Michael J. Kennefick

Of Counsel

O: 781-817-4900

D: 781-218-2837


Mike has significant experience in all aspects of litigation, having spent over two decades trying cases before the Land, Superior, Housing and District Courts. His areas of expertise include zoning and land use, code enforcement, licensing, permitting, comprehensive permitting, wetlands, health and sanitary code enforcement, rent control and employment, as well as public and private construction, including preparation and negotiation of contracts, resolution of payment and work item issues, defending against bid disputes, mediation and litigation of change order claims, the prosecution and defense of breach claims and the prosecution of claims for design work defects. In addition to his trial and appellate court practice, Mike has over twenty years of experience in local board representation, appearing on behalf of municipalities and private clients. He has also successfully represented both municipalities and private clients before state agencies, including the Automatic Sprinkler Appeals Board, the Architectural Access Board, the Building Code Appeals Board, the Board of Electrical Examiners Appeals and the Civil Service Commission, as well as in administrative appeals before the Superior and Appeals Courts.

Some of Mike’s results include:

  • ▪ Judgment, affirmed by the Appeals Court, that a Zoning Board of Appeals order lawfully required the owner of a property historically used as a commercial gravel pit to cease and desist from importing 1.2 million tons of materials excavated from Boston and other metropolitan areas, pursuant to a contract between the landowner and the excavating companies, and refuting the landowner’s argument that the importation was an “as of right” activity required to reclaim the gravel pit, and therefore exempt from zoning restrictions.

  • ▪ Reversal, by the Appeals Court, of a Land Court judgment that found that a landowner’s importation of 2 million tons of excavated materials from Boston and other metropolitan areas, in which the landowner received payment from the excavating companies pursuant to contract between them, as well as Administrative Consent Order with MassDEP entered into in accordance with the Interim Policy on the Re-Use of Soil for Large Reclamation Projects (Policy # COMM-15-01), was for the preparation of the land for agricultural purposes and therefore exempt from a Town’s zoning prohibitions.
  • ▪ Jury verdict affirming a decision of a Selectboard issued under a rarely invoked statute, G.L. c. 139, §1, requiring the razing and removal of a partially constructed building following the revocation of building permits for the project.
  • ▪ Judgment on behalf of a university declaring that a Town’s Building Commissioner acted beyond his statutory and regulatory authority when he assessed a penalty, pursuant to a Town-adopted fee schedule, against the school for having commenced construction of a 31-unit dormitory without building permits.
  • ▪ Jury verdict on behalf of general contractor, as well as judgment awarding attorneys’ fees under G.L. c. 93A, against husband and wife for work relating to the construction of a mixed-use building in the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, after establishing that the spouses were engaged in trade or commerce as contemplated by the statute.
  • ▪ Judgment, affirmed by the Appeals Court, that a Town’s Building Commissioner could not be compelled, by a Town resident through a request for enforcement under G.L. c. 40A, or by a Court Order in an action for mandamus, to enforce a Town’s zoning bylaws as zoning enforcement is a discretionary matter.
  • ▪ Judgment in favor of a group of waterfront property owners in an action to remove cloud on title under G.L. c. 240, §§1-3 and 6-10, and summary judgment declaring and adjudicating that the defendants held an easement by estoppel over a footpath to a beach that plaintiff had attempted block their access to.
  • ▪ Judgment, affirmed by the Appeals Court, that a Conservation Commission properly denied a Notice of Intent for the construction of a building within a portion of a “no disturb zone” established by the Town’s wetlands regulations.
  • ▪ Order of Receivership, issued following trial, over a 120-unit mobile home park, based on owner’s failure to comply with prior orders of a local Rent Control Board.
  • ▪ Judgment in favor of a municipality, by invoking a laches defense, dismissing a civil action in the nature of mandamus seeking an order requiring the Building Commissioner to revoke building permits and to order the removal of two wind turbines after it was discovered that the turbines were partially constructed on land not authorized by a Town Meeting vote.
  • ▪ Judgment affirming a Board of Health’s Order for Abatement of Nuisance requiring the owner of two wind turbines to shut the turbines down at certain times and during certain wind conditions after determining that they were generating noise in excess of MassDEP’s regulations, standards and policies.
  • ▪ Decision of the Automatic Sprinkler Appeals Board overturning an order of a Fire Chief to install sprinklers in three attached commercial buildings brought into common ownership by the property owner, so uniquely constructed that they didn’t meet sprinkler requirements outlined in G.L. c. 148, §26G and, also, that the renovations of the buildings could not be considered “major,” as defined by the Board’s Guidance Documents.
  • ▪ Judgement, affirmed by the Appeals Court, that a Board of Health’s decision to suspend retailer’s license to sell tobacco products after it was discovered that the store had been selling tobacco products identified as “flavored,” in violation of the Town’s prohibition on the sale of such products, was not arbitrary or capricious or based on insufficient evidence, and that the regulations were lawfully promulgated under G.L. c. 111.
  • ▪ Judgment, affirmed by the Appeals Court, overturning a Civil Service Commission decision that modified a Town’s termination of a police officer to a suspension.
  • ▪ Judgment dismissing a million dollar defamation claim against a Cape Cod newspaper filed by a former Town Council member.


  • ▪ University of New Hampshire (1997)

  • ▪ - Roger Williams University School of Law (2000)


  • ▪ Massachusetts

  • ▪ Federal District Court, District of Massachusetts

Community Involvement:

Mike was a member of the Town of Rochester Zoning Board of Appeals for eight years and, prior to that, sat as the Chair of the Town of Acushnet Board of Public Works, where he played an instrumental role in obtaining reduced-interest public funding for the installation of sewage to over 1000 homes and represented the Town before MassDEP to see to the completion of the project. He was also involved in the design and creation of a water independence program for the Town, as well as obtaining federal funding for the project.