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Sunday, October 28, 2018

Personal Injury and the Baseball Rule


This mantra of the soon-to-be World Champion Boston Red Sox's postseason is to "do damage."  Unfortunately, there are times when the damage done is to the fans in the seats cheering on their favorite team.  Injuries by foul balls at baseball games are rare, but can be very serious when they do happen.  So what are an individual's rights when they are struck and injured by a foul ball at a baseball game?

The longstanding so-called "Baseball Rule" has been adopted by the Court in a majority of jurisdictions.  This Rule limits a landowner's duty of care that is owed to spectators to providing reasonable protection in the form of screening behind home plate.
Read more . . .


Saturday, September 22, 2018

Protections for Massachusetts Employees from Employer's Retaliation and Termination


Massachusetts is a an at-will employment state, meaning that employees can typically be fired at any time for any reason.  However, there are several important exceptions to this general rule which are important for employees who have been let go (or are in fear of being terminated from their employment) to know about.

First, there are certain protected activities under the Common Law that an employee cannot be fired because he or she engaged in said activity.  These activities including: (1) asserting a legal right (such as taking vacation time or filing a workers' compensation action), (2) fulfilling a legal duty (such as attending jury duty), (3) reporting criminal wrongdoing, (4) refusing to commit illegal acts (such as embezzling or committing perjury), and (5) cooperating in a criminal investigation of the employer or the employee's superiors.  Generally speaking, if an employee is engaged in these protected activities the employer cannot terminate him or her for doing so.
Read more . . .


Sunday, August 5, 2018

Is the Law Keeping Up with Technology


Technological advances are one of the most exciting and innovative aspects of our times.  Whether it be the new features on the latest Android or iPhone or high definition drones capturing memorable moments in the sky, advances in technology are happening at more and more rapid pace.  But can the law keep up with technology?

Drones are heavily regulated but these regulations are both not well known to the public and not always followed.  There have been reported personal injury claims associated with drones from defective drone equipment and drone operator negligence.  Sometimes it is not clear which was the cause of someone's injury (and considering how frequently drones are being used at large public events, the risk of injury is only getting higher and higher).
Read more . . .


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Importance of Estate Planning When the Kids Turn 18


A child going to college is widely considered the first major step for moving from childhood into adulthood.  However, many parents do not associate this milestone with a need to consider estate planning for the child.  The reality is once a child turns 18 years old, the parents no longer have any legal parental rights over the child.  To put it bluntly: once a child turns 18, his or her parents no longer have any legal say over medical or financial decisions involving the child.

Therefore, every child over the age of 18 should execute a Health Care Proxy and a Durable Power of Attorney.
Read more . . .


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.
Read more . . .


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.
Read more . . .


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.
Read more . . .


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.


Read more . . .


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?


Read more . . .


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.


Read more . . .


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