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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Home Held in Trust is Not a “Countable” Asset


Emily Misiaszek and her husband created an irrevocable trust during their lifetime, the corpus of which included their home.  The terms of the Irrevocable Trust granted the Misiaszeks the right, during their lifetime, a limited power of appointment to appoint all or any portion of the trust principal to a nonprofit or charitable organization over which they have no controlling interest.  When Ms. Misiaszek applied for MassHealth long-term care benefits, she was denied on the basis that the home was a countable asset.  The Massachusetts Office of Medicaid’s Board of Hearings affirmed MassHealth’s decision, but a Superior Court judge reversed the board’s ineligibility determination.
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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

In Terrorem Clauses Have Power in Massachusetts


One of the most powerful clauses in a will or a trust is the in terrorem clause, which is more commonly referred to as a “no-contest” clause.  In terrorem means “in fear” in Latin and is an appropriate name for the clause as if someone challenges a will or a trust with an in terrorem clause and the challenge is not successful, there can be dire consequences for the challenger.  Namely, a challenger to a will or trust with an in terrorem clause risks losing all of his or her rights and interest under a will or trust.

Almost a year ago, the Massachusetts Appeals Court ruled in the matter of Capobianco v. Dischino, Mass.
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Thursday, April 22, 2021

Not Giving a Terminated Employee their Final Pay on the Day of Termination Can Lead to Triple Damages and an Award of Attorney’s Fees


Massachusetts wage and hours laws provide employers with guidance as to how, when, and how much workers must be paid.  One common issue that arises is when and what employees that resign or are terminated need to be paid.  Generally speaking, an employee is voluntarily quits or resigns may be paid on the next regular pay date after his or her last day of work but an employee who is involuntarily terminated must be paid in full on the day of discharge.  Failing to adhere to these rules can have significant consequences.

Massachusetts General Laws chapter 149 § 148 states “any employee discharged from such employment shall be paid in full on the day of his discharge.
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Friday, March 19, 2021

The Caffé Nero Decision's Impact on Commercial Leases


When Governor Charlie Baker prohibited restaurants from letting customers eat or drink indoors and ordered the temporary closure of “non-essential” businesses via Order No. 13 on March 23, 2020, it was known that there would be extensive implications of that decision for many businesses.  Some businesses have shuttered completely while others have successfully launched profitable curbside or take out businesses.  One issue that was not addressed in March of 2020 was what are the rights and responsibilities for landlords and tenants of commercial leases.  It took nearly a year, but the first major decision surrounding the issue was made on February 8, 2021.
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Thursday, February 18, 2021

Testamentary Capacity


Testamentary Capacity

by Samuel S. Reidy, Esq.

February 18, 2021

Unfortunately, it has become an all-too-common story.  A loved one is stricken with dementia and during the period he or she does not have possession of all of their facilities, an estate planning change is suddenly made.  Sometimes this new (and often unexpected) estate planning means the changing of beneficiaries in a Will, or a new Health Care Proxy or Durable Power of Attorney being named, or the transfer of real estate.
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Thursday, January 14, 2021

Deponents Can Force Virtual Depositions During COVID-19 Pandemic


One of the most important parts of the discovery process in any claim or civil litigation are the depositions.  In a personal injury claim, the injured party is almost always deposed and the defendant is often deposed as well (unless liability is not disputed).  In an employment law claim, depositions can take place not only of the people directly involved in the claim, but often all of the employees of the company.  Any litigator will tell you the importance of depositions to a legal claim.  They can make or break a lawsuit, sometimes only with one wrong answer.
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Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Can Employers Require Employees to Get the COVID-19 Vaccine?


Almost since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the question of whether or not a vaccination would be mandatory has been a regular part of public discourse.  On December 11, 2020, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts started distributing the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine and has pushed the conversation to the forefront.  Many people have expressed hesitation or outright disapproval of taking any vaccination for COVID-19.  However, it is likely that an employer will be able to require his or her employees to receive the vaccination as a condition of continued employment.

The precedent in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts was established in 1905.
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Thursday, November 26, 2020

Uninsured and Underinsurance Coverage in Automobile Accidents


In Massachusetts, it is essential that individuals obtain sufficient insurance coverage in the event that they are injured in an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver.  Specifically, under a standard auto insurance policy, Uninsured (UM) and Underinsurance (UIM) coverage provide the named insured as well as household members, operators, and passengers of an insured motor vehicle benefits in the event they are involved in an automobile accident with a driver that causes the accident but has no bodily injury insurance coverage or not enough insurance to cover your damages.  

In Massachusetts, it is mandatory for an insured to have limits of at least twenty thousand dollars ($20,000.00) per person and forty thousand dollars ($40,000.00) per accident for uninsured coverage.
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Friday, October 23, 2020

COVID-19 Trends in Personal Injury and Employment Law


As hard it is to believe we are over seven months into the COVID-19 pandemic and the legal community is beginning to see some trends with regards to COVID-19 related litigation.  There are two trends in particular that should be noted: the increase in serious automobile accidents and the increase in lawsuits against individual owners and managers of corporations, as opposed to just the corporations themselves.

It has been pretty well established that traffic has decreased significantly since the first wave of shutdowns in March 2020, so it may surprise some that there has been an increase in serious automobile accidents since that time.  In fact, the number of motor vehicle fatalities per miles driven increased by fourteen percent in comparing March 2019 to March 2020 according to a National Safety Council report.  Since March 2020 there have been many serious accidents on the roadways despite a general decrease in the number of drivers.
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Wednesday, June 3, 2020

The Process of (and Hope in) Reopening


As I write this, we are three months and one day into the declared Coronavirus Pandemic, where many of us have spent our time at home practicing social distancing. We have all watched as the confirmed cases and casualties have climbed with Massachusetts a hotbed of activity. For many this has been an unprecedented experience, and, in some ways, it has brought us all metaphorically closer as we keep our minimum six feet apart. With daily and weekly updates, a plethora of broadcasts and articles, we have waited anxiously for this moment and as of May 15, 2020, the Baker-Polito Administration have unveiled their four-phase plan to reopen the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Any dates that have been projected are currently tentative as the Commonwealth begins to take into account the probable cases going back to March 1st when the declaration was made and continues to reevaluate based on data trends.
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Thursday, April 30, 2020

Employee Rights During COVID-19


March 1, 2020, the day that the Coronavirus was declared a global pandemic, seems so far away as we head into the month of May.  Like a bad dream or childhood cartoon, the days have begun to morph into a singular, collective day for many as the uncertainty, fear and rapid changes continue. As the state with the third highest number of cases in the United States, Massachusetts has closed public and private schools for the rest of the year, postponing jury trials until at least July 1st, 2020, issued stay at home orders, social distancing guidelines, and a plethora of other measure sin an effort to keep citizens safe.

For many, the stay at home orders are a question in and of themselves. With some industries being deemed essential and childcare centers closed, there has been repeated questions as to what that means for employees.


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