John is an experienced trial and appellate lawyer representing businesses, individuals and institutions with a focus on real estate-related civil litigation. This includes eminent domain and other real estate and business valuation issues as well as land use, permitting, environmental and other regulatory matters.
John joined Rackemann, Sawyer & Brewster in 2014 as Counsel in the firm’s litigation practice. Prior to joining Rackemann, John was an Assistant Massachusetts Attorney General for over 20 years, where he practiced as a trial lawyer defending state agencies in a variety of civil lawsuits. For much of that time, John’s practice centered on eminent domain and related land use matters. John was appointed Senior Counsel and Supervisor responsible for overseeing and supervising the defense of all real estate cases filed against the state, including claims in Land Court and eminent domain jury claims in Superior Court.
Before joining the Attorney General’s Office, John practiced for over five years at Burns & Levinson in the General Trial Department, where he represented clients facing complex commercial and civil litigation in state and federal courts.
While John’s legal experience is predominantly in civil litigation, he has also handled criminal litigation, including trial and appellate work, both as a defense attorney and, for a short time, as a prosecutor.
John has tried many eminent domain cases, and briefed and argued numerous appeals, arising out of major public works projects in eastern and central Massachusetts, including:
- Boston’s Big Dig
- Sagamore Rotary Flyover Project
- Route 44 limited access highway project in southeastern Massachusetts
- Route 146 and Route 146/Route 90 interchange project in central Massachusetts
- Route 3 North road widening and interchange improvement project in north central Massachusetts.
John has also tried and handled appeals of eminent domain cases arising out of various:
- Bridge repair and replacement projects
- Courthouse-related construction projects
- Watershed protection, conservation, park and open space preservation projects and
- Road widening and infrastructure improvement projects.
Examples of reported appellate decisions John has briefed and argued include:
- Sorenti Bros., Inc. v. Com., 468 Mass. 189 (2014)
- 249 A Street Coop. Corp. v. Mass. Highway Dept., 80 Mass. App. Ct.. 1111 (2011)
- Boston Water & Sewer Commission v. Com., 64 Mass. App. Ct. 611 (2005)
Frontage Development Corp. v. Com., 57 Mass. App. Ct. 1106, further app. rev. den. 439 Mass. 1103 (2003)
- Boston Bar Association
- Roslindale Village Main Streets, Economic Development Committee
Publications & Talks
John has lectured and given presentations about eminent domain to various groups and was invited by the Federal Highway Administration’s National Highway Institute to be a “Subject Matter Expert” as part of a team designing an eminent domain course to be offered nationwide to real estate professionals.
Travel, languages, urban design