Governor’s press release can be found here: https://www.mass.gov/news/healey-driscoll-administration-unveils-historic-legislative-package-for-veterans-in-massachusetts

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