Experience

Bullying: Harassment Prevention Order

This case involved a high school girl who was being verbally, emotionally and physically bullied by a former student of the same school. The bullying escalated to the point where the young woman's parents felt the need to take the next step to protect their daughter. At the time, however, there was little they or the police could do, as the Massachusetts restraining order statute only protects against harassment by household or family members. Fortunately, our attorneys had been tracking the progress of the Massachusetts Anti-Bullying law, passed in the aftermath of tragic student suicides in South Hadley and Springfield, and were able to discuss this option with the young woman's parents. The day after the law went into effect, our attorneys went to court and sought an Order of Protection. The judge listened carefully to the evidence and granted our client an ex parte Order of Protection. One week later, after a full hearing on the merits, the judge entered an Order of Protection for one year. When the bully violated the Order soon thereafter, our client was able to report the violation to the police and as a result, the bully was ultimately arrested.

Massachusetts is now one of 43 states with some form of anti-bullying legislation. This new statute not only makes bullying grounds for a civil restraining order (with violations punishable as criminal acts), it also protects the victims from further victimization by the schools, which often opt to move the victim (rather than the offender) in these situations. Importantly, it also addresses the cyber aspects of bullying.

The new statute is an attempt to keep up with swiftly-changing technology that has broken down the traditional means of protection and insulation of kids from bullies. Home is no longer a safe haven when bullies can find you on Facebook, Twitter and through text messages. Access is everywhere and teens are particularly vulnerable. This new law is a step in the right direction.

Firm Highlights

Blog

Connecticut Employers Take Note – Cease Seeking Past Pay Information

Big changes are coming to Connecticut employers and with it, many organizational hiring practices with the passage of HB Number 6380. HB Number 6380 limits the disclosure of wage information from past positions. Currently...

Matter

Trademark Litigation: Software

Represented trademark owner in litigation with foreign software company. Successfully defeated motion to dismiss on jurisdictional grounds, which was affirmed on appeal. Also successfully defeated summary judgment motion, which resulted in case settling before...

Event

MAME's 32nd Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament

Please join us as we sponsor MAME’s 32nd Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament! Proceeds go to the MAME Scholarship Fund to help support students interested in entering the manufacturing and trade industry in Maine. At...

Blog

Massachusetts Now Requires Paid COVID-19 Leave for all Employees

Massachusetts now requires all employers, regardless of size, with Massachusetts employees to offer employees paid, job-protected leave for certain COVID-19-related reasons, including to get or recover from a COVID-19 vaccine. Massachusetts also has established...

Matter

Copyright Litigation: Software

Defended equipment manufacturer in copyright dispute involving firmware for digital subscriber line access multiplexers (“DSLAMs”). Case resolved favorably.

Publication/Podcast

Can Nonprofits Require COVID-19 Vaccines?

On June 10, employment and labor attorney Tawny Alvarez spoke with Maine Association of Nonprofits for its blog post "Help Desk FAQ: Can Nonprofits Require COVID-19 Vaccines?" As MANP continues to receive questions from...

Publication/Podcast

Portland Maine Business Podcast with Tawny Alvarez

On this week's Portland Maine Business Podcast , a podcast with Shelby Turcotte of Shelby Trained, he interviews employment and labor attorney Tawny Alvarez who shares stories that contributed to shaping her as a...

Event

FCBA New England Chapter Program

Join FCBA New England Chapter for a program on RDOF from a State Perspective: Lessons Learned So Far. Attorney Geoff Why will be moderating a panel session with invited FCC, industry, and state representatives...

News

Advice from Former Portland Charter Commission

On June 23, Portland Phoenix published an article, "Those who have been there predict Portland Charter Commission faces steep learning curve," discussing the organizational meeting with Portland's newly elected Charter Commission. In the meeting...

News

Maine's Evolving Economy and the Future of Remote Work

On June 8, Maine Public published "The Future of Remote Work: The Outlook for Maine Employers and Workers As Offices Re-Open," covering its Maine’s Evolving Economy series that focuses on the shifts in Maine’s...

Contact Verrill at (855) 307 0700