Tristan P. Colangelo, Partner


Tristan is an experienced litigator who works to strategically resolve disputes favorably for his clients – including taking cases to trial when necessary. He has experience representing individuals and companies in state and federal courts at both the trial and appellate level. Tristan regularly litigates commercial and business disputes; breach of contract claims; employment issues such as claims of discrimination and violations of non-compete and non-solicit agreements; real estate and land use issues; Chapter 93A consumer protection actions and abuse prevention hearings (commonly known as restraining orders). He also represents contractors and landowners in disputes involving real estate development and resolves landlord/tenant disputes. Tristan’s experience includes representing criminal defendants and lawyers facing ethical charges before the Office of Bar Counsel, and securing public access documents under the Massachusetts Public Records Law.

Tristan has a wealth of experience handling appeals to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and the Appeals Court. As a member of the CPCS Post Convictions and Appeals Unit, Tristan has represented over a dozen indigent defendants in the appeal of their criminal convictions.

Tristan began his legal career as a clerk in the United States District Court in Puerto Rico for then-United States District Judge Gustavo A. Gelpí. In 2021, Judge Gelpí was elevated to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Tristan maintains strong ties to Puerto Rico through his extended family and professional contacts.

Tristan is admitted to practice in Massachusetts and New Hampshire state and federal courts, as well as the First Circuit Court of Appeals and the Federal District Court of Puerto Rico.

Representative Experience:

Business Litigation

  • Significant experience handling matters involving Massachusetts Chapter 93A consumer protection claims – particularly in matters involving manufactured housing communities, including the following:
    • Successfully obtained dismissal without prejudice of an early motion for class certification following limited discovery, in an action challenging the rent structures at two manufactured housing communities.
    • Obtained order on final approval, confirming class action settlement affording injunctive relief and money damages to resolve claims about stormwater management and maintenance of permanent elements of leased home sites at a manufactured housing community.
    • Prevailed on motion to dismiss an amended complaint brought by a plaintiff for himself and a putative class composed of similarly situated residents of a manufactured housing community, presenting an array of statutory, regulatory, and common law challenges to a longstanding residential water supply arrangement.
  • Obtained a temporary restraining order against a client’s former employee who attempted to divulge sensitive business information to a business competitor.
  • Obtained a dismissal of a complaint alleging breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty against co-owners of several restaurants.
  • Represented an accounting firm in discovery dispute with former clients.
  • Successfully secured the removal of a default judgment entered against a client due to improper service.
  • Represented a homeowner in an action to establish a constructive trust to protect a financial interest in waterfront property.

Employment Law/Litigation

  • Secured a favorable settlement in an arbitration on behalf of an employee accused of violating a noncompetition agreement when a former employer canceled outstanding stock options upon employee’s purported violation.
  • Negotiated an early termination of non-compete and non-solicitation periods for 12 employees of a financial services firm.
  • Regularly advise employees regarding their rights related to employment contracts and severance agreements.
  • Represent employees claiming various forms of discrimination under federal and state laws before the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, and state and federal courts.

Real Estate Disputes

  • Regularly advise clients regarding the Massachusetts Home Improvement Contractor Law, G.L. c. 142A.
  • Convinced a real estate developer not to pursue Chapter 93A and Chapter 142A claims against a home contractor.
  • Obtained lis pendens on behalf of a client against a landowner who attempted to back out of a development deal.
  • Successfully represented a homeowner claiming adverse possession of a disputed neighboring property.

Appellate Experience

  • Rahimah Rahim v. District Attorney for the Suffolk District, 486 Mass. 544 (2020) (In a matter of first impression, persuaded the Supreme Judicial Court that federal records created by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and received by the Suffolk County District Attorney were public records under Massachusetts law and neither the Supremacy Clause nor federal law barred the records from disclosure).
  • Commonwealth v. Hodges, 101 Mass. App. Ct. 1116 (Aug. 24, 2022) (Rule 23) (persuaded the Appeals Court to set aside a criminal gun possession conviction due to the trial court’s failure to properly analyze the antique gun defense).
  • Commonwealth v. Moore, 9 Mass. App. Ct. 1111 (Feb. 16, 2021) (Rule 23) (persuaded the Appeals Court to set aside an assault and battery conviction due to a police officer’s improper and prejudicial testimony about the defendant’s arrest).
  • Authored over a dozen appellate briefs, applications for Further Appellate Review and applications for Direct Appellate Review.

Abuse Prevention and Harassment Prevention Orders

  • Represent clients seeking a Chapter 209A abuse prevention order to protect them from an abusive partner (or former partner), as well as clients who are opposing the issuance of an abuse prevention order, in both District Court and the Probate and Family Court.
  • Successfully argued for the dismissal of a Chapter 258E harassment prevention order where the application was not supported by three distinct instances of harassment.

Honors & Awards:

  • Massachusetts Super Lawyers (General Litigation), 2022
  • Massachusetts Super Lawyers “Rising Star” (General Litigation), 2016-2021


  • “Practices in the District of Puerto Rico,” Federal Civil Litigation in the First Circuit, 3rd Edition, Chapter 21, MCLE (author), 2017

  • “Splitting the District: Whether Puerto Rico’s Succession Law Requires Joinder of All Heirs to Assert a Survivorship Claim,” University of Puerto Rico Law Review, 87 Rev. Jur. UPR 182 (author), 2018

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