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The Law Offices of Samuel S. Reidy Blog

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Rhode Island Goes Hands Free


If you have spent anytime driving on the highways of Rhode Island recently, you will have noticed the signs that on June 1, 2018, drivers in Rhode Island will need to put their phones down.  If not, drivers will face a one hundred dollar fine - each time they are caught.

Rhode Island state police have suggested that the dangers of distracted driving are the same as the dangers of drunk driving.  That is why beginning on June 1st, the police will be looking to pull over anyone holding their phone while they are talking and driving.  Drivers will be allowed to use the phone only with a hands-free devices, like a mount inside the car or a Bluetooth.


Read more . . .


Thursday, April 5, 2018

Advance Directives, Living Wills, and Health Care Proxies


One question that comes up a lot when talking with clients about estate planning is "what is a Living Will and do I need one?"  The answer depends on what state you live in.

First, it is important to understand exactly what a Living Will is.  A Living Will has nothing to do with your Last Will and Testament.  A Living Will is a legal document that allows a person to list medical treatments that they would or would not want if they become terimnally ill are become unable to make their own health care decisions.  It is a type of Advance Directive, that is recognized in most states.
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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Accidents and Injury Related to Snow, Ice, and Winter Weather in MA and RI


Considering today is New England's third nor'easter in the last two weeks, it may be a good time to discuss how Massachusetts and Rhode Island handle personal injury claims that occur during snowy conditions.

For slip and fall accidents, the State of Rhode Island follows what is called the "Connecticut Rule."  This rule makes it a legal duty for a property owner (of a private residence, retail store, restaurant, and government entities) to remove natural hazards from common areas on the property within a "reasonable time."  Of importance, the "reasonable time" typically lasts at least up until the snowfall has ended.   

While it may not be your first instinct, it is important to document the accident scene at the time of the accident.
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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Considering BitCoin, Facebook, Paypal, E-Mail, and other Digital Assets in Estate Planning


It is estimated that three-fourths of all adults who use the internet are on Facebook (roughly 58% of the population in the United States).  Only a small fraction of those people have made arrangements for what happens to their Facebook profile after they die.  Some people may not be concerned with how, or if, their Facebook profile lives on after they die, but what about other digital assets?

In today's world, many people have digital currency, such as an account with PayPal.  Many people have stored Amazon gift cards that can amass hundreds of dollars.  Unless someone gains access to your password after you die (and hopefully that someone is someone you would want to have access to your password), this money can be lost in cyberspace and not passed on to your loved ones.
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Friday, December 1, 2017

When You Should Review Your Will and Other Estate Planning Documents

Probably the most common legal request I get is to draft a will for a client.  Inevitably the client has one major question: how often do I need to update or change the will?  Truth be told, there is no hard and fast rule about how often you should update or change your will, but there are some important guidelines to follow.

First, you should review your will (and all of your estate planning documents, including your health care proxy and durable power of attorney) immediately after a major life event.  These life events include (1) the death of an immediate family member; (2) a chance in marital status (marriage, divorce, annulment, passing of your spouse); (3) an addition to your family (birth of a child or grandchild, adoption, new marriage, stepchildren, etc.); (4) a loved one has become ill, incapacitated, or dependent on you; (5) there has been a substantial change in the value of your assets (new house, boat, job, etc.


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Thursday, November 9, 2017

Do Third Party Witnesses/Deponents Need Legal Representation?

One of the most important elements of the discovery process for any type of litigation are the depositions.  Some lawsuits or claims do not require any deposition notices; others require depositions in the double digits. 

One common misconception is that only parties to a lawsuit can be deposed.  In fact, any witness, whether a party or not, with any relevant information to the case can probably be deposed.  So, if you are a third-party deponent, do you need to contact a lawyer?


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Friday, October 20, 2017

The Future of Massachusetts Non-Competition Agreements

Most people have experience with non-competition agreements, whether they love them (generally employers) or hate them (generally employees). 

In 2016, both the Massachusetts House of Representatives and the Massachusetts Senate passed different versions of non-compete reform bills.  Unfortunately, by the end of the legislative session, they were unable to come to reach an agreement on non-compete reform.

In early 2017, a new non-compete bill was filed which grew out of earlier versions of legislation introduced in Massachusetts.  This bill, if passed, would make significant changes to non-competition law in Massachusetts.


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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Are Social Media Profiles Discoverable in Personal Injury Litigation?


As our technology expands, so do the legal liabilities and consequences that accompany it.  Fifteen years ago the only real prevalent "social media" was AOL Instant Messenger better known as AIM.  Today, there are dozens of social media platforms including Facebook, WhatsApp, QQ, WeChat, QZone, Tumblr, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Baidu Tieba, Skype, Viber, Sina Weibo, Line, Snapchat,Vkontakte, Pinterest, Telegram, Reddit, Taringa, Foursquare, Renren, Tagged, Badoo, MySpace, StumbleUpon, The Dots, Kiwibox, Skyrock, Delicious, Snapfish, Reverbnation, Flixster, Care2, Cafemom, ravelry, NextDoor, Wayn, CellUFun, Vine, Classmates, MyHeritage, Viadeo, Xing, Xanga, LiveJournal, Friendster, and YouTube - just to name a few.

While there are many great aspects to the ability to connect to so many people both known and unknown in the world, as with all technology, there are important legal ramifications to consider.  Specifically, one question that is becoming more and more prevalent is who has the right to access a person's social media profiles.


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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

How the 'Textalyzer' Can Impact a Personal Injury Claim


We all know what a breathalyzer is.  We all know what it means if a person fails a breathalyzer.  We all know the consequences if someone fails a breathalyzer following an autmobile accident.    What not everyone knows is that a similar device may be on its way that could have a strong impact on a person's personal injury claim.  That device is being referred to as the 'textalyzer.
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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Fatal Automobile Accidents in Massachusetts and Rhode Island are on the Rise


There has been a troubling trend in Massachusetts and Rhode Island over the past couple of years- deaths from motor vehicle accidents have been steadily increasing.  In fact this trend can be seen nationwide. 

So what is causing this unfortunate rise in accidental (and usually preventable) deaths?  Experts believe an increase in distracted drivers is what is fueling the increase.  And if you think it is just young, inexperienced new drivers and their cell phones, you are wrong.  According to the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration, over fifty-eight percent of accidents related to distracted driving are caused by drivers ages 20 to 39.
Read more . . .


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court makes important ruling on medicaid benefits and irrevocable trusts


One of the biggest questions clients face when considering utilizing Trusts for their various assets is whether to use a Revocable or Irrevocable Trust.  It is a complicated question with no easy answer that will apply to every single client.  Some clients will prefer the added protection of the Irrevocable Trust while others like the flexibility that is allowed by a Revocable Trust.

In recent months, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court made a ruling on two important cases involving MassHealth (the state agency which administers benefits in Massachusetts) and Irrevocable Trusts. 

For many years, MassHealth would fight against the long-held notion that a home that was held in an Irrevocable Trust could not be held as a countable asset.
Read more . . .


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