Legal Briefs: News From Around NH

McLane Middleton, Down Rachlin add attorneys … and more

McLane Middleton hires two litigators


Jesse J. O’Neill

McLane Middleton has announced hiring of attorneys Jesse J. O’Neill and David C. Tencza. O’Neil, who represents clients in a wide variety of litigation matters, previously worked at the New Hampshire attorney general’s office for nearly nine years, most recently as a senior assistant attorney general.

Tencza has over 15 years of trial experience and also joins the Litigation Department at McLane Middleton, primarily working with clients on family law and criminal related matters.  He previously worked for Nashua law firm Welts, White & Fontaine and before that served as a Superior Court prosecutor in the


David C. Tencza

CLF asks EPA to regulate stormwater around Great Bay

The Conservation Law Foundation (has filed a formal petition under the Clean Water Act urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to regulate stormwater pollution from large commercial, industrial and institutional properties surrounding Great Bay. The runoff, CLF says, is a significant source of harmful nitrogen pollution in the Great Bay estuary.

CLF’s petition requests that the EPA use its powers under the Clean Water Act – known as residual designation authority – to regulate stormwater runoff from large properties in the watershed, including large parking lots, big box stores and strip malls, which are not currently regulated by EPA.

Designated as one of 28 estuaries of national significance under the EPA’s National Estuary Program, Great Bay has experienced water quality issues for years as a result of nitrogen pollution – as high as three times the levels acceptable for eelgrass health, for example.

Downs Rachlin adds two attorneys

Christian Chorba Headshot

Christian Chorba

Attorneys Christian Chorba and Rebecca Dourmashkin have joined the northern New England law firm Downs Rachlin Martin.

Christian Chorba joins as Of Counsel after having practiced as a litigation attorney at a Burlington, Vt., law firm for five years. Her practice focuses on land use, zoning, environmental regulation, torts, and employment matters. Also joining the firm’s litigation practice as an associate attorney, Dourmashkin previously worked for several years as a legislative staff member on the Senate Judiciary Committee for U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. Dourmashkin will focus her practice general litigation, including commercial litigation and white collar crime and government enforcement.

Both attorneys will work out of the firm’s Burlington office.

Dourmashkin Rebecca Headshot

Rebecca Dourmashkin

State joins lawsuit targeting federal ban on pistol braces

Attorney General John Formella has joined the AGs of 24 other states in a lawsuit against the federal government over a new rule limiting the use of pistol braces.

In a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in North Dakota, the states, led by West Virginia, are challenging a “final rule” implemented Jan. 13 by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The rule redefines certain pistols as “rifles,” “short-barreled rifles” or “firearms” if they are equipped with an accessory “that allows the weapon to be fired from the shoulder.” The new rule mandates that those registrations happen by May 31, 2023.

“This rule would turn millions of lawful common firearms owners into ‘short barreled rifle’ owners in the eyes of the federal government overnight, forcing them within the next four months to comply with the rule, apply for a permit, and pay a tax,” said Formella in a press release.

The rule was passed at the direction of U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, whose department includes the ATF.

Garland and other Biden administration officials argue that the rule is important to uphold the intent behind the 1934 federal law restricting short-barreled rifles and other firearms such as machine guns. That law, the National Firearms Act of 1934, was passed in reaction to gang violence during Prohibition.

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