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July 2013 Archives

May Massachusetts employment laws be applied outside the state?

The Supreme Judicial Court recently held that a Massachusetts company could be sued by non- Massachusetts residents for conduct that occurred outside of Massachusetts. In Taylor v. Eastern Connection Operating, Inc., 465 Mass. 191 (2013), employees of a Massachusetts company who worked and lived in New York sued their employer under several Massachusetts statutes (specifically, those that govern the classification of workers as employees or independent contractors and the payment of wages and overtime compensation), claiming - among other things - that their employer had improperly classified them as independent contractors. Notwithstanding the fact that their written contracts with the employer contained "choice-of-law" provisions specifying Massachusetts state court as the jurisdiction where suit could be brought, the employer moved to dismiss the plaintiffs' claims, claiming lack of subject matter jurisdiction. 

Non-compete with inconsistent terms may not be enforceable

A recent Superior Court decision warns employers of the pitfalls that result from using non-compete agreements that contain inconsistent terms. In ARS Services, Inc. v. Morse, 2013 WL 2152181 (Super.Ct. 2013), Judge Edward P. Leibensperger considered whether to issue a preliminary injunction to a company that sought to enforce a non-compete agreement against a former employee who began competing directly against it in its existing market. 

Divorce and the Grieving Process

Generally, attendance at an approved Parent Education Program is required of all divorcing parents of minor children in Massachusetts.  To better understand what such a program has to offer, and to learn about the grieving process in the context of divorce, I chose to attend such a court-approved program, which was held at a local high school (two sessions over a two-week period for about two hours each session).

Mortgage Holder Is Not Debt Collector Under FDCPA

The United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts has held that the holder of a mortgage is not a "debt collector" within the meaning of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA"), 15 U.S.C. §1692 et seq.  In Re: Gill, Stephen D., et al., Chapter 7 Case No. 09-15976-JNF; Adv. P. No. 13-1111.

Mortgage in Default Not Enough for Try Title Action

The First Circuit has held that, under Massachusetts law, a mortgagee's interest in a mortgage in default is inadequate to state a claim under the Massachusetts try title statute.  The Plaintiffs in Lemelson, et al. v. U.S. Bank, N.A. filed suit under the Massachusetts try title statute, asserting that U.S. Bank's interest in the property as mortgagee constituted a adverse claim on their record title to the property.

New IBA Guidelines of Party Representation in International Arbitration

The International Bar Association ("IBA") recently released the "IBA Guidelines on Party Representation in International Arbitration" ("Guidelines").  According to the preamble, the Guidelines are an attempt at normalizing the conduct of counsel relating to party representation in the face of the "diverse and potentially conflicting rules and norms" commonly found in international arbitration.  By adopting the Guidelines, parties subscribe to "the principle that party representatives should act with integrity and honesty and should not engage in activities designed to produce unnecessary delay or expense, including tactics aimed at obstructing the arbitration proceedings."

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