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May 2014 Archives

Comic Demonstrates Child-Centric Approach to Divorce

Louis C.K., one of my favorite standup comics, and the star of the FX series, "Louie," has a serious side.  It stems in part from his experience as a divorced dad of two young girls and the effective co-parenting relationship that he has with their mother. 

Highest Court Rules that Temporary Alimony is "Separate and Distinct" from General Term Alimony

The enactment of the Alimony Reform Act of 2011, which went into effect March 1, 2012, was hailed as the most dramatic reform in family law in decades.  The sweeping new law effectively ended the reign of lifetime alimony in Massachusetts, tying the length of time that a former spouse could be ordered to pay "general term" alimony (traditional alimony paid to an economically dependent spouse) to the length of the marriage in marriages of 20 years or less, and to hard limits of three years for "transitional alimony" (paid to help a spouse adjust to the change in lifestyle or location after divorce) and five years for "rehabilitative alimony" (intended to assist a recipient spouse in the short term who is expected to become self-supporting by a specific time).  The Act further provides for the termination of alimony upon the payor reaching full retirement age or the recipient's remarriage.

Obtaining Discovery From Non-parties For Use In Arbitration

Party discovery in arbitration is quite limited, particularly in comparison to the scope of discovery permitted by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. However, to what extent can an arbitrator order a third party - who, it should be noted, never agreed to arbitrate -- to appear and testify at an arbitration or to produce documents or other tangible items for use as evidence at an arbitration? 

Massachusetts Appeals Court Upholds MERS Mortgage System

The Massachusetts Appeals Court has joined the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in upholding the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. ("MERS") business model under Massachusetts law.  Explicitly referencing the First Circuit's decision in Culhane v. Aurora Loan Services of Nebraska, 708 F.3d 282 (1st Cir. 2013), the Appeals Court in Sullivan v. Kondaur Capital Corp., 85 Mass.App.Ct. 202 (2014), held that mortgagors have standing to challenge an assignment of their mortgages, but only to the extent that such assignment is void, not merely voidable.  Further, the Appeals Court found that the MERS system of mortgage assignments fully comports with Massachusetts law.

Do you "Like" mandatory arbitration? If so, "Like" this cereal

A couple of weeks ago, social media exploded with outrage over a news story in the NYT that reported that, by "liking" a brand on Facebook, a consumer would lose his or her ability to sue the company. The story referred to an update in General Mills's online "terms of use," which the NYT said, "quietly added language to its website to alert consumers that they give up their right to sue the company if they download coupons, "join" it in online communities like Facebook, enter a company-sponsored sweepstakes or contest or interact with it in a variety of other ways."

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