Conn Kavanaugh is a Boston law firm that represents individuals and organizations ranging from closely held and family businesses to Fortune 100 companies. Since our founding in 1988, clients have relied on us for practical and realistic strategies to resolve legal issues quickly and effectively, both in and out of the courthouse.
Conn Kavanaugh attorneys hold leadership positions in many community and bar organizations, publish articles and speak at continuing legal education seminars. The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts appointed one of our founding partners to the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers (BBO), the official body that investigates and evaluates complaints against lawyers. Several other firm attorneys are hearing officers for the BBO.
Pro Bono Services
Our attorneys provide pro bono legal services in collaboration with a number of nonprofit organizations, including the Legal Food Hub, Massachusetts Advocates for Children, the Women's Bar Foundation, the Victim Rights Law Center, Volunteer Lawyers Project, Health Law Advocates and Discovering Justice.
2015: Conn Kavanaugh has received a First Tier ranking in Boston for Employment Litigation by U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” for 2015.
2014: The publishers of Boston Magazine selected 16 Conn Kavanaugh attorneys as Massachusetts Super Lawyers. The publication also placed members of our team on its lists of Top 100 Massachusetts Lawyers, Top 100 New England Lawyers, Top 50 Massachusetts Women Lawyers, Top 50 New England Women Lawyers, and Massachusetts Rising Stars.
2014: The American Bar Association's Tort Trial & Insurance Section honored one of our partners with the Edmund S. Muskie Pro Bono Service Award.
2013: Law & Politics selected 12 Conn Kavanaugh attorneys as Massachusetts Super Lawyers. The publication also placed members of our team on its lists of Top 100 Massachusetts Lawyers, Top 50 Massachusetts Women Lawyers, and Massachusetts Rising Stars.
2013: The Massachusetts Defense Lawyers Association (MDLA) honored one of our partners with the Defense Lawyer of the Year award.
Why Choose Conn Kavanaugh
Boston is home to dozens of excellent law firms. Why should you turn to Conn Kavanaugh for assistance with your legal needs?
Conn Kavanaugh offers a level of accessibility and responsive, attentive service that larger firms cannot match. Maintaining close contact and open communication with clients really matters here. We believe in listening to clients and advising them in specific terms to solve their legal challenges. And we aim to develop an ongoing relationship of trust and confidence with clients, becoming part of their team.
We deliver many of the benefits you might associate with a larger firm — for example, breadth and depth of expertise. Each of our attorneys focuses on a select number of practice areas. Collectively, they give our firm the highly specialized expertise necessary to address wide-ranging client needs.
Our business attorneys have decades of experience negotiating deals for acquiring and selling companies through mergers, consolidations and asset and stock transactions. We are strong advocates and skilled negotiators. In addition, we bring considerable value to our clients in getting deals done efficiently and effectively while never losing sight of the importance of identifying and managing risk.
The Conn Kavanaugh team includes seasoned former prosecutors and a strong, deep bench of attorneys with civil and criminal trial experience, which equips us to solve complex litigation cases for clients. Some of our attorneys are fellows in the American College of Trial Lawyers, the nation's premier professional trial organization.
One reason so many of our clients choose us is that we staff our cases leanly and charge reasonable fees. In addition, we provide practical and realistic strategies to resolve legal issues quickly and effectively, within budgetary constraints.
Please call us today at 617.482.8200 to learn more about what sets Conn Kavanaugh apart.
Whether you are the owner, design professional, general contractor, project administrator, subcontractor, or supplier on a construction project, our Construction practice will assist you in achieving a successful project outcome.
Our Corporate/Transactional practice has a broad range of skills. This versatility allows them to remain a principal point of contact with our business clients and to move freely across multiple disciplines to ensure continuity of representation.
Our experienced Family Law/Probate Litigation attorneys work zealously to ensure rightful asset distributions in these emotionally charged proceedings. Our group handles a wide range of areas including prenuptial agreements, custody disputes, and post-divorce support or estate modifications.
Our decades of work in the food and beverage industry, including alcohol regulatory and distribution, have permitted us to gain expertise and insight into the typically fast paced and challenging world of our clients engaged in the food and beverage industry.
Our lawyers work with our insurance industry clients in a variety of ways. We represent their insureds in virtually every type of lawsuit for which insurance coverage is available. We represent insurance companies directly in bad faith actions, and in high-exposure losses or losses that present unusual or challenging coverage issues.
Staffing companies and Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs) are playing an increasingly important role in many aspects of human resource management, as employers are relying more and more on staffing companies and PEOs for payroll and employee benefit administration, risk management, and other increasingly complex administrative burdens.
Johanna practices in the area of civil litigation. Her areas of practice include ERISA, employment, insurance litigation (including life, health, disability and non-profit), complex tort, and products liability.
As an employment law advisor, Johanna provides proactive counseling to businesses in both for-profit and non-profit arenas. She counsels employers regarding employment-related policies and agreements, including non-competition and non-solicitation agreements, severance agreements and employee handbooks. She also provides general counseling to non-profits on a variety of legal and litigation matters including director’s and officer’s liability, human resources and personnel decisions, employment practices, contracts, First Amendment issues, collections and insurance.
Johanna’s litigation experience includes work on matters involving ERISA, employee benefits, consumer and home improvement product liability, insurance (life, health, disability and annuities), complex torts, nursing homes and probate disputes.
Outside of the office Johanna uses her legal skills to support her community including serving on the Executive Committee and Board of Overseers of The Jewish Journal, a local newspaper on the North Shore. She also enjoys running and coaching youth soccer.
Suffolk University Law School, J.D. magna cum laude (2002)
The University of Pennsylvania, B.A. magna cum laude (1998)
Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, 2002
United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, 2003
United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, 2004
Johanna was selected as a “Rising Star” by Law & Politics and the publishers of Boston Magazine for each year in which she was eligible since 2005. This designation is reserved for attorneys under the age of forty and with less than ten years of experience practicing law.
Counsel non-profits on responding to, investigating, and defending workplace harassment and discrimination claims. Update and revise employee handbooks, policies and procedures. Develop, implement, and advise board on conflict of interest policy. Provide advice and counsel to board on insurance, fiduciary duties, budgeting, litigation, and oversight of organization.
Obtained summary judgment for insurer based on plan participant’s failure to file his cause of action for miscalculated ERISA plan benefits more than six years after he knew or should have known of the insurer’s clear repudiation of his claimed entitlement to a greater amount of benefits. Drafted successful appellee brief on plaintiff’s appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Riley v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., 744 F.3d 241 (1st Cir. 2014).
Obtained summary judgment for insurers upholding decisions of claim fiduciaries under employee welfare benefit plans. See Parnagian v. MetLife Disability Ins. Co., 2017 WL 4366968 (D. Mass., Sept. 29, 2017) (upholding denial of benefits based on lack of objectively verifiable job limitations allegedly caused by condition that itself was not objectively verifiable); Sorensen v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., 2009 WL 901864 (D. Mass. Mar. 31, 2009) (applying favorable arbitrary and capricious standard of review based on functional analysis of defendant’s role as plan fiduciary); Keiffer v. Shaw Group Inc. Employee Welfare Plan, 2007 WL 3232549 (D.Mass.) (applying arbitrary and capricious standard of review).
Obtained summary judgment on behalf of insured seeking declaratory judgment and damages arising from insurer’s refusal to provide a defense to insured for claims made against insured in underlying patent infringement and product disparagement lawsuit. The favorable decision ultimately led to a $900,000 settlement in favor of the client.
Defended financial services company against claims brought by customer alleging that the broker stole client funds by fraudulently cashing checks made payable to customer, constituting withdrawals from customer’s annuities with financial services company. Conducted depositions of the plaintiff and accountant and successfully settled case at mediation.
Obtained favorable consent agreement with the Board of Registration in Medicine on behalf of medical provider accused of violating the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 by accessing the charts of two patients suspected of wrongdoing during an emergency lock down.
Complex Tort Defense
Represented technical services company in action brought by utility lineman who came into contact with primary power wires while stringing cable, resulting in catastrophic personal injuries. Critically deposed over thirty witnesses to elicit facts favorable to the company’s defense. Successfully opposed co-defendant utility’s summary judgment motion seeking contractual indemnification from the company. Favorable deposition testimony and summary judgment ruling led to a favorable settlement for the company.
Obtained defense jury verdict on negligence claim brought by subrogated insurer against an insulation company in the Norfolk Superior Court. Conducted depositions of key witnesses during discovery and presented and cross-examined witnesses at trial. Successfully drafted petition for interlocutory appeal pursuant to G. L. c. 231, s. 118 and obtained relief reversing trial court’s order precluding designation of trial expert. Obtained costs following defense verdict.
Obtained multiple favorable settlements on behalf of long-term care and assisted living facilities concerning negligence and breach of contract claims brought by residents and former residents.
Represented tobacco manufacturer and multiple retailers and/or distributors against claims brought by multiple individual smokers for breach of warranty, negligence, civil conspiracy, wrongful death, and violation of G. L. c. 93A. Coordinated defense efforts with national counsel. Developed defense strategies, drafted pleadings and motions, and conducted discovery and depositions. Successful deposition of plaintiff led to one outright dismissal of case.
Obtained summary judgment on behalf of cosmetic company based on plaintiff’s failure to assert product liability and negligence claims arising from injuries allegedly caused by company’s hair dye within the statute of limitations.
Obtained favorable settlement on behalf of insulation contractor with respect to claims that the contractor failed to warn of alleged dangers caused by exposure to insulation product.
Represent contestant in will contest and trust petition in Probate and Family Court based on undue influence, lack of capacity and fraud.
Professional Affiliation and Activities
Massachusetts Bar Association
Boston Bar Association
Defense Research Institute
The Jewish Journal, Executive Committee and Board of Overseers
Women's Bar Association, Member
Attended IADC Annual Trial Academy at Stanford Law School (2018)
Co-Presenter, "Dos and Don'ts for Depositions," Boston Bar Association, December 14, 2018
Contributing Editor, Massachusetts Chapter, Product Liability Desk Reference: A Fifty State Compendium, 2019
Contributing Editor, Massachusetts Chapter, Business Torts: A Fifty State Guide, 2019