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Massachusetts Alimony Settlement Cannot Be Reopened Because of a Subsequent Clarification of the Law

Sometimes a case is in progress during or shortly after a change in the law, when its application and interpretation are still uncertain. In such cases, the parties may prefer to settle rather than risk an unpredictable result. In the recent case of Demarco v. Demarco, the parties chose to reach a settlement related to spousal support rather than complete the trial. The record suggests that the judge encouraged settlement based upon an assumption about how the Alimony Reform Act of 2011 would apply to the case, but a subsequent opinion by the Supreme Judicial Court made that assumption erroneous. 

Disability Discrimination Claims Under Federal and Massachusetts Laws

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) generally prohibits employment discrimination against qualified individuals on the basis of disability. A qualified individual is a person who can perform the essential functions of his or her job, with or without reasonable accommodations. Reasonable accommodations can include modified schedules, modified or new equipment, or job restructuring. There are exceptions for situations in which the reasonable accommodation would cause an undue hardship to the employer. 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101 et seq.

Arbitration in Massachusetts Probate and Family Court

Mediation and arbitration are often less expensive and less stressful alternatives to litigation in family law matters. The parties must agree to submit to alternative dispute resolution, however. When agreeing to one of these alternatives, the parties should understand what the agreement entails and whether the decision is subject to judicial review. 

The Massachusetts Appeals Court recently reviewed a challenge to a judgment based on an arbitrator's findings and award in Gravlin v. Gravlin.

Massachusetts Search Warrants and Curtilage

Often at issue in drug cases is the validity of searches and seizures of evidence. Even when the police obtain a search warrant, a defendant may challenge a search that is not authorized by the warrant. In Commonwealth v. Sanchez, the Massachusetts Appeals Court considered whether the search of an apartment authorized by a warrant extended to a shed in the back yard of the apartment.

District of Massachusetts Transfers Employees' Case to District of Maryland Despite Wage Act Claims

Both state and federal wage and hour laws protect employees' rights to receive payment of the wages due to them in a timely manner. In some cases, the court must determine which laws, including the laws of which states, apply to a plaintiff's claims. In file000126221232Ossenbruggen v. Cowan Systems, LLC, the District Court of Massachusetts had to consider whether Maryland would apply its own wage laws or Massachusetts' Wage Act in determining if it was appropriate to transfer the case in accordance with a forum selection clause in the contracts between the parties.

Massachusetts Condo Association Can Establish Multiple Successive Priority Liens for Unpaid Common Expenses

Massachusetts General Laws c. 183A, § 6(c) provides that a lien for the unpaid common expenses of a condominium is prior to all other liens on the unit except those recorded before the master deed was recorded, a first mortgage on the unit recorded before the assessment became delinquent, and liens for property taxes and other municipal assessments. The statute further provides that the lien for common expenses does take priority over a first mortgage to the extent of the common expenses assessments that would have become due absent acceleration in the six months immediately preceding the filing of the action to enforce the lien, as well as costs and reasonable attorneys' fees to enforce that lien.

Revocation of Acceptance of Goods under the U.C.C. in Massachusetts

The Uniform Commercial Code ("U.C.C.") is a uniform act that applies to certain commercial agreements, including the sale of goods. The U.C.C. addresses issues such as non-conforming goods, acceptance of the goods, and revocation of that acceptance. The Massachusetts Appeals Court recently addressed the issue of revocation in the case of New England Precision Grinding, Inc. vs. Simply Surgical, LLC.

Agreement Entered Into When Developer Controlled the Board Is Enforceable Against Massachusetts Condo Association

Property developers sometimes enter into agreements for the benefit of the development. Both the Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act (UCIOA) and the Restatement (Third) of Property: Servitudes allow the condominium board to terminate certain agreements made by the developer, but Massachusetts has not adopted either. Therefore, in the recent case of Sewall-Marshal Condominium Association v. 131 Sewall Avenue Condominium Association, the appeals court considered a contract entered into by the developer in light of the Massachusetts Condominium Act.

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Upholds FMLA Retaliation Verdict

Eligible employees may take unpaid leave for up to twelve weeks during a twelve-month period for "a serious health condition" that prevents the employee from performing her job functions, pursuant to the Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA"). 29 U.S.C. § 2612. The employee generally must be returned to the same or an equivalent position. 29 U.S.C. § 2614. The law also protects the employee from retaliation or discrimination.

Massachusetts Appeals Court Includes Income in Child Support Calculation Despite Mother's Waiver of Interest

file000950486984-300x225.jpgChild support in Massachusetts is determined using the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines. There is a rebuttable presumption that the guidelines apply to all child support cases, whether they are establishing a new order or modifying an order that is already in place. Massachusetts law requires that child support orders be modified if there is an inconsistency between a current child support order and the amount that would result from the application of the guidelines. G.L. c. 208, § 28. The Massachusetts Appeals Court recently considered whether a mother's waiver of interest in income from vested restricted stock units prevented that income from being included in the child support calculation in Hoegan v. Hoegan.

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