Monthly Archives: November 2016

Medfield Inclusion Project

Dear Editor:

“Why 40Better – the Medfield Inclusion Project is a better solution for our town.

Our town is at a crossroads. We have an opportunity to make real, lasting, and impactful change that can serve to integrate mandated town 40B requirements with support for people with disabilities. Change begins with a dream and a vision; but it will “take a village.”

For me, the vision started in August of 1993 when my pediatrician informed me that my newborn son had Down syndrome. Lying in my hospital bed, in shock, I began fast-forwarding through Andrew’s life into adulthood. Who would take care of him as I aged? Would he have friends? Where would he live? Twenty-three years later, the questions remain unanswered, but there is reason to be hopeful.

Medfield is a wonderful place to raise a child with a disability. Kindness and philanthropy abound here. The Integrated Preschool, inclusive classrooms, and a thriving Best Buddies programs are examples of the heart in our community. Our kids see those with differences as peers and embrace friendships with them. For individuals with disabilities and their families, the public school years are the best of times. Their real challenges begin on graduation day, when they enter the world of Adult Services. Programs for adults are grossly under-funded, jobs opportunities are scarce, transportation is unreliable, friends have moved away, and housing has a waiting list of over 10 years.

The Medfield Inclusion Project seeks to provide adults with disabilities a path to happiness and fulfillment in their local communities through job creation, housing and friendships. We have a unique opportunity to create Community Residential Homes for 9 individuals. As a bonus, each bed counts towards the town’s Subsidized Housing Inventory (SHI).

This may solve our immediate 40B needs and give us Safe Harbor from the Mega-40B; but we must act quickly!

There are dozens of ways to help. PLEASE join me on Thursday, December 1, at 7 pm at the UCC Church at 496 Main St. to learn more about Community Residences, the Medfield Inclusion Project, and 40Better. Your attendance will literally open doors and make a difference!”


Suzanne Siino, 358 Main Street, Medfield

Veterans Day Breakfast – Wow!


The Medfield veterans were poignantly honored on Veterans Day with the now annual Veterans Day Breakfast at The Center, thanks to soon to retire Veteran Service Officer Ron Griffin, which included entertainment by the Singing Trooper, Dan Clark, in the bottom photo.  Dan Clark is one great, professional, polished show, that would be well worth viewing the show on Medfield TV (click here).

All Viet Nam veterans were thanked and honored by a reception line composed of ten town officials for their service with a Presidential Proclamation, a pin, and a sticker, as part of the 50th year celebration of the Viet Nam War era veterans – about forty Viet Nam veterans were specially honored.

Service to the veterans was provided by the students from the Medfield High School group Warriors for the Warriors, seen standing in the top photo.


BoS on 11/29

TOWN OF MEDFIELD MEETING NOTICE POSTED: TOWN CLERK POSTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF M.G.L. CHAPTER 39 SECTION 23A AS AMENDED. Board of Selectmen Board or Committee PLACE OF MEETING DAY, DATE, AND TIME Town Hall, Chenery Meeting Room 2°d floor Tuesday November 29, 2016@ 7:00 PM AGENDA (SUBJECT TO CHANGE) 7:00 PM Public Hearing-Tax Classification Board of Assessors will provide relevant information regarding the tax rate 7: 15 PM Dawn Alcott Update Selectmen on advisory council status 7:30 PM Medfield Historic Commission, David Temple, co-Chair Present Preservation {.ward to Hasipida family Discuss Commission's activities 7:50 PM Medfield Historic District Commission, Michael Taylor, Chairman Provide update on activities NEW BUSINESS Vote to authorize Town Administrator to sign Change Order pertaining to Hospital Road Water Main Other business that may arise Signature ((- 22-(~ Date

HHP approved by DHCD


Step #1 completed:  The Town of Medfield today received the letter below from the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) announcing that our Housing Production Plan had been approved.

Also attached are the two letters from our Representatives, Denise Garlick and Shawn Dooley to DHCD and MassHousing citing issues with respect to the Dale Street 40B proposal.

Commonwealth of Massachusetts DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING & COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT Charles D. Baker, Governor + Karyn E. Polito, Lt. Governor + Chrystal Kornegay, Undersecretary November 17; 2016 Mr. Mark Fisher, Chairman Medfield Board of Selectman Town House/ 459 Main Street 02052 Dear Mr. Fisher: The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) approves the Town of Medfield's Housing Production Plan (HPP) pursuant to 760 CMR 56.03(4). The effective date for the HPP is October 7, 2016, the date that DHCD received a complete plan submission. The HPP has a five year term and will expire on October 6, 2021. Approval of your HPP allows the Town to request DHCD's Certification of Municipal Compliance when: • Housing units affordable to low and moderate income households have been produced during one calendar year, totaling at least 0.5% (21 units) of year round housing wiits. • All units produced are eligible to be counted on the Subsidized Housing Inventory (SIIl). If you have questions about eligibility for the SHI, please visit our website at: • All units have been produced in accordance with the approved HPP and DHCD Guidelines. I applaud your efforts to plan for the housing needs of Medfield. Please contact Phillip DeMartino, Technical Assistance Coordinator, at (617) 573-1357 or, if you need assistance as you implement your BPP. Sincerely, ~~ Associate Director cc Senator Shawn Dooley Representative James E. Timilty Representative Denise C. Garlick Sarah Raposa, Town Planner, Medfield Osler. L. Peterson, Clerk, Board of Selectman, Medfield Michael J. Sullivan, Town Administrator, Medfield Wright C. Dickenson, Chair, Planning Board, Medfield Stephen M. Nolan, Chair, Affordable Housing Committee, Medfield 100 Cambridge Street., Suite 300 Boston, Massachusetts 02114 617.573.1100 ' ' '· • ~' 1' ~ ~mmo/u,1,1.ealhf oj1 /lt:M:Ja,c,,{u-Jett:J J'd~tcle- q/.!Jt/21"C.Je1itat/t0.1 · ,9late .7'tb1.t120161117-dhcd-ltr-from_page_220161117-dhcd-ltr-from_page_320161117-dhcd-ltr-from_page_420161117-dhcd-ltr-from_page_5

GCA completed


Today the Town of Medfield completed its submissions to DOER to qualify as a green community under the state’s Green Communities Act, as per the attached email from the town’s consultant at the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) –  interestingly, our main MAPC consultant is in Morocco this moment at a conference.  There was a last minute flurry of activity to locate all the required town actions.

11/21/2016 3:34PM
Green Communities Application Complete and Submitted: Medfield
All of the required documents for Medfield’s Green Communities application have
been submitted through DOER’s online portal. We have received confirmation from
DOER that they have marked Medfield’s application ‘Complete’. Congratulations to
everyone involved!

DOER will follow up with MAPC directly during the review process if there are
items that require further clarification. Axum is back in the office tomorrow
(11/22). Please do not hesitate to follow up with either of us if you have any
questions regarding the process moving forward.


Ani Krishnan
Interim Manager of Clean Energy
Metropolitan Area Planning Council
60 Temple Place, Boston, MA 02111
617-933-0715 |

Please be advised that the Massachusetts Secretary of State considers e-mail
to be a public record, and therefore subject to the Massachusetts Public Records
Law, M.G.L. c. 66 § 10.




This article is from my American Association for Justice monthly magazine –


Theme Article

E-cigarettes spark litigation

November 2016 – Annesley H. DeGaris

Since hitting the market several years ago, e-cigarettes have rapidly become a popular alternative to cigarettes. But they raise safety questions—from product defects to chemical exposure.

E-cigarette use has surged among all age groups, with proponents hailing the devices as a safer alternative to cigarettes. But continuing research raises increasing safety concerns. As more cases alleging product defects and other claims are being filed, it is important to have a basic understanding of ­e-cigarettes and their safety issues.

An e-cigarette is a device that releases vaporized nicotine that is then inhaled—a process known as “vaping.” Typical e-cigarettes include a battery, atomizer, nicotine cartridge, LED light, and sensor. The sensor determines when the consumer starts to inhale and causes the battery to power the atomizer, which heats up the “e-liquid” and turns it into a vapor. The nicotine cartridge holds the e-liquid, a fluid that typically consists of nicotine, a diluent such as propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin, and a flavoring.1

E-liquids come in many flavors, with names targeted to appeal to children, such as “Strawberry Fields” and “Smurfberry.” E-liquid manufacturers also offer tobacco- and menthol-flavored e-liquids to help market the device for smoking cessation.

In 2008, e-cigarette companies raked in $20 million in sales.2 The 2016 e-cigarette­ market is projected to be worth more than $4 billion.3 And experts believe that e-cigarette sales will eclipse cigarette sales within 10 years.4

Between 2010 and 2013, the percentage of adults using e-cigarettes more than doubled.5 Between 2013 and 2014, the percentage of teens in middle school and high school using e-cigarettes tripled.6 One study found that 24.6 percent of high school students surveyed reported current use of a tobacco product, with e-cigarettes being the most common.7

E-cigarettes have become so widespread that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has considered banning their use in public housing units,8 the U.S. Department of Transportation treats the devices as cigarettes and prohibits vaping on airplanes, and the FDA recently issued new regulations.9

Hazards: Known and Unknown

Several safety hazards have been associated with e-cigarettes, including exploding devices and potential toxic chemical exposure. Although the FDA recognizes some particles in e-vapor as generally safe for ingestion, no studies have determined the particles’ effects when inhaled.10 But reports of adverse health events include hospitalization for pneumonia, congestive heart failure, disorientation­, seizure, hypotension, and nicotine poisoning.11 Early studies suggested that vaping is as safe as breathing normal air,12 but more recent studies show that the cancer risks are similar to those of traditional cigarettes.13

E-cigarettes with variable voltage pose an additional risk. Vaping at a high voltage has an estimated cancer risk five to 15 times as high as the risk associated with long-term cigarette smoking.14 Most variable-voltage e-cigarettes use 3.7 volt batteries, as do standard e-cigarettes. The difference is that a variable-voltage e-cigarette has a circuit that stores and regulates power from the battery, delivering it to the atomizer tank at the voltage the consumer chooses.

The higher the voltage, the greater the nicotine kick—but also a greater exposure to certain chemicals.15 Specifically, the e-cigarette’s battery heats the propylene glycol and glycerin in the e-liquid to the point of decomposition, causing the formation of carcinogens such as formaldehyde.16

Diacetyl is another concerning chemical. It is used to flavor e-cigarettes and has been found in more than 75 percent of the devices and their refill liquids.17 Diacetyl is linked to severe respiratory disease such as bronchiolitis obliterans—also known as “popcorn lung” because of its diagnosis in workers at microwave-popcorn-processing factories who inhaled the chemical, used in artificial butter flavoring.18

Recent research has called attention to other health concerns: e-cigarettes may lead to tumor growth;19 high levels of inhaled nanoparticles can cause inflammation and are linked to asthma, stroke, heart disease, and diabetes;20 and accidentally ingesting the e-liquid may lead to nicotine poisoning. This year, poison control centers have received more than 1,000 reports of potential liquid nicotine poisoning.21 In 2014, more than 50 percent of liquid nicotine poisoning calls involved children under age six.22

Another source of injury is exploding devices. The culprit is the lithium-ion battery. Similar to problems seen in laptops and cellphones, the batteries are prone to overheating. Extreme temperatures can cause the batteries to malfunction.23 When overheated, the cylindrical shape of e-cigarettes may propel the device, contributing to the risk of explosion and fire.24

FDA Regulations

Although e-cigarettes have been on the market for several years, the FDA only introduced regulations earlier this year; they became final on Aug. 8, 2016.25

The regulations already placed on traditional cigarettes—such as disclosing all ingredients, including health warnings on product packages, and requiring that all purchasers (online and in stores) be at least 18—are now applicable to all e-cigarettes.26 As part of the regulations, the agency must approve all tobacco products, which includes e-cigarettes, that were not commercially marketed by Feb. 15, 2007.27

The regulations apply to all manufacturers, distributors, sellers, and anyone else involved with the e-cigarette industry. Manufacturers will have to register with the FDA and provide a list of ingredients that the agency will review for approval. Manufacturers have argued that only those few businesses that can afford to comply will survive.28 At least one manufacturer lawsuit has been filed against the FDA seeking to have the rules vacated and declared unlawful.29

Emerging Litigation

E-cigarette litigation is varied and still in the early stages. Plaintiffs have brought cases alleging false advertising, lack of health warnings, and personal injuries—including lung disease, nicotine poisoning, and combustion of devices and batteries that caused severe burns.

Some causes of action, such as consumer fraud and deceptive trade practices, depend on the vagaries of state law, with some states—such as California—being more advanced in the nature and range of applicable consumer protection statutes. Products liability actions include claims for defective design and inadequate warnings.30

The first e-cigarette explosion lawsuit was tried in September 2015. The jury awarded the plaintiff nearly $1.9 million after the device exploded in her car, causing second-degree burns.31 Other cases involve an e-cigarette exploding in the plaintiff’s mouth, requiring doctors to surgically repair the plaintiff’s tongue and amputate a finger;32 and an e-cigarette that exploded and set a room on fire, creating a large hole in the plaintiff’s cheek.33

Several class actions also have been filed, including one in California alleging dangerous levels of diacetyl and other chemicals34 and lack of warning labels about the known links to popcorn lung, emphysema, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.35 Other class actions have alleged false advertising and marketing claims about e-cigarettes’ ability to help users quit smoking, failure to warn or inform consumers of associated health risks, and misleading consumers about e-liquid ingredients and their safety.36

Although litigation is still developing, when screening a potential case, plaintiff attorneys should consider issues that are common to products liability cases. Preservation of the device—including the battery and charger, which are sometimes sold separately from the device—and establishing a proper chain of custody in an explosion case, for instance, must be scrupulous. The early and careful gathering of all of a plaintiff’s medical records will be key, regardless of whether the plaintiff was injured by an exploding device or from exposure to chemicals.

As in any case, client screening is crucial. Ask potential clients about any modifications they made to the device. Selecting causation experts will require careful research—especially in exposure cases given the emerging science of e-cigarette toxins and the strictures of Daubert. Although device manufacturers are obvious defendants, many are located outside the United States. You should look into bringing defective design and inadequate warning claims against local retailers and distributors.

The e-cigarette is a nicotine-delivery device, and its growing popularity has revealed major products liability issues. Although FDA regulation of these devices should be applauded, history shows that the civil justice system often can create the necessary change faster than government regulation. With this device, both are needed.

Annesley H. DeGaris is a partner at DeGaris & Rogers in Birmingham, Ala. He can be reached at

Residents’ submission to MassHousing on Mega-B

Town residents submitted an excellent letter to MassHousing opposing the proposed 40B at the intersection of Rte. 27 and Dale Street.  This is a link to that letter:


This is a link to the exhibits attached to that letter: