Jessica Ragosta Early is a Boston-based attorney and member of Holland & Knight's Litigation and Dispute Resolution Practice, as well as the firm's COVID-19 Response Team. Ms. Early is a trial lawyer with extensive experience in all phases of the litigation process. She has successfully represented clients in the prosecution and defense of claims in federal and state trial courts and courts of appeals.
In addition, Ms. Early advises companies and individuals regarding a variety of business disputes, including breach of contract, unfair trade practices, unfair competition, breach of fiduciary duty in both the corporate and trusts and estates contexts, and commercial real estate disputes. Clients rely on Ms. Early to help avoid or resolve conflict short of litigation whenever possible and to vigorously represent them through all phases of litigation, including at the trial and appellate level.
During the pandemic, Ms. Early has closely followed developments in the law due to COVID-19, particularly in the area of contract and commercial lease disputes and defenses, including force majeure, impossibility, and frustration of purpose. Ms. Early also has successfully conducted remote depositions and hearings. Ms. Early's representative engagements include:
- representing a major retailer in a COVID-19-induced commercial lease dispute concerning a flagship store
- representing an international retailer in a construction dispute involving its first U.S. store
- obtaining summary judgment for an investment manager of affordable housing in multiple partnership disputes with the general partner and lender, and defending the judgments on appeal
- representing a large international oil and gas company at the trial and appellate levels in numerous environmental and regulatory matters, including a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and Clean Water Act (CWA) citizen suit alleging failure to adequately prepare against potential impacts of climate change, and product liability claims by various states for alleged contamination of groundwater caused by gasoline containing methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE)
- representing a media company, television personality and former employees in a Massachusetts state court action involving partnership and contract disputes, as well as allegations of unfair competition, breach of fiduciary duty, defamation and misappropriation of trade secrets
- representing a medical technology company in a Massachusetts arbitration of Wage Act, contract and fiduciary duty claims involving the former CEO
- defending a national consulting firm against misappropriation of trade secret and contract claims in Texas state court
- serving as lead counsel at trial in defense of professional trustee against claims of breach of fiduciary duty
- representing an individual trustee in dispute involving allegations of breach of fiduciary duty and attempted removal of trustee
- representing a television station in a copyright infringement action in Massachusetts federal court
- drafting an amicus brief on behalf of an energy consulting firm and various municipal agencies concerning a question of statutory interpretation before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
- representing a television show producer in a Massachusetts state court action involving a royalty dispute
Prior to joining Holland & Knight, Ms. Early served as a judicial clerk in the Massachusetts Appeals Court for the Honorable Scott L. Kafker, now a justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. She also interned as a judicial clerk for the Honorable Margaret R. Hinkle (Ret.) of the Business Litigation Session of the Massachusetts Superior Court.
Ms. Early is passionate about empowering women and girls, including as a Boston coordinator of the Holland & Knight Women's Initiative, as an active member of the Women's Bar Association and through her recently completed service on the board of directors of YW Boston.
- University of Connecticut School of Law, J.D., with high honors
- Boston College, B.A., cum laude
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
- All State Courts in Massachusetts
- U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts
- Supreme Judicial Court Standing Advisory Committee on the Rules of Appellate Procedure, Member
- Women’s Bar Association
- Boston Bar Association, Business & Commercial Litigation Steering Committee, Co-Chair
- Massachusetts Super Lawyers magazine, 2019-2021
- Women’s Bar Association, Emerging Women Leaders in the Law Award, 2019
- Top Women of Law, Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, 2018
- Holland & Knight Rising Star, Class of 2017; Coordinator, 2018
- Rising Star, Massachusetts Super Lawyers magazine, 2016-2018
- Women’s Bar Association, Women’s Leadership Initiative, Class of 2013–2014