Jessica M. Farrelly

Member | At Icard Merrill Since 2016

T (941) 366-8100

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Florida, 1997
Massachusetts, 1997

Practice Concentration

Ms. Farrelly concentrates her practice in the area of employment law.  Her extensive employment litigation experience includes representing employers in the defense of all types of employment law claims at the administrative, trial and appellate levels.  In the state and federal courts in Florida and Massachusetts, Ms. Farrelly has litigated claims of race, national origin, sex, pregnancy, religious discrimination, and retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act; age discrimination claims under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, disability discrimination claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and wage and hour claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act.  Ms. Farrelly has defended similar discrimination and harassment claims under state law, as well as retaliation claims under Florida’s workers’ compensation retaliation statute and the public and private sector Whistleblower Acts.

Ms. Farrelly has also represented management before administrative agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Florida Commission on Human Relations, and the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.   She has conducted workplace investigations involving allegations of employee misconduct, sexual and other harassment, discrimination, and bullying.

Ms. Farrelly also regularly provides practical counseling and risk management guidance to management and assists with developing proactive measures to minimize future risk and liability.  She assists employers with a broad range of employment issues, such as analyzing staffing arrangements, drafting employment and independent contractor agreements, and guiding management and human resources personnel through potential pitfalls related to interviewing, hiring, performance evaluations, discipline, accommodations, and terminations.  Ms. Farrelly also collaborates with employers regarding review and drafting of handbooks and policy manuals.  She provides tailored in-house training regarding discrimination, harassment, discipline, and other employment law issues.     

In addition to employment law, Ms. Farrelly’s broad-based litigation experience spans several other areas.  She has successfully litigated claims involving wrongful death, negligence, premises liability, over-service or dram shop allegations, professional liability, and other general complex liability matters.  Throughout her career, Ms. Farrelly has won jury trials in state and federal courts in both Florida and Massachusetts. 

Ms. Farrelly also has significant appellate experience.  She has successfully handled appeals and argued before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, the Appeals Court of Massachusetts, and the District Court of Appeals in Florida, First and Fifth Districts.



  • Suffolk University Law School, (J.D., 1996), cum laude
    • Executive Member, Moot Court Honor Board
  • University of Dayton (B.A., 1993), cum laude

Court Admissions

  • Florida State Courts
  • Massachusetts State Courts
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court, Massachusetts


Background and Experience

Before joining Icard Merrill, Ms. Farrelly practiced with law firms specializing in employment law, and with prestigious regional civil defense litigation firms in Boston and Orlando. Some of her representative matters include:

  • Successful appeal and oral argument before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit affirming summary judgment granted by federal court on behalf of Fortune 500 Company dismissing age discrimination claims and various contract-based claims.
  • Defense verdict, as local counsel, in Massachusetts Superior Court jury trial on behalf of Boston bar/restaurant on wrongful death claim involving alleged negligence based on building code violations.
  • Defense verdict, as first-chair, in Massachusetts Superior Court jury trial on behalf of Boston bar/restaurant on claims of negligence and failure to provide proper security allegedly causing serious personal injury.
  • Dismissal of collective action under the Fair Labor Standards Act alleging unpaid overtime wages on basis that plaintiffs failed to follow proper procedure to commence collective action.
  • Dismissal of discrimination claim under the Family Medical Leave Act based on plaintiff’s inability to establish defendants were “employers” as defined by the Act.
  • Dismissal of workers’ compensation retaliation claim pursuant to Fla. Stat. § 440.205 on basis that plaintiff could not establish, as a matter of law, any causal connection between alleged adverse employment action and workers’ compensation injury.
  • Summary judgment on behalf of elevator service repair company on claims of negligence and loss of consortium, as well as third-party claims for indemnification and contribution, arising out of trip and fall causing serious personal injury.
  • Summary judgment on behalf of Ivy League University dismissing breach of contract action filed by pro se plaintiff arising out of publishing agreement and alleging damages in excess of $150,000.
  • Summary judgment on behalf of insurance broker on claim of failure to obtain adequate building limits for commercial apartment building allegedly causing damages in excess of $1 Million.
  • Summary judgment on behalf of insurance broker on claims of breach of contract, negligence, breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and violation of state Consumer Protection Statute allegedly causing lapse of insurance policy and damages in excess of $200,000.
  • Summary judgment on behalf of listing real estate broker on claims of negligent misrepresentation, intentional misrepresentation, and violation of state Consumer Protection Statute allegedly causing damages in excess of $215,000.
  • Summary judgment on behalf of national supplier of home medical equipment and services on claims of negligence, indemnification, and breach of contract arising out of trip and fall allegedly causing serious personal injury to plaintiff on basis of workers’ compensation immunity, and deeming indemnification provision contained in commercial lease agreement void as against public policy.
  • Numerous favorable binding arbitration rulings and summary judgments dismissing negligence/premises liability actions.
  • Defense verdict, as co-chair, in federal court jury trial on behalf of municipality on race discrimination claims filed by four plaintiffs.
  • Numerous summary judgments dismissing claims of race, gender, and disability discrimination under Title VII, the ADA, and Sections 1981 & 1983 of the Civil Rights Act.
  • Successful appeal before the District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fifth District, regarding insurance coverage matter and concluding coverage for personal injury action arising out of shooting was excluded under homeowners policy by intentional or criminal act exclusion and joint obligations clause.
  • Successful appeal before the District Court of Appeal of Florida, First District, reversing Judge of Compensation Claims and concluding workers’ compensation claim was incompensable based on employee’s failure to establish causation.
Ms. Farrelly was a Division I tennis player while at the University of Dayton. She is an avid runner who completed the Boston Marathon.

Professional Affiliations

  • The Florida Bar: Member, Labor & Employment Law Section
  • Sarasota County Bar Association, Member (2015 to Present), Labor & Employment Law Section, Chair (2017-2018), Health & Wellness Committee Member (2017)
  • Florida Association of Women Lawyers (FAWL), Sarasota Chapter: Member (2015 to Present); Vice President (2017-2018)
  • Massachusetts Bar, Inactive Member

Reported Cases

  • Santangelo v. N.Y. Life Ins. Co., Civ. Action No. 12-11295-NMG, 2014 WL 3896323 (D. Mass. Aug. 7, 2014) aff’d, 785 F.3d 65 (1st Cir. 2015)
  • Zang v. NRT New England Inc., 77 Mass. App. Ct. 665 (Sept. 14, 2010)
  • Hrynkiw v. Allstate Floridian Ins. Co., 844 So.2d 739 (Fla. Ct. App., 5th Dist. May 9, 2003)
  • Wausau Ins. Co. v. Tillman, 765 So.2d 123 (Fla. Ct. App., 1st Dist. June 19, 2000)

Publications and Presentations