Pro Bono Honoree

Attorney For the Day table in Boston’s Housing Court.For the second consecutive year, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recognized The Law Office of Justin M. Murphy “for performing in the finest tradition of the Massachusetts bar by providing significant pro bono legal services during calendar year 2014.”  Attorney Murphy celebrated by volunteering on October 29, 2015, at the Attorney For the Day table in Boston’s Housing Court.  Providing individuals pro bono legal representation is paramount to Attorney Murphy’s law practice and benefits his clients, overall.

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Recovering Security Deposit

Massachusetts’ residential security deposit law contains strict requirements for landlords, including returning a tenant’s security deposit within 30 days of lease termination.  As a landlord or tenant you should know your rights and options when dealing with General Laws: CHAPTER 186, Section 15B, the Massachusetts Security Deposit law.  Remedies include double or treble damages, all costs, and payment of attorney fees should a tenant prevail.  Attorney Murphy provides pro bono legal services to recover security deposits.

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Trial Success: Landlord’s Right to Possession Secured

Recently, Attorney Murphy represented a landlord at trial in the Boston Housing Court. Attorney Murphy counseled the landlord through the eviction process and secured the landlord’s right to possession as well as back rent.

Originally, the landlord attempted to evict the tenant without knowing the requisite steps to do so. The landlord nearly caused the case to be dismissed, but Attorney Murphy quickly corrected the deficiencies without issue. Housing Court Docket no.: 15H84SP002142.

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Bank Employee Prevails

Recently, Attorney Murphy’s client, a former senior personal banker, received a favorable unemployment benefits decision. The unemployment office initially denied the claim because the former employer alleged the client committed misconduct. Attorney Murphy, however, established through direct and cross examination at the unemployment hearing that the employer could not prove the client actually committed the conduct at issue. The supervisor essentially admitted he did not take any immediate corrective action. Thus, Attorney Murphy harped on this lapse of disciplinary action to discredit the employer’s case such that the unemployment office found the client more credible, and ruled in favor of the client.

Attorney Murphy notes that micromanagement of employees can lead to unwarranted and unnecessary terminations because like in this case, the supervisor failed to understand the big picture: the company lost a loyal and hard-working employee.

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Attorney Murphy Successfully Argues Motion for Reconsideration

On March 4, 2015, Attorney Murphy persuaded the Cambridge District Court to vacate its order issuing an “execution” against his client, a tenant, for violating an “agreement for judgment”.  Prior to retaining Attorney Murphy, the client and her former landlord entered into an agreement for judgment in lieu of a costly eviction trial.  The landlord then filed a motion for issuance of the execution alleging that the client breached the agreement for judgment.  The court agreed with the landlord and found the client in breach of the agreement.

The client was dismayed by the process, particularly where she now had a judgment against her.

The client then retained Attorney Murphy.  Attorney Murphy drafted a motion to reconsider the issuance of the execution.  Typically, motions to reconsider are never granted.  Attorney Murphy, however, persuaded the court that for purposes of justice and equity, the landlord’s motion should never have been issued in the first place.  The court agreed.

Attorney Murphy’s understanding of the balance between law and equity was paramount to his client’s success in this matter.  Attorney Murphy would urge any landlord or tenant to seek assistance of counsel when dealing with motions for reconsideration because courts will only reverse their orders when exceptional circumstances are present.

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Human Resource Manager Vindicated

Recently, Attorney Murphy’s client, former human resources manager of a reputable k-12 mathematics program, received a favorable decision after a highly contentious unemployment hearing.  The unemployment office initially denied the client’s claim stating that the client resigned because he disagreed with work policies or the method of operations of the employer.  As such, the unemployment office determined that this was the client’s fault and denied his claim. The client appealed.

The client then retained Attorney Murphy. Attorney Murphy advised the client that there were several complicated issues to overcome.  Specifically, Attorney Murphy found that in order to reverse the decision it must be established that the employer’s actions caused the client to resign.

At the unemployment hearing, Attorney Murphy quickly took aim at the employer’s alleged adverse treatment of his client.  Attorney Murphy’s aggressive, unyielding cross-examination resulted in inconsistent testimony from the employer.  Compared to the client’s consistent and credible testimony it became apparent there were major holes in the employer’s case.  Finally, the unemployment office concluded that the client made every effort to preserve his job and that essentially, the client resigned with good cause attributable to the employer.

Attorney Murphy is very pleased with the outcome of this case.  The client felt vindicated and is now able to move forward knowing the resignation was not his fault.

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Independant Contractors May Have “Employee” Rights

Attorney Murphy has been working on several employment cases that are game changing for his clients.  These cases mostly involve misclassification of individuals as “independent contractors”.  Unfortunately, as independent contractors these individuals previously believed they did not have standing to bring lawsuits against their employer for discrimination, wage and hour violations, breach of privacy, among other employment claims.  Upon further investigation, however, Attorney Murphy determined these individuals were arguably misclassified in violation of Massachusetts law.  Instead, Attorney Murphy asserts these individuals constitute “employees” for purposes of Massachusetts employment law.  This change in classification opens a barrage of available claims to his clients seeking redress for wrongs committed in the workplace.

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Pro Bono Matters: Preventive Measures in the Workplace

Recently, Attorney Murphy took on a pro bono unemployment matter for a client who did not deserve to be fired.  The client was a case manager at a Boston area hospital.  The client’s former supervisor accused the client of being insubordinate and disrespectful.  Attorney Murphy believed the client to be a credible and hard-working individual.  At the unemployment hearing, Attorney Murphy, through direct examination of the client, asked several questions which made it abundantly clear that the client did not act inappropriately.  Thereafter, the review examiner ruled in favor of the client and found that the hospital failed to establish its case.

Attorney Murphy believes the supervisor in this case simply did not like the client and lied. Attorney Murphy notes that employees experiencing hardships in the workplace from either a co-worker or supervisor should contact human resources to protect themselves before the situation becomes worse.

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Pro Bono Honoree

Today, the Supreme Judicial Court Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services in Massachusetts presented Attorney Murphy with a certificate of recognition “for performing in the finest tradition of the Massachusetts bar by providing significant pro bono legal services during the calendar year 2013.” Attorney Murphy is proud to be among such an outstanding group of individuals committed to access to justice and giving back to the community.

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On May 12, 2014, the Boston Bar Association awarded Attorney Murphy the “President’s Award” for providing pro bono legal assistance to victims and small business owners affected by the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing through the Boston Bar Association’s Marathon Assistance Project.  Attorney Murphy is proud to be a recipient of such a distinguished award and shall continue to support and strengthen the Greater Boston community through his law practice.

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