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Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Fall on Playground Results in Defense Verdict


Not all personal injury claims are created equal and sometimes an accident really just is an accident.  This lesson was just learned by a Plaintiff in Middlesex Superior Court after a four-day trial resulted in a defense verdict and no recovery for the Plaintiff.  The claim involved an injury to a seven year old girl who suffered a fall at a school playground.

In the matter of Ozkan v. City of Malden, seven year old Nihal Ozkan was a student at the Linden Steam Academy in Malden, Massachusetts.
Read more . . .


Thursday, October 27, 2022

Post Beer Pong Tournament Fight Leads to Double Damages Against Insurer


While we typically think of car accidents and slip and falls as the stereotypical personal injury cases, there are actually quite a few other types of situations that lead to personal injury cases.  One such type of personal injury case involves physical assault caused by an intoxicated person.  Many times, liability will extend beyond the actual individual responsible for another’s injuries to the person or establishment who served the liquor.  Massachusetts and many other states have enacted a “Dram Shop law” in an effort to deal with these types of cases.

Pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws chapter 138 § 69, someone suffering from physical injury, property damage, or other damage may sue the licensed liquor provider who served an intoxicated person.
Read more . . .


Thursday, September 22, 2022

Plymouth Jury Awards 1.4 Million Dollars to Trip and Fall Victim


For a long time in the legal world, there has been a bias that juries in certain counties in Massachusetts will not award verdicts of higher amounts.  Several of these counties are located in the South Coast and Cape Cod area.  Insurance companies and defense counsel have used this bias (which, to be fair, is sometimes a reality) in making unreasonable settlement offers to personal injury plaintiffs.  A jury in Plymouth Superior Court recently made a big statement that these counties may be willing to award the big verdict by awarding a trip and fall victim in Plymouth County a verdict of $1,437,314.00.
Read more . . .


Thursday, August 25, 2022

Importance of a Health Care Proxy and Power of Attorney for College Freshmen


While a parent’s job may never be done, things get more complicated when that child begins his or her college career.  Parents often understand the importance of having a healthcare power of attorney in place for a spouse or aging parent, but often do not think about how crucial this document is for a recent high school graduate or young adult child.  Most college freshmen are eighteen years old which means they are legal adults and parents are no longer entitled to make decisions on their behalf.  This can cause a problem if there is a medical emergency.

Once a child turns eighteen, his or her parents no longer have any legal say over medical or financial decisions involving the child.
Read more . . .


Thursday, July 28, 2022

Ten Estate Planning Mistakes to Avoid


The loss of a loved one is always difficult, but that pain can be magnified when there is no proper estate planning in place.  The more complicated the family dynamics and the more specific the wishes of the loved one, the more important it is to make sure the proper estate planning is in place.  While you are enjoying the last month of summer and are sitting on the beach and thinking about the future, here are ten common estate planning mistakes to avoid.

1.  Not having a plan in place.
Read more . . .


Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Experts Can Be Necessary for Medical Causation


Massachusetts allows personal injury cases to move forward if there is an “obvious causal relationship” between the injury claimed and the accident that forms the basis of the claim.  However, a recent case was dismissed by a U.S. District Court judge who ruled that a premises liability plaintiff could not rely on Massachusetts’ “obvious causal relationship” exception to avoid having to introduce expert medical testimony rebutting a defense expert’s opinion that her torn rotator cuff was due to a fall that occurred eight months before she slipped and fell at the defendant’s store.

In this particular case, the Plaintiff slipped and fell in the restroom of a Costco store.
Read more . . .


Friday, April 22, 2022

Massachusetts Wage Act Provides for Automatic Treble Damages for Late Wage Payments


If an employer does not provide an employee leaving the company with his or her wage payments on time but quickly corrects the problem, that is the end of the issue, correct?  Not so fast, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recently held.  Even if the employer fails to make timely wage payments to a departing employee by mistake, the employer will be on the hook for automatic treble damages.  The SJC’s recent ruling and clarification of the Massachusetts Wage Act is essential information for all employers in Massachusetts to be fully informed about before failure to comply with the Act becomes a very costly mistake.

Massachusetts General Law c.149 § 148 states that "any employee leaving his employment shall be paid in full on the following regular pay day, and, in the absence of a regular pay day, on the following Saturday; and any employee discharged from such employment shall be paid in full on the day of his discharge.
Read more . . .


Friday, March 25, 2022

Reasons to Avoid a Codicil


You’ve fulfilled your estate planning responsibility and have a well-drafted Last Will and Testament in place.  Nice job!  But what happens when there is a big life change (loss of a loved one, new marriage, birth of grandchildren, won the lottery, etc.) and you need to update or change your Will?  One option is to execute a Codicil to amend your Will.   A codicil is a legal document that acts as a supplement to your last will and testament.  In it, you can make changes to your will without having to rewrite your entire original will document.
Read more . . .


Friday, February 25, 2022

Protecting Digital Assets with Legacy Contacts


Apple recently caught up to Google and Facebook in the ever growing need to find a way to protect digital assets and accounts after an individual passes away.  Now, thanks to the new update to Apple’s iOS 15.2, you designate up to five people as Legacy Contacts who can access the data and personal information stored in your iCloud account.  Until this new feature, when a loved one or family member passed away, it was very difficult to access their digital information locked away in their iPhone or other Apple products, unless your loved one knew their passcode.  This is a great feature that Google and Facebook had already offered which can really help protect your digital assets as well as keep safe old messages, photos, videos, and other media that may hold invaluable sentimental worth to your family.


Read more . . .


Thursday, January 20, 2022

Massachusetts Road Deaths Highest Since 2009


Massachusetts had more deaths on its roads in 2021 than in any year since 2009.  According to a new report from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, four hundred and eight people died on Massachusetts road last year, including drivers, passengers, bicyclists, and pedestrians.  This death total is nineteen percent higher than the 2020 total of 343 fatalities.

There are many explanations for this increase in fatalities.  Beginning in April of 2020, there was an increase of reckless driving and speeding which was explained by the Covid-19 pandemic emptying roadways which used to home congested streets.
Read more . . .


Thursday, December 23, 2021

Charlie’s Law Could Strengthen Distracted Drivers Laws in Massachusetts


On October 6, 2021, Charlie Braun was killed when he was struck by a car while riding his bicycle in Northampton, Massachusetts.  The driver that hit and killed Charlie Braun is facing charges of negligent motor vehicle homicide, failing to stop for a stop sign, and FaceTiming while driving.  As a result, there has been a new push to further reduce distracted driving in Massachusetts and it involves strengthening the state's current hands-free driving law and closing an existing loophole regarding broadcasting video content while driving.

The state's hands-free law, which went into effect in February 2020, already prohibits drivers from holding their phones while operating their vehicles, but, in a bit of a loophole, it does not prohibit operates from filming while driving.  More specifically, while the Massachusetts law bans drivers from viewing video displayed on a mobile electronic device, it does not ban drivers from recording or broadcasting video of themselves while driving, using apps like FaceTime or Zoom.
Read more . . .


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