City Solicitor

The Office of the City Solicitor serves as the Law Department for the City of Holyoke. The Solicitor acts as counsel and performs any legal services that directly involve the city. The office manages all proceedings at law or in equity to which the City is a party,  including union negotiation, lawsuits against the city, tort claims from property damage and takings involving Housing Court.

Additionally, the Solicitor provides her legal opinion to advise the Mayor, the City Council or any City department head on municipal affairs. These opinions are used as legal precedence to inform later municipal actions and to assess the legality or liability of city policy. For this reason, the Solicitor serves as a close adviser for the Mayor on all legal matters.

The Solicitor works directly for the city government and as such cannot provide legal advice to individual residents. However, the Office of the Solicitor encourages residents with legal questions to consult the helpful links included in the Frequently Asked Questions section.

 

Kara Cunha - Second Assistant City Solicitor

CunhaK@holyoke.org

Sara Carroll - Staff Attorney

CarrollS@holyoke.org

Suzanne Beyer - Administrative Assistant

BeyerS@holyoke.org

Paul Payer - Staff Attorney

PayerP@holyoke.org

William Newcomb - Staff Attorney

NewcombW@holyoke.org

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 I can’t afford an attorney. Can the Department represent me?

The Law Department does not represent private citizens. The Law Department only represents the City, and all officers, departments, boards and commissions within the City, concerning any matter arising in connection with the exercise of their official powers. If you need an attorney, contact the Hampden County Bar Association at http://www.hcbar.org  or call 413-732-4648. The HCBA can help identify legal resources for persons of limited financial means.

 

How do I initiate a claim for property damage or personal injury against the City?

To initiate a claim for property damage or personal injury against the City, you must complete a “Claim against the City of Holyoke” form and submit it to the Office of the City Clerk.  This form is available online and in person at the Office of the City Clerk.

 

The City says I owe back taxes or other charges. With whom should I speak?

David Guzman Jr., Collector of Taxes or Debbie Haslam, Deputy Collector at 536 Dwight St. Room 6, Holyoke, MA 01040. Phone: (413) 322-5530 and Hours are Monday-Friday 8:30-4:30.
If your property is now in Tax Title Taking you will need to contact the City Treasurer’s office at (413) 322-5560.

 

I’d like to request a pay payoff figure for a lien/judgment. Where should I call?

David Guzman Jr., Collector of Taxes or Debbie Haslam, Deputy Collector at 536 Dwight St. Room 6, Holyoke, MA 01040. Phone: (413) 322-5530 and Hours are Monday-Friday 8:30-4:30.

 

Where do I call if I have a problem with my landlord? Where do I call if I am having a problem with a tenant?

 

Community Legal Aid   Mass Justice Project
http://www.communitylegal.org  http://www.majp.org 
One Monarch Place, Suite 400, 57 Suffolk Street, 4th floor 
Springfield, MA 01144  Holyoke, MA 01040 
Telephone: (413) 781-7814  Telephone: (413) 533-2660 
Toll-free: 1-800-639-1109  Toll-free: 1-800-639-1209 
Fax: (413) 746-3221  Fax: (413) 535-1777

 

The following is the contact information for the Western Division Housing Court.

Western Housing Court Division of Massachusetts
37 Elm Street, P.O. Box 559
Springfield, MA 01102-0559
Clerk’s Office  (413) 748-7838
Housing Specialist Department (413) 748-7838

 

Whom should I contact to assist me with lead paint problems or other health concerns at my residence?

Board of Health-Brian Fitzgerald-Director,    
20 Koreans Veterans Plaza, 
Room 306, Holyoke, MA 01040. 
Phone: (413) 322-5595, 
Fax: (413) 322-5596.
Monday-Friday 8:30-4:30.

You can also contact: Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program. http://www.mass.gov/dph/clppp

 

I  am being challenged by a tenant of my property in Housing Court. Do I have to come to court?

Yes, if you fail to do so, fines may be levied on you and your property. If you cannot attend court of that day, please contact Office of the City Solicitor at (413) 322-5580, and the Western Housing Court Division at Clerk’s Office (413) 748-7838, or Housing Specialist Department (413) 748-7838.

 

I am a tenant who is challenging the owner of the property in Housing Court. Do I have to come to court?

As a tenant you are not obligated to attend; however, you may choose to do so to protect your rights.

 

If the property owner is treating the tenant inappropriately during the court process, what option is provided to the tenant following the filing of the complaint?

One of the options the tenant has is to attend the court hearing and inform the court of the situation. 

 

I have recently sold a piece of property that has been challenged in Housing Court. Should I attend court?

Yes, you should appear in court and provide the documents that will indicate the sale of the property as well as the identity and address of the new owner. You may contact the Office of the City Solicitor at (413) 322-5580.

 

What do I do if I am unable to comply with Board of Health requests to resolve health concerns due to tenant non-compliance?

Please attend the court hearing and provide information regarding your efforts to obtain the tenant’s compliance with the abatement process.
 

If I am unable to attend court due to illness or infirmity, what should I do?

Please contact the Office of the City Solicitor at (413) 322-5580 as well as the Western Housing Court Division at Clerk’s Office (413) 748-7838, or Housing Specialist Department (413) 748-7838.

 

My neighbor’s property is causing a public nuisance. Can the Law Department help me sue my neighbor?

The Law Department represents City departments and employees in their official duties, it cannot represent private parties. However, complaints about conditions at private properties can be reported to: 

 
Board of Health-Brian Fitzgerald-Director,
20 Koreans Veterans Plaza, 
Room 306, 
Holyoke, MA 01040. 
Phone: (413) 322-5595, 
Fax: (413) 322-5596.
Monday-Friday 8:30-4:30.

 

I’m involved with a case against the City. How can I find out which attorney is representing the City in my case?

Contact the Law department at (413) 322-5580 to obtain the name of the lawyer assigned to your case.

 

The City Attorney’s Office is responsible for providing legal opinions and special reports to the City Council and the Mayor on legal and policy questions.

 

Final Opinion - Final_Opinion_Needle_Exchange

Department Head

Heather Egan

Heather Egan

City Solicitor

Office Address

20 Korean Veterans Plaza
City Hall Annex
Room 204
Holyoke MA, 01040 Map

Contact Info

Main Office

(413) 322-5580

(413) 322-5581 (fax)

Office Hours

Monday - Friday
8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

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Posted on November 20, 2012 by