Business Litigation: March 2013 Archives

Employee or Independent Contractor Under Massachusetts Law? The Importance of Classifying Workers Correctly

Although the Massachusetts Independent Contractor Statute, M.G.L. c. 149, § 148B, is intended to protect workers by ensuring that they receive "the many benefits, both public and private, that employees enjoy," the fact that a worker may not want to be classified as an employee often does not matter when determining the worker's proper classification.

The Public Records Law: A Powerful Pre-Discovery Tool

The Massachusetts Public Records Law (or PRL) provides an often overlooked, simple, cost effective and powerful tool for litigants to investigate claims and gather pertinent documents even before the commencement of a lawsuit. Like its federal analogue the Freedom of Information Act (or FOIA), the Massachusetts PRL allows anyone to request any records generated, received or maintained by a Massachusetts governmental agency, department, or subdivision, whether in electronic or paper form, including computer records, electronic mail, video and audiotapes. I have found that in many business disputes, using the PRL, I can quickly and inexpensively uncover valuable information that can inform strategy and save my client the need to chase the same material via the formal litigation discovery process.

Property Owned in Family Trusts - A Recipe for Conflict

When parents or grandparents are able to pass down residential property or a family business to their children and grandchildren, it should be a piece of the American Dream come true. And, with foresight, good planning and a little bit of luck, it can be. Too often, however, these "gifts" can devolve into situations that tear extended families apart. It often doesn't take long before family members start to treat each other unfairly and eventually become openly hostile towards each other.

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