Fitch Law Partners LLP
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December 2013 Archives

Child Traveling Abroad with One Parent

Often we are asked by separated or divorced parents, who are vacationing with their children overseas under the terms of their temporary orders or final judgments, whether a parental consent form or permission letter signed by the non-traveling parent is required. Although the United States does not formally require this documentation, we recommend that the traveling parent obtain such a signed and notarized consent form from the non-traveling parent, and that the agreements we draft contain a provision that obligates the non-traveling parent to provide such a consent form upon request from the traveling parent. 

CEO's Indirect Statements Can Give Rise to Retaliation Lawsuit

The First Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision last week allowing a retaliation lawsuit to proceed because the company's CEO told others that he wanted to "get rid of" an employee, even though there was no evidence that the CEO made those statements directly to the supervisor who terminated the employee, or that the CEO was in any way involved in the termination decision.

Mississippi Joins Jurisdictions Approving Contractual Reduction of Check Fraud Reporting Deadline

Mississippi has joined the growing list of jurisdictions that have approved contractual reductions of the one-year reporting deadline for certain check fraud claims found in Uniform Commercial Code ("UCC") section 4-406(f).  In Century Construction Co., LLC v. BancorpSouth Bank, 117 So.3d 345, 80 UCC Rep.2d 1073 (Miss. Ct. App. 2013), the Mississippi Court of Appeals found that a term in the customer's deposit account agreement requiring the customer to report check fraud claims within 60 days of the issuance of the account statement listing the subject check was valid and enforceable.

Motion Practice in the Probate and Family Court

Picture this:  it is a Tuesday morning, at 8:30 a.m., and you arrive at the Probate and Family Court with your attorney to appear for a scheduled hearing on a contested motion that you filed.  Once you wait on a long line to get through the metal detectors, you enter the hallway outside the courtroom and your attorney checks the motion calendar list for the Judge assigned to your case.  You first learn that your case has been referred to the Probation Department on a different floor of the courthouse for mediation, and your journey through motion practice in the Probate and Family Court begins. 

Rule Change: The Revised Commercial Arbitration Rules of the AAA

In an important development, the American Arbitration Association has revised its Commercial Arbitration Rules to include a host of changes that seek to streamline arbitration and make the process more cost-effective and tightly managed. The rules, which can be found here, are amended and effective as of October 1, 2013. As a result, practitioners filing new arbitration claims that will be governed by the Commercial Arbitration Rules will need to familiarize themselves with the revisions, as they provide significant changes in the process. Litigators should also note that parties to ICDR proceedings may choose to use these rules instead of the ICDR International Arbitration Rules.

Virtual Tort, Actual Personal Jurisdiction

As a society, we continue to realize the potential for on-line conduct to have real-world ramifications - something the Middlesex Superior Court further illustrated recently in the context of personal jurisdiction - in the first such opportunity for a Massachusetts trial court to do so. In Taylor v. Taylor, MICV2012-01222, 2013 WL 5988569 (Mass. Super. Ct. 2013), a Massachusetts couple ("Plaintiffs"), alleged their daughter-in-law ("Defendant"), who lives in Florida, engaged in a coordinated campaign to defame them and harm their Massachusetts-based real estate business after she lost a series of motions in divorce proceedings against the Plaintiffs' son in Florida. In their Complaint, the Plaintiffs claimed that Defendant, with the help of a private investigator (also a defendant, with his corporation), made a series of identical on-line postings on consumer websites, purportedly written by a disgruntled former employee and warning potential Massachusetts real estate customers to "[a]void [the Plaintiffs' real estate company] at all costs unless you want to fall victim to another couple [J]ewish scammers." According to the Complaint, these postings further claimed that Plaintiffs both take advantage of their employees and "perpetuate the brainwashing of thousands of innocent, hard working people."

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