Melissa represents clients in a range of health, science and technology sectors, including agribusiness, life sciences, biotechnology, pharmaceutical and medical devices. She also handles cases involving complex litigation, business disputes and intellectual property. In addition to litigation matters, she has represented clients in International Trade Commission investigations, mediation and arbitration. 

Melissa also serves as a counselor for clients who seek to resolve disputes without incurring the costs of litigation. She has negotiated a variety of business and employment agreements and intellectual property licenses. She frequently works with international clients, managing cross-cultural communications and navigating applicable regulatory frameworks. Among her clients are companies from Japan, Germany, Taiwan, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and France. 

Whether a client’s goals can be achieved through litigation, negotiated resolution or a strategic combination of both, Melissa is dedicated to helping her clients reach them. She brings a keen eye to finding practical solutions, and her extraordinary drive and determination led a federal court to describe her efforts to admit a critical piece of evidence despite fierce opposition as “Herculean.”

Melissa has been honored by, among others, Massachusetts Super Lawyers, The National Law Journal, Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly and Boston University. As an alumna, she is actively involved with Northwestern University, serving on its Leadership Circle for the Boston region and working with the NU for Life program, which is dedicated to the professional development of student athletes. Melissa also serves as the Chairperson of MLPB’s (formerly Medical-Legal Partnership of Boston) Advisory Board and has provided pro bono services for MLPB for more than 17 years. In addition, during Melissa’s three-year term as president of the board of Hosteling International’s Eastern New England Council, the Boston Hostel (a LEED-certified, $42 million and 486-bed facility) was completed, preserving it as a National Register of Historic Places building. Melissa is also the past president of the Foundation for Belmont Education which has donated more than $4 million to support innovation in the Belmont public schools.

Melissa received her B.A. from Northwestern University where she was a member of the women’s swimming and diving team. During her career at Northwestern, she was an All-American, Academic All-American and Academic All-Big Ten, as well as a member of the Big Ten record-holding 800 freestyle relay team. She is also a member of the Baylor School Athletic Hall of Fame.

Representative Matters

Defended major university in class action filed against its medical school related to practices of the anatomical gift program. Following removal of the case to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act, secured dismissal of entire action based on a novel application of the immunity provision contained in the Massachusetts Anatomical Gift Act. Dismissal upheld by the First Circuit.

Defended Japanese medical device manufacturer and its American distributor against patent infringement claims related to osteoarthritis treatment. Responsible for expert reports concerning damages, physician practices related to the device and FDA regulatory procedures. Obtained complete defense verdict, with jury finding that client’s product did not infringe and the patent was invalid.

Defended Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer in International Trade Commission investigation involving 23 distinct smartphone and tablet products with nine asserted patents. Responsible for leading the offensive and defensive discovery efforts and interacting with client’s in-house counsel and technical representatives. Defended depositions of Taiwanese company representatives concerning the technical nuances related to a patent concerning email servers. The administrative law court that tried the case characterized it as one of the most complicated patent cases it had ever seen. The investigation was resolved as part of a global settlement.

Defended German agrochemical company in product liability litigations alleging that industrial chemicals impacted the use of waterways and caused a nuisance. Responsible for overseeing and coordinating discovery, taking Plaintiff corporate depositions, dispositive and pretrial briefing. Plaintiffs sought multi-billion-dollar recoveries in cases in filed across the United States.

Served as Massachusetts coordinating counsel to defend major tobacco company in over 30 health and safety litigations related to cigarettes filed in Massachusetts state courts. Claims included product liability, design defect, breach of warranty and violation of consumer protection laws.

Defended Japanese manufacturer and distributor in International Trade Commission investigation related to nine patents asserted by a non-practicing entity related to optical disk drives. Responsible for offensive and defensive discovery coordination and addressing arguments concerning domestic industry allegations. Matter resolved before hearing meeting important business objectives for clients.

Represented technology startup in negotiations to enforce noncompetition clauses. After protracted negotiations with the former employee and former consultants, secured settlement that resulted in significant payments to client to divest of technology it no longer considered of primary importance. 

Represented management consulting firm for over fifteen years in connection with over sixty third party subpoenas. Responsible for negotiating scope of subpoena, coordinating collection and production of responsive documents and defending depositions of senior partners of the firm. Worked with client to implement policies to minimize risk resulting from the subpoenas, ensure that the firm’s client was responsible for the response costs and minimize business disruption.

Served as first chair attorney in hearing before Massachusetts Bureau of Special Education Appeals. Matter was tried to hearing officer over four days, including opening and closing statements, direct examinations of six witnesses and cross examinations of three witnesses. Negotiated very favorable settlement at close of case following hearing officer’s admonition to school district that it had acted inappropriately and was subjecting itself to significant consequences if it did not settle the matter.

Led team of more than 40 attorneys and staff in two-year project with Children’s Law Center of Massachusetts to examine life without parole sentences for juveniles in Massachusetts culminating with publication of the report, Until They Die a Natural Death: Youth Sentenced to Life Without Parole in Massachusetts, released September 2009.  

Publications

Delaware Chancery Court Provides Guidance on Prior Material Breach and Set-Offs, JD Supra, November 13, 2018.

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Rules Universities May Have Limited Liability When a Student Commits Suicide, JD Supra, May 10, 2018.