The Fitch Briefs
A Divorced Party Can Pursue A Petition for Partition Despite Signing a Separation Agreement Prohibiting Him From Selling The House Without His Ex-Wife’s Consent
Although any co-owner has the right to partition a property (meaning selling a property through a legal proceeding called a partition action), irrespective of the consent of the other co-owners, there is an exception: a partition action is not available to tenants by...
Nonsignatories May Nevertheless Be Bound By Arbitration Clause, First Circuit Warns
A dispute between New Balance and its Peruvian distributor recently gave the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit reason to consider whether Massachusetts law would compel nonsignatories to comply with the arbitration clauses of other entities. In the case...
Student Loans and Bankruptcy
For individuals seeking to discharge debt through bankruptcy, student loans are unique in that they require a bankruptcy court’s determination that payment of said loans would impose an undue hardship on the debtor and the debtor’s dependents. 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(8)....
Is an Evidentiary Hearing Required in a Civil Contempt Proceeding?
In J.D.M. v. J.A.M. (April 12, 2023, Rule 23.0 Decision), the Massachusetts Appeals Court vacated the Probate and Family Court’s judgment of civil contempt and remanded. Pursuant to the parties’ divorce judgment, mother had primary physical custody of the minor...
Class-Action Plaintiffs’ Service Awards Questioned by Second Circuit Ahead of Likely Supreme Court Determination
The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has upheld the grant of service awards totaling nearly one-million dollars to eight lead plaintiffs in a class action against Visa, Inc. and Mastercard, Inc., while at the same time stating its view that such...
Recognition of Money Judgment Against a Foreign Sovereign
In Villoldo v. Republic of Cuba, the Plaintiffs, two brothers, sought enforcement via the U.S. District Court in Colorado (“District Court”) under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (“FSIA”) of a multi-billion-dollar money judgment previously awarded by a Florida...
Is an inheritance considered in a divorce in Massachusetts?
Unlike many states, Massachusetts has not defined assets that would be considered “non-marital” or “separate” property. Therefore, there are several considerations that you need to discuss with your attorney when considering inherited assets: Contribution and source...
Credit Union Not Liable for Fraudulent Transactions Authorized by Account Holder
The United States District Court for the District of New Jersey has held that a credit union is not liable for transactions that were fraudulently initiated but then authorized by the account holder. The Court found that while the transactions may have been...
Massachusetts Zoning Act Empowers Abutters
Adopted in 1975, the Massachusetts Zoning Act (“Zoning Act”) provides a set of statewide standards that govern municipalities’ promulgation and enforcement of zoning regulations. Yet for homeowners looking to renovate, the Zoning Act can make it easier than one would...
HSBC Bank prevails: Massachusetts Federal Court tosses tort claims stemming from wire fraud transfer
Cases in which companies are hacked or otherwise duped into making wire transfers are on the rise. To recover their losses, companies have increasingly resorted to litigation against the banks that receive the allegedly improperly wired funds. Their efforts have...
U.S. District Court Denies Discovery Finding ICSID Tribunal Not Foreign or International Tribunal Under Section 1782
Following the United States Supreme Court decision in ZF Auto. US, Inc. v. Luxshare, Ltd. (“ZF Auto”), where the Supreme Court found that 28 U.S.C. § 1782 (“§ 1782”) did not apply to private international tribunals, the question has remained whether certain...
Employer Cannot Reform or Rescind Employment Contract in Which Employee Mistakenly Entitled to Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars Monthly
The importance of careful contract review and communication with counsel were recently highlighted in the case of Dahua Technology USA Inc. v. Feng Zhang, in which the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts denied an employer’s attempt to...
How do Courts Treat Unallocated Support in a Modification Action?
In Duval v. Duval (September 23, 2022), the Massachusetts Appeals Court vacated the Probate and Family Court’s decision in a modification action to consider Father’s unallocated support obligation as alimony only and remanded. The parties had entered into a separation...
Penalties for Violation of the BSA Reporting Requirements: On a Per-Form or Per-Account Basis?
The purpose of the Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) is, among other things, to require “certain reports or records where they have a high degree of usefulness in criminal, tax, or regulatory investigations or proceedings or in the conduct of intelligence or...
Doing More with Less: In Zoning Board of Appeals of Milton v. HD/MW Randolph Avenue, LLC, et. al., the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Affirms a Judgment by the Housing Appeals Committee to Strike Down Restrictions in a Comprehensive Permit that Made an Affordable Housing Project Significantly More Uneconomic
In 2014, the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency (“MassHousing”) issued a project eligibility letter to developer HD/MW Randolph Avenue, LLC (“HD/MW”) for a ninety unit, mixed-income residential development in Milton. The letter qualified HD/MW to apply to the Milton...
Condominium Trust, Management Company, and Concierge Services Provider Have to Duty of Care to Protect Residents from Foreseeable Crimes
The Superior Court recently held a condominium trust, condominium property management company, and concierge services provider owed residents a duty of care to protect against foreseeable crime by third parties who enter through common areas. Dr. Richard Field and Dr....
Getting to Know the Convention on the Contracts for the International Sale of Goods
It is increasingly common for purchases and sales to cross international boundaries. When that happens, what law applies? First, the parties to a contract must look to the contract to determine what law applies. If the contract is silent, the United Nations...
Supreme Judicial Court Forces Delivery Drivers to Arbitrate Claims Against Grubhub
Joining other courts that have addressed the same issue in their own jurisdictions, on July 27 the Commonwealth’s highest court decided Grubhub’s food delivery drivers are not a “class of workers engaged in ... interstate commerce” and, therefore, are not exempt from...
Elon Musk’s Daughter Requests Name Change to Cut Ties With the Tesla Founder.
Earlier this year, Elon Musk’s 18-year-old daughter petitioned a California court to recognize her gender as female, to issue a new birth certificate, and to change her name to eliminate any connection with her father. Her petition further stated that she was...
What Does a Prenuptial Agreement in Massachusetts Include?
Prenuptial - or antenuptial - agreements are becoming more and more popular. While some may balk at the idea of contemplating divorce at the same time that a wedding is being planned, prenuptial agreements can be very helpful instruments in the event that the marriage...
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit Addresses the Right of First Refusal Contemplated by the Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program
The federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program (LIHTC), IRC §42, was created to encourage the creation of low-income rental housing for low-income households. It provides tax incentives to investors to make equity investments in exchange for tax credits and other...
COVID-19 and War in Ukraine Impact International Arbitration Cases
Last summer, experts predicted a significant uptick in international arbitrations (especially those held via international arbitral institutions) would outlast the COVID-19 crisis. Unfortunately, despite our strongest wish that COVID-19 would be behind us by this...
SCOTUS: Under the FAA, Interstate Commerce is Broader Than the Transportation of Good Across State Lines
Last month, in an 8-0 decision, the United States Supreme Court held that a ramp supervisor for Southwest Airlines belonged to a “class of workers engaged in foreign or interstate commerce.” Thus, the employee was exempt from coverage under the Federal Arbitration Act...
Supreme Judicial Court Finds Attorneys’ Fees Are Not Damages
Where an insurance policy provides coverage for damages because of, e.g., bodily injury, property damage, or advertising injury, does that insurance policy cover attorneys’ fees awarded as a result of a covered claim? The Supreme Judicial Court has just said that it...
In unanimous opinion, Supreme Court champions trial court discretion in international child custody disputes.
On June 15, the Supreme Court in Golan v. Saada resolved a circuit split regarding the application of the “grave risk” exception under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (“Hague Convention”). Adopted in 1980 and ratified by over...
Employer Ordered to Pay Treble Damages For Late Payment of Wages, Pursuant to Massachusetts Wage Act
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recently ruled that an employer who failed to pay a discharged employee for accrued unused vacation time until three weeks after the date of her discharge violated the Massachusetts Wage Act. The Court held that the employer...
Statute of Frauds Does Not Require Written Contract to Pay for Services of Licensed Real Estate Broker
The Massachusetts Appeals Court has held that the Statute of Frauds does not require that a contract to pay for the services of a licensed real estate broker be in writing, in Huang v. RE/Max Leading Edge, et al. The Court found that if the broker could prove the...
Granting A New Lease On Life To A Multi-Year, Multi-Court Mortgage Conflict, The First Circuit Permits Homeowners Limited Rule 56(D) Discovery
The conflict in Emigrant Residential LLC v. Pinti (“Pinti III”) began when two homeowners defaulted on the mortgage for their Cambridge condominium and failed to cure the default. During this time, ownership of the mortgage and the note changed hands multiple times....
How do I establish the value of my house in a divorce?
In many cases, a parcel of real estate will need to be valued for purposes of a divorce. This almost always occurs when one spouse wants to retain the marital home or another piece of land. The question then becomes, what value is going to be established for the house...
Due Process Safeguards Are Required When Parental Termination Cases Are Heard on Zoom
Due to COVID-19, the Massachusetts court system has relied heavily on online video conferencing platforms, like Zoom. A recent decision by the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC), Adoption of Patty (decided May 9, 2022), overturned a trial court’s termination of a mother’s...
SCOTUS Holds Section 1782 Does Not Apply to Private International Arbitral Tribunals
In a case anticipated by international arbitration practitioners, the United States Supreme Court unanimously held that only governmental or intergovernmental adjudicative bodies, not private adjudicative bodies, constitute “foreign or international tribunals” under...
Can the Holder of a Life Estate Interest Pursue a Petition for Partition?
The answer is: it depends. The statute governing partition actions, M.G.L. c. 241, authorizes the holder of a life estate to file a petition for partition. For example, when two siblings hold concurrent life estates, their interest can be partitioned from each other....
Supreme Judicial Court Concludes That Anti-SLAPP Statute Does Not Apply to Civil Enforcement Actions By the Attorney General
In a recent decision, affirming the Superior Court, the Supreme Judicial Court concluded that civil enforcement actions filed by the Attorney General are not subject to the constraints of G. L. c. 213, § 59H, also known as the anti-SLAPP statute. In Commonwealth v....
Why Boston for International Arbitration?
Boston is known as the “Hub” for a reason and, in recent years, Boston has become the world’s top biotech hub, with over 1,000 biotech companies calling the Greater Boston area home. Boston also is a world-renowned educational hub, with over one hundred colleges and...
Extended Overdraft Fees Not Interest for Purposes of State Limits on Consumer Loan Interest Rates
The United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit has held, in a case of first impression, Walker v. BOKF NA., that extended overdraft fees that accrue each business day are “non-interest charges” and, therefore, do not violate state limits on interest rates for...
Massachusetts Appeals Court Affirms Judgment Against the City of Lowell for Violating Massachusetts Oil and Hazardous Material Release Prevention Act
In November 2008, the owners of condominium units at Grand Manor and the Grand Manor Condominium Association (collectively, “Plaintiffs”) discovered hazardous material in the land beneath the condominiums, which had been used as a landfill operated by the City of...
Court Addresses Attorney Gender Pay Gap in Attorneys’ Fee Award Decision
In a recent decision awarding attorneys’ fees, a U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania explicitly considered the historic attorney gender pay gap. In that case – Ray v. AT&T Mobility Services, LLC – the plaintiff, Alison Ray, sought a total of $847,945 in attorneys’...
Court Affirms The Extension Of Alimony Obligation Beyond Statutory Durational Limits
In a recent Rule 23 decision, a panel of the Massachusetts Appeals Court affirmed the lower court’s modification judgment that extended husband’s alimony obligation to his former wife beyond the durational limits set forth in Massachusetts’ Alimony Reform Act (M.G. L....
Eastern District of New York Holds Loan Servicers Are Not Debt Collectors If They Acquired the Account When It Was Not In Default
The United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York has held that a loan servicer does not qualify as a debt collector under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C.A. §1692a (“FDCPA”), where the loans were not in default when the servicer...
What Happens When A Party To A Petition For Partition (Holding Title As Joint Tenant) Dies During Its Pendency?
Co-owners of real estate who no longer want to share title may file a petition for partition. If the property cannot be physically divided, the partition may be done in one of two ways: either one party buys out the interest of the other or the property is sold and...
Zoning Loss for Cannabis Business Due to Predicted “Undue Traffic Congestion”
As part of the recent explosion in cannabis facilities in Massachusetts, in around 2020 Nova Farms sought four special permits from the City of Attleboro. Two of the permits would have enabled Nova Farms to establish a cannabis retail business and a Medical Marijuana...
International Organizations Must Explicitly Waive Immunity For Judicial Enforcement, Modification or Vacatur of Arbitral Awards
The United States Appeals Court for the District of Columbia recently affirmed the dismissal of a case seeking modification or vacatur of an arbitration award in favor of the International Monetary Fund (“the IMF”) on the grounds the IMF had not explicitly waived its...
Massachusetts Superior Court Strikes Down Overreaching Fiduciary Duty Rule
On March 30, 2022, in Robinhood Financial, LLC v. William F. Galvin, et. al., the Massachusetts Superior Court (Ricciuti, J.) struck down the recently adopted Fiduciary Duty Rule (950 C.M.R § 12.207), a state regulation that held brokerage dealers to the same...
Arbitrating Against a Foreign State
In a recent case from the District of Columbia Circuit, Process and Industrial Developments Ltd. v. Federal Republic of Nigeria, the DC Circuit allowed an arbitration enforcement action to proceed against Nigeria despite a foreign court’s setting aside of the arbitral...
Overcoming the Presumption of Parentage
Massachusetts Probate and Family Courts are statutorily authorized to establish parentage pursuant to complaints filed under M.G.L. c. 209C, § 5 (“209C”). Under 209C (specifically 209C, § 6(a)(1)), there exists a statutory presumption whereby the spouse of an...
Employers Beware: Supreme Judicial Court Holds At-Will Employees Cannot be Terminated for Exercising Statutory Right to File Rebuttal for Personnel File
The Supreme Judicial Court recently reversed the dismissal, affirmed on appeal, of an employee’s action for wrongful termination for exercising his right under G.L. c. 149 § 52C to file a rebuttal to being placed on a performance improvement plan for inclusion in his...
Court Rejects Challenge to Long-Standing “Valid-When-Made” Doctrine
Pursuant to the National Bank Act, the Home Owners’ Loan Act, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Act, the “Valid-When-Made” doctrine has provided that if a loan is valid when it is made it cannot later become invalid or unenforceable because it is sold or assigned to a...
How Does the Land Court Evaluate A Challenge to a Restaurant Permit?
In the recent Essex Land Court decision of McWilliams, et al. v. Town of Rockport, et al., the Court evaluated a challenge to the Rockport Zoning Board’s decision to grant a defendant LLC a special permit allowing it to operate a restaurant with a maximum indoor and...
What Happens If They Refuse to Arbitrate?
A recent case out of the Seventh Circuit, Bartlit Beck LLP v. Okada, dealt with a common question about arbitration: what happens when the other side refuses to participate. In Bartlit Beck, that law firm had represented Kazuo Okada in a multi-billion dollar lawsuit...
One Year Redemption Cap for Tax-Foreclosure Does Not Apply if Due Process Denied
In Ithaca Finance, LLC v. Lopez (Decision and Order, January 3, 2022), the Massachusetts Land Court allowed Defendant’s motion to vacate a 2016 Judgment and found that Defendant could redeem the property at issue in accordance with M.G.L. c. 60, § 68. The Land Court...
OSHA Drops Its Vaccine Mandate for Large Businesses
Last week, in a statement and a notice of withdrawal, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officially withdrew its emergency temporary standard (“ETS”) that required large employers, with 100 or more employees, to implement COVID-19 vaccination...
Robocall Litigation: A Federal Judge Grants Class Certification in TCPA Lawsuit Brought by a Noncustomer against Citibank, N.A.
In response to consumer complaints, in 1991 Congress passed the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) to discourage and prevent unsolicited advertisement over telephone lines. The TCPA places restrictions on the use of automatic telephone dialing systems, both...
The Court Must Make Specific Findings as to Earning Capacity When Entering a Child Support Order Based Upon Attributed Income
In a recent Rule 23 decision, McCrea v. Clayton, a panel of the Massachusetts Appeals Court vacated and remanded the lower court’s order denying Mother’s motion to alter or amend a modification judgment that required her to pay child support to Father because the...
The Hague Convention: In Lawsuit Against Foreign Parties, Plaintiff Avoids Dismissal Despite Untimely and Ineffective Service of Process Abroad
In Granger v. Nesbitt, the District Court for the District of Massachusetts exercised its discretion to quash service instead of dismissing the case despite the plaintiff’s untimely and improper service on the Canadian defendants. The case involved a car accident that...
Beneficiary Designations & Divorce
In American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus v. Parker, the SJC ruled that a life insurance beneficiary designation naming an ex-spouse as beneficiary was revoked following the parties’ divorce by operation of law, pursuant to the Massachusetts Uniform...
Can You Keep Your House Post-Divorce?
In many divorces, the house is frequently sold during or shortly after the divorce. This is generally because one, or in some cases, two streams of income were sufficient to maintain the carrying costs on one household, but would be insufficient to maintain the...
District of Massachusetts Holds Text Messages Between Plaintiffs and Third-Parties Not Protected from Discovery as Concerted Activities
The United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts has held that group text messages between plaintiffs and third parties are not protected from disclosure in discovery as “concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual...
US Court of Appeals Allows LIBOR Lawsuit to Proceed
The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled on December 30, 2021 that litigation could proceed against certain foreign financial institutions. The decision overturned the ruling of the Southern District of New York. The case relates to the...
English Views on the Law of the Arbitration Clause: The Curious Case of Kabab-Ji
The general default rule in international law is that the lex arbitri—i.e., the law of the place where arbitration is to take place (the seat)—governs the arbitration and the arbitration clause, while the choice-of-law provision governs the substantive provisions of...
First Circuit Clarifies Standard of Review to be Applied by District Courts in Resolving Motions to Compel Arbitration Under the FAA
The First Circuit Court of Appeals recently clarified the standard District Courts in the circuit should be using to rule on motions to compel arbitration under the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”). In Air-Con, Inc. v. Daikin Applied Latin America, LLC, the First...
Does the SAFE Banking Act Go Far Enough for the Massachusetts Cannabis-Related Business Community?
In the Fall of 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives once again passed the Safe and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, with joint support from both parties. And although the Senate has yet to sign off, last month, the bill had 40 co-sponsors therein. The SAFE...
Enforcement of Emergency Arbitration Awards
US courts continue to be divided on the enforceability of emergency arbitration awards. As addressed in previous writings, in 2019 the US District Court for the Northern District of Georgia refused to enforce an international Emergency Award in the Al Raha case,...
Circuit Split Widens on Sovereign Immunity for FCRA Damages
The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, has deepened a split among federal appellate courts, holding that government agencies can be sued under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”), 15 U.S.C.A. § 1681. The DC Circuit joined the Seventh...
Court Upholds Modification Judgment Shifting Custody of Children to Father When Record Reveals Mother’s Conduct Toward Father Constituted A Material Change In Circumstance Necessitating Modification In The Best Interests Of The Children.
In a recent Rule 23 decision, a panel of the Massachusetts Appeals Court upheld the lower court’s modification judgment shifting legal and primary physical custody of the parties’ two minor children from their mother to their father, noting the mother’s conduct...
Massachusetts Appeals Court Concludes Employment Agreement Falls Within Purview of Federal Arbitration Act
In a recent unpublished decision, reversing a Superior Court decision, the Massachusetts Appeals Court concluded that certain agreements did not constitute “contracts of employment” and, therefore, were subject to the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA). In Cuneo v....
Condominium Developer Cannot Unilaterally Expand Time to Complete Phased Development and Add Incomplete Units to Condominium
The Massachusetts Appeals Court recently held in the case of Kettle Brook Lofts, LLC v. Stacy Specht, that a condominium’s master deed and the Massachusetts condominium statute, G.L. c. 183A, invalidated a developer’s attempts to unilaterally extend its time to...
Court Applies Massachusetts 6-Year Statute of Limitations for Breach of Contract Claim Rather Than 3-Year Delaware Limitation Period Even When Contract is Governed by Delaware Law
It is not uncommon for parties to a contract to decide which law will govern their contractual relationship, by including a choice of law provision in the contract. There are some significant differences between state laws: for example, the statute of limitations for...
Waiver Beware: Suffolk County Superior Court Holds Contractor Waived Right to Escape Arbitration
On September 22, 2021, the Suffolk County Superior Court held a contractor would be compelled to arbitrate a dispute with its electrical subcontractor. The decision shows that by taking action consistent with an agreement to arbitrate—in this case arguing the merits...
High Standards: U.S. District Court for D. C. Confirms $85 Million Arbitration Award against Libya
Strabag SE, a large international construction company based in Austria was awarded construction contracts for two major road projects in Libya in 2003. In 2006, after Libya began requiring foreign construction firms to carry out their contracts in conjunction with a...
Should a Pension be Considered an Asset or a Source of Income?
In Booth v. Booth, the Massachusetts Appeals Court vacated the Probate and Family Court’s decision to consider the Husband’s pension as a source of income for alimony purposes in the divorce, as well as the alimony award, and remanded. The parties were married for 35...
Supreme Judicial Court Compels New England Patriots to Arbitrate Dispute with Charter Aircraft Company Despite Never Signing Agreement To Arbitrate
Invoking a doctrine called “direct benefits estoppel,” on July 8, 2021, the Supreme Judicial Court forced the New England Patriots to arbitrate a dispute with charter aircraft company Team 125, Inc. Under direct benefits estoppel, a signatory to an arbitration...
In Employment Discrimination Cases, Judge Rules that Title VII Does Not Supervene Title IX
The United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts recently ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 – both of which prohibit sex-based discrimination – are separate enforcement mechanisms an...
Can A Probate and Family Court Judge Order a Child to Be Vaccinated Over One Parent’s Objection?
Given that the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has now been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for children above the age of 12, many divorced individuals with children in this age range may be wondering: What do I do if my co-parent and I disagree about whether our...
Statue of Repose Precludes Wrongful Death Claim Filed Within Three Years of Death But More Than Six Years After Installation of Water Heater
M.G.L.c. 260, § 2B, also known as a statute of repose, governs tort claims arising from improvements made to real property. The statute of repose was passed to protect providers “of individual expertise” in the business of planning, constructing, and administering...
Standing to Sue Under the FCRA Requires Actual Harm
The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, in a case spanning fourteen years, has held that consumers alleging a violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”), 15 U.S.C.A. § 1681e(b), must allege actual harm to sue under the statute. A claim for...
Barcode Containing Reference Number on Debt Collection Envelope Violates FDCPA
The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has added to the growing body of law regarding what can and cannot appear on the envelope for a debt collection letter under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”). The FDCPA, 15 U.S.C.A. §...
Declaratory Judgment Suits Require a Private Right of Action
In Source One Financial Corporation v. Geico Indemnity Company (Memo and Order June 30, 2021), the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts allowed the motion if Geico Indemnity Company, the defendant, to dismiss, determining that Source One...
MA Federal Court Confirms Leniency of Chapter 93A Demand Letter Requirement
In two recent cases, the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts has rejected attempts to throw out consumer protection lawsuits for failure to follow the strict mandates of the Chapter 93A demand letter requirement. Massachusetts’ Consumer Protection...
District Court Finds No Jurisdiction Over Claims Against Foreign Corporate Owner and Operator of Ship in Boston Harbor Accident
The United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts recently dismissed claims against two foreign corporations which owned and operated a ship which damaged a pier in Boston Harbor in 2017, in American Home Assurance Company v. M/V One Helsinki f/k/a...
New Appeals Court Case Addresses Attribution Of Income Where Spouse Had Been Under-Earning In The Years Leading Up To A Divorce
In Davae v. Davae, the husband was a licensed physician, board-certified in the field of diagnostic radiology. While practicing at a medical center, the husband started a teleradiology business. The husband left his hospital practice and started working at his...
First Circuit rules that class arbitration is not implicitly authorized in agreement
In American Institute for Foreign Study, Inc. v. Fernandez-Jimenez, the First Circuit recently affirmed a preliminary injunction enjoining class arbitration because, while the agreement required the parties to arbitrate their disputes, it did not authorize class...
New Child Support Guidelines Will Become Effective On October 4, 2021
In accordance with federal regulations (i.e., 45 CFR, § 302.56), the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines Task Force has completed its quadrennial review of the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines (“Guidelines”). On August 2, 2021, the Trial Court released...
Changes to Come in Banking Regulation?
On July 9, 2021, President Biden issued an executive order that could spell changes for banking regulation. The Executive Order’s stated purpose is to promote a “fair, open, and competitive marketplace” and the Order asserts that “in the financial-services sector,...
Use of Pre-Existing List of Numbers Does Not Qualify as Automatic Telephone Dialing System in Violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act
Relying on the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Facebook, Inc. v. Duguid, the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina has found that Bank of America, N.A.’s system used to place alleged debt collection calls does not qualify as...
When can a child’s name be changed?
In a recent decision by the Appeals Court of Massachusetts, Gomes v. Candido, the court clarified the standard that is used when two parents disagree about their child’s surname. In the trial court, the parents, who were unmarried but in a relationship when the twin...
Update: President Biden Signs Joint Congressional Resolution Striking Down “True Lender” Rule
In late 2020, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) issued the “true lender” rule, which was immediately met with criticism. Shortly thereafter, several State Attorneys General, led by New York Attorney General Letitia James, sued the OCC seeking to...
Food Fight: Ioan Micula, et. al. v. Romania
In Ioan Micula, et. al. v. Romania, Swedish food industry brothers Viorel and Ioan Micula asked the United States District Court for the District of Columbia to affirm a federal judge’s ruling ordering Romania to pay the remaining balance of $96 million on a $356...
D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Affirms Dismissal Under Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of Claims Against Ukraine by Ukrainian Nationals and Their American Business Partners
The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (“the D.C. Circuit”) recently affirmed the dismissal of claims brought against the Ukrainian government by Ukrainian nationals and their American business partners in the case of Ivanenko v. Yanukovich....
SJC Concludes That Short-Term Rental Homeowner’s Duty Did Not Extend to Protecting Decedent from Harm Caused by Third Party
Over Memorial Day weekend in 2016, the defendant rented out his property to Woody Victor and five friends for what was supposed to be a college reunion party. Instead, the pool party attracted over one hundred attendees and around 3 AM, the police received a report...
Why the Arbitral Seat Matters
The recent Tenth Circuit case of Goldgroup Resources, Inc. v. DynaResource de Mexico, S.A. de C.V., 994 F.3d 1181 (10th Cir. 2021) helps to show why the selection of an arbitral seat can make a significant difference. The background to the case is a shareholder...
Can One Party in a Divorce Action Be Held in Contempt for Failure to Communicate “Respectfully” With Their Ex-Spouse?
This issue was addressed in a recent Massachusetts Appeals Court Memorandum and Order Pursuant to Rule 23.0. In the unpublished case of Parker v. Parker, the Appeals Court considered whether or not the defendant father could be held in contempt for failing to...
What is the Standard for Civil Contempt?
In Tsavidis v. Tsavidis (Memo and Order Pursuant to Rule 23.0, June 7, 2021), the Massachusetts Appeals Court affirmed the Probate and Family Court’s finding that there was no contempt by the mother. Pursuant to the father and mother’s Separation Agreement, the father...
First Circuit Court Of Appeals Upholds Fraud Convictions, Finding No Actual Or Implied Juror Bias
In U.S. v. Kuljko, the defendant, a “convicted fraudster who hornswoggled dozens of victims out of millions of dollars,” requested that the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit vacate the jury’s guilty verdict, in part due to the trial court’s failure to dismiss a...
Implications of Working Out-of-State on Shared Parenting Plans
The increase in housing prices in Massachusetts and the ability to work remotely has afforded many people the opportunity for out-of-state home ownership in lower cost-of-living locations. However, for parties with a shared parenting plan the calculus surrounding...
The International Letter of Credit
Letters of credit are a common payment mechanism in international trade that normally allow a buyer to substitute the financial integrity of a stable credit source such as a bank for his own. For the seller of goods, a letter of credit functions as a bank’s...
U.S. Supreme Court to Weigh in on Federal Eviction Moratorium
A group of Alabama and Georgia realtors have asked the U.S. Supreme Court for emergency relief in their lawsuit now pending on appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for District of Columbia Circuit. The realtors sued the U.S. government, challenging the legality of...
Seeking Specific Performance of a P&S Agreement When the Seller Failed to Show Up at Closing
A real estate sales contract must comply with the Statute of Frauds, meaning that it must be in writing, contain a description of the property and the agreed-upon price. Further, the parties must intend to be bound by the contract. Unless the seller has a legal...
COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave
Governor Baker recently signed legislation requiring employers to provide COVID-19 emergency paid sick leave to eligible employees who are unable to work for COVID-19-related reasons. Eligible employees will be entitled to up to 40 hours of paid leave, with a weekly...
Update: Senate Votes to Repeal “True Lender” Rule
Late last year, we wrote about the issuance of the “true lender” rule by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), which went into effect in December 2020. Prior to the issuance of that rule, federal courts had differed as to whether third-party lenders...
Settlement of FDCPA Claim Does Not Qualify as a “Successful Action” Entitling Plaintiff to Attorney Fees
The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit recently held that a private settlement on favorable terms for the plaintiff does not qualify as a “successful action” triggering the fee shifting provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”)...
Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Clarifies When Statute of Limitations Clock Begins Running in Multi-phase, Multi-building Real Estate Development Projects
Last year, I wrote about the case of D’Allessandro v. Lennar Hingham Holdings, LLC, where United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts held that the statute of limitations under G.L. c 260 § 2B did not begin running until the entire multi-phase,...
Appeals Court Draws Further Distinction Between A Clerical Error And Substantive Error In A Judgment
In the recent case Keohan v. Whalen, the parties’ original divorce judgment provided that alimony would be calculated based on the difference of the parties’ earned income by applying the following percentages: Difference in the Parties’ Earned Incomes % - Up to...
Issuance of Letters Rogatory: Final and Appealable
A letter rogatory is a formal request from a court in one country to a court in another country to perform some act. In the United States, common types of letters rogatory are requests for evidence, often document requests. Often, such letters rogatory seek documents...
District Court Holds That Plaintiff Failed to Prove She Experienced a Hostile Work Environment
In a recent Memorandum and Order issued by the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, the Court ruled on a summary judgment claim brought by the defendant in the case of Gunter v. Shapley & Stern, Inc. The defendant, a furniture and carpet...
Eleventh Circuit Court Of Appeals Holds Plaintiff’s FCRA Claim Was Subject To Provision In A Subscriber Agreement That Terminated Years Before His Claim Arose
In Michael Hearn, et. al. v. Comcast Cable Communications, LLC, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit reverses a recent decision from United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia and ruled that a putative class action brought...
Statute of Frauds No Bar to Claim for Breach of Oral Contract to Transfer Delivery Agreement
The United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts recently held that a promissory estoppel claim for assignment of a contract was not barred by the Statute of Frauds. The Court held that, where the complaint did not allege that the parties had any...
Massachusetts Federal Court Asked to Enforce Chinese Arbitration Award
In a request that highlights the benefits of international arbitration, Plaintiff Jiewen Lin has filed a Petition to Confirm and Enforce a Foreign Arbitration Award against several Defendants. The case is pending before Judge O’Toole in the U.S. District Court for the...
Are you a Borrower under RESPA if you are on the Mortgage but not the Note?
In Pittner v. Castle Peak 2012-1 Loan Trust (Memo & Order April 14, 2021), the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts awarded summary judgment to Defendants, Castle Peak 2012-1 Loan Trust and Selene Finance LP, on Plaintiff’s claims of...
Judge Rules Legal Sea Foods is Not Entitled to Insurance Coverage for Pandemic-Related Losses
In early March 2020, Legal Sea Foods (Legal) signed an insurance policy with Strathmore Insurance Co. (Strathmore). Shortly thereafter, Governor Baker issued an order prohibiting Massachusetts restaurants from providing on-premises food or beverage consumption. As a...
Updated IBA Rules on the Taking of Evidence in International Arbitration
On February 15, 2021, the International Bar Association ("IBA") released an update to its highly influential Rules on the Taking of Evidence in International Arbitration ("IBA Rules"). The IBA Rules are a mix of common law and civil law traditions, and serve as the...
Can Court-Ordered Restrictions on Co-Parenting Communications Violate a Parent’s Constitutional Rights?
The short answer, according to a recent Appeals Court Memorandum and Order Pursuant to Rule 23.0, is yes. In the unpublished case of Sanavage v. Chavis, the parties were never married and were the parents of one child together. Following a trial on the father's...
What is the Statute of Limitations Period for a Chapter 93A Claim for Debt Collection Efforts?
In Aja v. Select Portfolio Servicing, Inc. (Memo and Order, November 25, 2020), the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts allowed Select Portfolio Servicing, Inc.'s and Wells Fargo Bank's ("Defendants") motion to dismiss the amended complaint...
First Circuit Reverses District Court’s Grant of Summary Judgment
In Dahua Technology USA, Inc. v. Zhang, the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals reversed the District Court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the Plaintiff-employer, Dahua Technology USA Inc. The District Court had ordered the reformation of the severance...
In disability discrimination lawsuit, former employee held bound by inconsistent statement made in Social Security Disability benefits application
Under the principle of judicial estoppel, a party to a lawsuit is precluded from asserting a claim that is inconsistent with a prior statement or position. In Thompson v. Gold Medal Bakery, Inc., the First Circuit recently applied this principle in the context of a...
Banks Challenge Oregon’s COVID Foreclosure Moratorium
A group of Oregon banks and banking organizations have come together to challenge the legality of that state's emergency COVD-19 banking regulations. Enacted on June 30, 2020 and in effect until it expired on December 31, Oregon's House Bill (HB) 4204 placed...
Can a savings clause save an indemnification provision that would otherwise be void under M.G.L. c. 149, § 29C?
The U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts addressed this issue in a recent order on a motion in limine in the case Lennar Northeast Properties, Inc. d/b/a Lenna Northeast Urban, and Lennar Hingham Holdings, LLC v. Barton Partners Architects Planners...
Virtual Arbitration After COVID
The world has grown more accustomed to doing business virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic. As the vaccine rollout progresses, and businesses and lawyers ponder a future post-pandemic, the question arises: what permanent changes to the business world will this...
The Impact of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Benefits on Child Support
Pursuant to the 2018 Child Support Guidelines, "[i]f a parent receives social security benefits or SSDI benefits and the children of the parties receive a dependency benefit derived from that parent's benefit, the amount of the dependency benefit shall be added to the...
Circuit Split Grows on Benign Language Exception for Debt Collection Envelopes
The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has joined the split from holdings by the Fifth and Eighth Circuits regarding a "benign language" exception for debt collection letters. The Sixth Circuit instead joined with the Seventh Circuit in holding that...
Lack of Testamentary Capacity in Massachusetts Will Contests
Showing a lack of testamentary capacity in Massachusetts will and trust litigation is not easy. In Joseph A. Haddad, et. al. v. Marcel A. Haddad, et. al., the Massachusetts Appeals Court recently reversed a decision by the Massachusetts Superior Court by finding that...
Jurisdiction for Filing of Divorce in Massachusetts
In new decision, De-Paz York v. York, the Appeals Court finds that the Probate and Family Court did not have subject matter jurisdiction to issue a divorce judgment. In that case, the parties last lived together in Colombia on March 30, 2017. The wife filed a...
Superior Court Sheds Light on the Application of Frustration of Purpose Doctrine During the COVID-19 Pandemic
In the recent case of UNMV 205-207 Newbury, LLC v. Caffé Nero Americas, Inc., the Suffolk County Superior Court weighed in on the applicability of the frustration of purpose doctrine in connection with a commercial lease. In this specific case, the tenant ("Caffé...
Can Massport treat a car sharing company like a traditional airport rental car company? Supreme Judicial Court to weigh in.
In January the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) heard oral argument in a case challenging the ability of car sharing company Turo to facilitate pickups at Logan International Airport without paying the taxes and fees that Massport requires of traditional car rental...
United States Supreme Court Hold Foreign Government Taking From Own Citizens Does Not Fall Within Exception To Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act
The Supreme Court of the United States recently held in Federal Republic of Germany v. Philipp that Germany was immune from suit brought by heirs of Jewish art dealers on the grounds that the heirs' claims did not fall within an exception to the Foreign Sovereign...
Employees Beware: Appeals Court Allows Termination for Exercising Statutory Right
Massachusetts law gives employees the right to place a written statement in their personnel file if they disagree with information their employer has put into the file that has or may negatively affect the employee's qualification for employment, promotion, transfer,...
Who Should Regulate FinTech Companies? OCC and CFPB at Odds
Over the past decade, there has been rapid growth in technology-enabled financial services, referred to as FinTech. This growth has included the creation and expansion of nonbank FinTech companies, i.e., companies that do not have a banking license and generally do...
School Costs Cannot Form Basis to Deny Housing Construction Permits
The Massachusetts Land Court, in two separate opinions, has held that the costs of educating school-age children who may occupy a housing complex is not a valid basis for denying a developer's request for a building permit. While the Massachusetts Appeals Court had...
What is the Automatic Restraining Order in a Divorce Case?
What is the Automatic Restraining Order in a Divorce Case? A question that frequently comes up in a divorce is what effect the filing has on the financial lives of the parties. Can they still use the joint credit card? Change the beneficiaries on the life insurance...
Life Sciences Companies Increase the Use of International Arbitration
As a natural result of their expansion even further into the global market, life sciences companies have increasingly relied on international arbitration to resolve disputes, joining a growing number of industries that have made a similar move in recent years. There...
Can a Court Deviate from the Child Support Guidelines?
In Luce v. Folino-Inadoli, the Massachusetts Appeals Court (Rule 23.0 decision) affirmed the Probate and Family Court's reduction of the child support amount paid by the father to the mother, as well as the denial of retroactive relief for the father. In October 2018,...
Alimony Statute Does Not Restrict Parties’ Ability to Negotiate / Agree Upon How Alimony is Calculated
In a recent Rule 23 decision, a panel of the Massachusetts Appeals Court reversed the lower court and held that G. L. c. 208, section 53 (i.e., section 53 of the Alimony Reform Act) does not restrict parties' ability to negotiate and agree upon how alimony is...
Receiving Collection Letter Overstating Debt Owed Does Not Constitute Harm Sufficient to Create Standing Under Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
In Nettles v. Midland Funding LLC the Seventh Circuit recently held Plaintiff Ashley Nettles did not have standing to bring a claim against Defendant Midland Funding LLC under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA") on the grounds that Plaintiff suffered no...
Can U.S. Companies Can Be Sued in the U.S. for their Supplier’s Human Rights Violations? Supreme Court to Weigh In.
Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in a pair of cases that question the role of the U.S. court system in holding companies accountable for profiting from child slavery in foreign countries. The Alien Tort Statute (ATS) gives federal courts...
In Case of First Impression, First Circuit Holds that Retaliation Claims Under the False Claims Act Must Be Evaluated Under the But-For Causation Standard
The False Claims Act prohibits employers from discriminating against an employee "because of" his or her protected conduct. In a case of first impression recently decided, Lestage v. Coloplast Corp., the First Circuit explained the meaning of "because of." Lestage, a...
Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act
On January 1, 2021, the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act ("PFML") will begin providing benefits to eligible workers. Eligible workers will be entitled to the following benefits: • Up to 20 weeks of job-protected paid leave for a worker's own serious...
What Happens to My Health Insurance Post-Divorce?
In many divorce cases, the parties and their children maintain common health insurance coverage, often through a plan that is available as the result of one party's employment. If both parties are employed at the time of their divorce, then it is commonplace for each...
Reflections on Client Advocacy and Practicing Family Law in Massachusetts During a Global Pandemic
As 2020 draws to an end, COVID-19 continues to impact the way of life for individuals and businesses across the Commonwealth, and the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court bar is no exception. Beginning in March 2020, and seemingly overnight, Probate and Family Court...
Can Employers Require Their Employees To Receive A COVID-19 Vaccine?
On December 16, 2020, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") issued guidance addressing questions related to the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine to their employees. Under this guidance, employers may require their employers to be...
First Circuit Upholds New Trial on Basis of Confrontation Clause Violation
In United States v. Ackerly, the government appealed the District Court's decision to grant a new trial on the basis of the defendant's argument that the government violated the Confrontation Clause. In that case, the defendant and her co-defendants were alleged to...
“CORPORATE FAMILY LAW” AT FITCH: Business Litigators and Family Law Litigators: Learning from Each Other
This post is part one in a series aimed at helping business litigation and family law litigation attorneys expand their arsenal of strategies for helping clients resolve their disputes. To the casual observer, the practice of business litigation and the practice of...
SJC Rules that Statute of Limitations in Condo Construction Defect Claims are Specific to Each Building in a Multi-Building Development, Not the Entire Development
In a win for developers, Supreme Judicial Court says six-year clock for design and construction defect claims runs separately for each building within condominium development. On November 3, the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) made it harder for condominium owners to...
Massachusetts Appeals Court Affirms Superior Court Decision that Retreat Rentals on an Uninhabited Coastline in Duxbury do not Violate Conservation Restriction
In Wildlands Trust of Southeastern Mass., Inc v. Cedar Hill Retreat Center, Inc., the Massachusetts Appeals Court affirms a Superior Court judge's determination that Defendant Cedar Hill Retreat Center, Inc. ("Cedar Hill") did not violate a conservation restriction...
First Circuit Reverses Its Earlier Decision Voiding a Foreclosure Sale Over a Potentially Defective Notice of Default After the SJC, on Certification, Found the Notice Was Not Misleading
When a borrower defaults on the terms of the mortgage, the loan is accelerated, thereby allowing the bank to conduct a foreclosure sale. Because Massachusetts is a non-judicial foreclosure state, a bank does not need to obtain a judgment to foreclose (provided the...
Face-to-Face Meeting Requirement Before Foreclosure Satisfied by Letter and Visit to Arrange Later Meeting
The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit has held that, where a foreclosing mortgagee is required by HUD regulations incorporated into the mortgage, to make reasonable efforts to hold a face-to-face meeting with a borrower before foreclosure, there is...
European Data Protection Board Issues Recommendations to Guide Data Transfers from European Union to the United States
In July 2020, the European Court of Justice invalidated the use of the Privacy Shield framework, which thousands of companies had been using to transfer data between the European Union (EU) and the United States. The Court reasoned that the Privacy Shield did not...
Massachusetts peer review privilege does not apply in federal cases alleging health care billing fraud
A magistrate judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts recently held the peer review privilege did not apply in a case alleging health care billing fraud. In Wollman v. Massachusetts General Hospital, Dr. Lisa Wollman, a former...
9th Circuit to Judge Regulation of Mandatory Employment Arbitration
On December 7, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear oral argument in a case of particular relevance to employers who use arbitration to resolve disputes with employees. The case, Chamber of Commerce of the U.S. v. Becerra, considers whether states...
A Zero is Something: The Massachusetts Appeals Court Concludes that a Divorce Judgment Provided for a “Zero-Dollar Alimony Award”
People often think about the number zero as only nothing, when in fact, the invention of the humble zero constantly forces us to realize that the absence of something is a thing in and of itself. In a recent decision, the Massachusetts Appeals Court changed the...
Party Who Successfully Disputed Being Party to Mortgage Cannot Claim Rights Under Disavowed Mortgage to Challenge Foreclosure
The Massachusetts Appeals Court ("Appeals Court"), in an unpublished opinion, has held that where an alleged mortgagor has successfully argued that she is not party to a mortgage, she cannot later challenge a foreclosure of that mortgage on the grounds that the...
Office of the Comptroller of the Currency Issues “True Lender” Rule
While federal law permits national banks to transfer loans and assign mortgage loan contracts to third-party lenders, courts across the country have sometimes struggled, when loans are challenged in litigation, to determine which entity legally made the loan. This...
Eviction & Foreclosure Moratorium Expires Amid Rising COVID Infections
On April 20, 2020, Massachusetts Governor Baker signed into law An Act Providing for a Moratorium on Evictions and Foreclosures During the COVID-19 Emergency. The moratorium was originally set to expire on August 18, 2020, but Governor Baker had previously extended...
Can a Judge Order a Party to a Divorce to Get a Job?
In a recent decision by the Appeals Court of Massachusetts - albeit under Rule 23, so it is not considered binding precedent though it can be cited for persuasive purposes - the Court overturned a portion of a divorce judgment that required the Wife, who would be...
Can a judge grant a deviation from the durational alimony limits when a complaint for modification of alimony is filed after the presumptive alimony durational limit has already expired?
The Appeals Court addressed this issue in the recent case, Clement v. Owens-Clement. In that case, the Husband and the Wife were married for a total of six years before they divorced in 2013. The parties' separation agreement, which was incorporated into their divorce...
Because The Montreal Convention Preempts All Local Claims That Fall Within Its Scope
The liability of aircraft carriers is governed by the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air, May 28, 1999, S. Treaty Doc. No. 106-45 (2000) (the "Montreal Convention"), a multilateral treaty to which the United States is a...
Supreme Judicial Court Holds Prescriptive Easement Does Not Amount to a Taking
The Supreme Judicial Court ("SJC") recently held that a government taking did not occur where a town had acquired a prescriptive easement to discharge storm water through private property. In Gentili v. Town of Sturbridge, Plaintiffs commenced an action in 2015 in the...
Appeals Court Finds that Pre-Trial Conditions of Release and DCF Involvement are Inadequate Substitutions for the Protection of an Ch. 209A Abuse Prevent Order
In Vera V. v. Seymour S., the Appeals Court recently considered whether it was proper for a trial judge to deny a request for an extension of an ex parte abuse prevention order pursuant to G. L. c. 209A, based on the defendant ("husband") being subject to certain...
Advantages to International Arbitration: Enforceability
In prior posts here at FITCH, we have discussed some of the reasons that parties choose international arbitration over litigation for their cross-border disputes. Over the next few months, we will be taking a deeper dive into the advantages of international...
Prior Public Use Doctrine Does Not Apply to Public Lands Sold or Leased for
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ("SJC") has held that the Prior Public Use Doctrine, which operates to prevent public lands acquired for a particular use from being diverted to another inconsistent public use without explicit legislative authorization, does...
Discovering “Hidden” Assets in a Divorce
It is natural for a couple going through a contentious divorce to lack trust in each other. Accordingly, one of the first questions that a divorcing party will often ask their attorney is how they can be sure that their soon-to-be-ex-spouse has fully and fairly...
Court holds that Uber cannot be held vicariously liable for the alleged sexual misconduct of its driver
Under the theory of respondeat superior, an employer may be vicariously liable for the torts of its employee. In order to prevail on a claim of vicarious liability, the plaintiff must show two elements: (1) that an employer-employee relationship exists and (2) that...
When Three’s a Crowd: Intervention under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24
In T-Mobile Northeast LLC v. Town of Barnstable, et. al., the First Circuit affirmed the decision of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts to deny local residents' motion for leave to intervene. Rule of 24(a) under the Federal Rule of...
Tenth Circuits Confirms $36.1 Million International Arbitration Award
The Tenth Circuit confirmed a $36.1 million international arbitration award in a dispute between Bolivian company Compañia de Inversiones Mercantiles S.A. ("CIMSA") and a group of Mexican companies known as Grupo Cementos de Chihuahua, S.A.B. de C.V. and GCC...
In Which Cases is an Alimony Award Based on Need?
In a recent Rule 23 decision, the Appeals Court of Massachusetts provided further clarification relating to the Young v. Young decision and how a judge is expected to calculate alimony. In a nutshell, if a payor's "ability to pay" is not an issue, then the amount of...
Business Interruption Coverage Class Action: Update on Rinnigade Art Works v. Hartford Financial Group
Back in June, Massachusetts saw the filing of the first suit seeking class action status challenging an insurance company's denial of coverage for COVID-19 related business losses, Rinnigade Art Works v. Hartford Financial Group. On August 3, 2020, Plaintiff Rinnigade...
Massachusetts Federal Court Rules on Employee Status Under the Fair Labor Standards Act
In a decision recently issued in the case of Maldonado et al. v. Cultural Care, Inc. et al., a group of "local childcare consultants" ("LCCs") brought a class action suit against Cultural Care, a company that places foreign au pairs with host families located in the...
Advantages to International Arbitration: Confidentiality
In prior posts here at FITCH, we have discussed some of the reasons that parties choose international arbitration over litigation for their cross-border disputes. Over the next few months, we will be taking a deeper dive into the advantages of international...
Can a judge order that a retirement account be divided equally between the parties as of the date of their divorce if one party made contributions to that account after the parties separated but before the date of divorce?
This issue was examined by the Appeals Court in the recent case, Hoy v. Hoy. In that case, the wife was the primary wage earner during the parties' long-term marriage and the trial judge in the divorce found that the husband was in need of alimony. However, because...
The Use of International Arbitration for Banking and Finance Disputes: Tailoring the Arbitration Clause
As we have pointed out before, the use of international arbitration for banking and finance disputes continues to grow. The International Chamber of Commerce also recently came out with a report discussing this growing trend for financing disputes. If you have...
“Last Mile” Delivery Drivers Exempt from Federal Arbitration Act
The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit has held that, despite never crossing state lines in the course of their duties, "last mile" delivery drivers qualify for the Federal Arbitration Act's ("FAA") exemption for transportation workers due to their...
Does The Seller’s Death Terminate A Real Estate Listing Agreement?
In a case of first impression, Newton Centre Realty, Inc. v. David R. Jaffe (June 23, 2020), the Appeals Court recently decided that the seller's death terminates a real estate listing agreement and concluded that the broker was not entitled to recover contract...
Clarifying the Clear and Unequivocal Standard of Contempt in the Probate and Family Court
In a recent Rule 23 decision, the Appeals Court of Massachusetts upheld a finding of contempt against a father who, without the mother's consent, registered the children for soccer. Following the parties' divorce judgment, the mother was awarded sole legal custody of...
Are Non-Disparagement Clauses Constitutional?
Unfortunately, the emotionally charged circumstances of divorce and custody cases can create very difficult conditions for the parties and their children. On occasion, one or both parties will engage in disparaging behavior - calling the other party names in public...
Payment of Wages and Earned Vacation Not Due Until Actual Date of Discharge, Even If Employee Stopped Working Earlier
In Knous v. Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc., the United States District Court for the District Court of Massachusetts awarded summary judgment to an employer on the employee's claims of unpaid wages and earned vacation at the time of discharge. As a result of...
The Use of International Arbitration for Banking and Finance Disputes: Tailoring the Arbitration Clause
As we have pointed out before, the use of international arbitration for banking and finance disputes continues to grow. The International Chamber of Commerce also recently came out with a report discussing this growing trend for financing disputes. If you have...
First Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Class Action Against Nestlé, Mars, and Hershey for Non-Disclosure of Potential Child and Slave Labor Issues
In Tomasella v. Nestlé, a politically charged case involving three of the United States' most prominent chocolate manufacturers, the First Circuit recently affirmed dismissal of a putative class action against Nestlé USA Inc., Mars, Inc., and the Hershey Company. The...
District Court Finds in Favor of T-Mobile in Zoning Dispute
In the recent Memorandum and Order issued in the case T-Mobile Northeast LLC v. The Town of Barnstable, the Massachusetts District Court held that the Town of Barnstable Planning Board ("the Planning Board") had violated the Telecommunications Act of 1996 ("the TCA")...
A Party Cannot Be Both Party and Arbitrator: First Circuit Finds Arbitration Clause Unconscionable
The First Circuit Court of Appeals recently found an agreement's arbitration clause unconscionable where one party was given almost unfettered control over the selection of the arbitrators. In Trout v. Organización Mundial de Boxeo, Inc., plaintiff Austin Trout...
Superior Court Holds That, Even With Advance Notice To Its Employees, An Employer May Not Avoid Its Obligations Under Sullivan v. Sleepy’s LLC To Pay Separate and Additional Overtime
In the recent Superior Court case of Martinez v. Burlington Motor Sports, Inc., et al., a defendant auto dealership moved to dismiss a commission-based employee's claim for overtime wages pursuant to G. L. c. 151, §§ 1A and 1B, arguing that the Massachusetts...
U.S. Supreme Court Allows Non-Signatories to Enforce Arbitration Agreements
In GE Energy Power Conversion France SAS v. Outokumpu Stainless USA, the United States Supreme Court was presented with the question whether domestic equitable estoppel doctrines that allow a non-signatory to an arbitration agreement to compel arbitration in disputes...
Appeals Court Rules that Settlement To Which Abutter Was Not a Party Does Not Deprive Zoning Board of Appeals of Jurisdiction Over Abutter’s Appeal
In Stevens v. Zoning Board of Appeals of Bourne, et. al., the Massachusetts Appeals Court upheld the Bourne Board of Selectman's decision to reinstate a cease and desist order against Plaintiff Lighthouse Realty Trust despite a Land Court settlement agreement between...
First Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Class Action Claims Against General Electric by Victims of Nuclear Disaster Due to Availability of Adequate Alternative Japanese Forum
In March 2011, a massive 9.0 magnitude earthquake occurred just off the coast of Japan and triggered a 45-foot tsunami, which in turn breached the seawall and resulted in a series of explosions and a widescale nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power...
Circuits Split on Benign Language Exception for Debt Collection Envelopes
The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has split from holdings by the Fifth and Eighth Circuits in holding that the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA") does not contain a "benign language" exception to the requirement that the envelope for...
Appeals Court Vacates Custody Award Due to Domestic Abuse Allegations
In the recent unpublished Memorandum and Order Pursuant to Rule 1:28, Manning v. Manning, the Massachusetts Appeals Court overturned a custody judgment from the Probate and Family Court awarding a couple shared legal and physical custody of their two children due to...
First Circuit Upholds Securities and Wire Fraud Convictions Against Former State Street Vice-President Ross
In United States v. McLellan, the First Circuit upheld securities and wire fraud convictions against former State Street Vice-President and head of the Department of Transitional Services Ross McLellan ("McLellan"). McLellan was convicted by a jury in the United...
Business Interruption Coverage Class Action
A case recently filed with the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, Rinnigade Art Works v. Hartford Financial Group, is the first suit in Massachusetts seeking class action status in challenging an insurance company's denial of coverage for...
G.L. Ch. 209A Restraining Orders Must be Based on a Reasonable Fear of Abuse.
For a plaintiff to obtain an abuse prevention order, colloquially known as a "restraining order," against a defendant, the issuing court must make a finding of abuse. For the purposes of 209A, abuse is defined as a) attempting to cause or causing physical harm; b)...
Massachusetts Appeals Court Rejects Plaintiff-Borrowers’ Claim that Obsolete Mortgage Statute Limits Mortgagee’s Ability to Foreclose on Properties in Default
The Massachusetts obsolete mortgage statute, G.L. c. 260, § 33, provides, in relevant part, that "power of sale in any mortgage of real estate shall not be exercised . . . nor proceeding begun for foreclosure of any such mortgage after the expiration of . . . 5 years...
Land Court Holds That Family Has Successfully Asserted Adverse Possession Claim Over Disputed Land.
In the recent case of Bliss v. Boston Clear Water Company, LLC (decided April 21, 2020), the Essex Land Court found that the plaintiff, Mary Bliss, had successfully proved a claim to ownership of property on the grounds of adverse possession because her family had...
First Circuit Upheld District Court’s Preliminary Injunction Applying Delaware Law Based on Massachusetts’s Choice-of-Law Framework
Recently, in NuVasive, Inc. v. Day, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit upheld the decision of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts to apply Delaware law and grant an employer a preliminary injunction against a former...
Are Non-Disparagement Clauses Constitutional?
Unfortunately, the emotionally charged circumstances of divorce and custody cases can create very difficult conditions for the parties and their children. On occasion, one or both parties will engage in disparaging behavior - calling the other party names in public...
Co-Parenting During the COVID-19 Crisis
In his open letter dated March 24, 2020, Chief Justice Casey indicated that it is important, during the current Covid-19 crisis and corresponding Stay-at-Home Advisory, for children to spend time with both of their parents. While this provided welcome clarity for...
Appeals Court holds no “easement by necessity” for maintenance of land obtained by adverse possession.
In the recent decision, McDonald v. Andrade, the Massachusetts Appeals Court reversed a trial court decision, awarding an easement to a Plaintiff who had - in the same lawsuit - obtained the land to which the easement pertained by adverse possession. This case...
SJC Holds Consent-to-Settle Clauses in Professional Liability Insurance Policies Valid
The Supreme Judicial Court recently issued a decision that confirms the legality of consent-to-settle clauses in professional liability insurance policies. In Rawan v. Continental Casualty Company, the SJC held that the refusal of an insured party to settle an...
Guidelines Published for Video-Conferencing in International Litigation
The Hague Conference on Private International Law (the "HCCH") has just published its Guide to Good Practice on the use of video-conferencing technology in the taking of evidence (the "Guide") pursuant to the Convention on the Taking of Evidence Abroad in Civil or...
Pivotal Questions Concerning Coronavirus and Performance Under Contracts with Force Majeure Clauses
It is no exaggeration to state that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been the largest disruptor to businesses this year. Productivity has slowed as co-workers self-quarantine to prevent the risk of exposure to the virus, and offices across the nation are closed...
What Happens to GAL Investigations During the Coronavirus Pandemic
The COVID-19 public health emergency has ground many activities to a halt, including the vast majority of matters at Probate and Family Courts across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Although the impact of court closures has been felt most strongly in the paucity of...
Issuance of 1099-C Does Not Void Equitable Lien on Foreclosure Surplus
The United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, in a matter of first impression in the First Circuit, has joined the majority of courts to find that a junior lienholder's issuance of a 1099-C to a mortgagor following foreclosure does not extinguish...
SJC Determines Unpaid Commissions Due to Retaliatory Firing “[M]ust Be Trebled,” per the Wage Act
Recently in Parker v. EnerNOC, Inc., the Supreme Judicial Court held that, per the Massachusetts Wage Act, G.L. c. 149, §§ 148A, 150, an employee, who was deprived of a commission as a result of a retaliatory termination by her employer prior to the commission coming...
Federal Court Permits Plaintiffs’ Claims That “Rent-A-Bank” Predatory Lending Scheme Violated Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act
In Kaur v. World Bus. Lenders, LLC, Judge Willian Young of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts has partially denied a motion brought by World Business Lenders, LLC and Axos Bank to dismiss claims that the defendant lenders violated the...
When does the statute of limitations clock begin running in multi-phase, multi-building real estate development projects?
Large, multi-unit, multi-building real estate developments can be seen all over the greater Boston area these days. As with any major project, problems can arise, and what looked like perfect, shiny new building may start to form a few cracks. Once cracks start to...
I have an out-of-state child support order, but my child and his other parent moved to Massachusetts. Does this change how long I am obligated to continue paying child support?
Different states have different rules regarding when a parent's child support obligation ends. In some states, a parent's child support obligation ends when a child turns 18 years old. In Massachusetts, a parent's child support obligation generally lasts at least...
Are Comp Time and Work-Related Travel Expenses Recoverable Under the Wage Act?
The Massachusetts Wage Act allows an employee to recover "wages" that have been "unreasonably retained" by an employer. A salary is within the scope of the statute. What else is considered "wages"? It's not clear because the term "wages" is not defined. The...
Why Are Mediation and Conciliation Confidential?
Mediation and conciliation are two of the most common methods of alternative dispute resolution ("ADR"). In each of these voluntary processes, a third party neutral with no stake in the case tries to facilitate a compromise or agreement between parties who are in...
United States Supreme Court Rejects Discovery Rule for Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, But Leaves Potential Fraud-Specific Discovery Rule for Another Day
The United States Supreme Court has agreed with the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and resolved a circuit split with the Fourth and Ninth Circuits, holding that the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692, et seq....
LISA GOODHEART AND THREE COLLEAGUES JOIN FITCH
We are very pleased to report that Lisa C. Goodheart, Andrea Studley Knowles, Alesandra W. Wingerter and Srish Khakurel have joined Fitch’s preeminent team of lawyers dedicated to the mission of excellence in complex litigation. Attorneys Goodheart, Knowles, Wingerter and Khakurel previously practiced together at Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C.
The highly acclaimed Lisa C. Goodheart, a partner at Fitch, is among the best trial lawyers in the United States. Her litigation practice spans a broad range of complex environmental, energy, land use, real estate, insurance, business and government disputes. She is a Fellow of both the American College of Trial Lawyers and the American College of Environmental Lawyers and has been consistently recognized by The Best Lawyers in America, Chambers USA, Who’s Who Legal and Massachusetts Super Lawyers (listed as a Top 10 Massachusetts Super Lawyer, 2007-2023). She has also been named as one of the 2023 Lawdragon Green 500: Leaders in Environmental Law. Lisa is a past President of the Boston Bar Association and has served in a number of other leadership positions in the legal community. She is a member of the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission, and the immediate past chair of the Massachusetts Court Management Advisory Board, a statutory body to which she was appointed by the Supreme Judicial Court. She also served, for four consecutive one-year terms, as the chair of the Massachusetts Judicial Nominating Commission by appointment of Governor Deval Patrick. Lisa holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, J.D., cum laude, and Williams College, B.A., cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa.
Andrea Studley Knowles, a partner of the firm, focuses her practice on business disputes, product liability defense and employment matters. She is listed by The Best Lawyers in America in the area of Product Liability Litigation – Defendants and is regularly recognized as a Massachusetts Super Lawyer. Andrea counsels and represents businesses and business owners in matters involving contract disputes and alleged violations of consumer protection statutes, including consumer class actions. She defends manufacturers and retailers in litigation involving the design and manufacture of consumer goods, including power tools, electrical equipment, lawn-and-garden equipment and automotive components. In her employment practice, Andrea serves both as adviser and advocate. She provides training and counsels business clients on developing robust workplace policies and practices to minimize risk of litigation. When litigation arises, she defends clients, in court and before administrative boards, against allegations of discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, and other related wrongs. Andrea is a graduate of New York University School of Law, J.D., and Boston College, B.A., magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa.
Alesandra W. Wingerter, an associate lawyer at Fitch, litigates environmental, land use, real estate, and administrative disputes. Her experience on behalf of public and private clients encompasses the areas of zoning, permitting and land use litigation, including litigation under the state hazardous-waste laws (Chapter 21E and the Massachusetts Contingency Plan), local environmental laws, and other environmental statutes and regulations. Alle served as a law clerk for the Honorable Paul A. Suttell, Chief Justice of the Rhode Island State Supreme Court and the Honorable Gordon H. Piper, Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Land Court. She holds degrees from Vermont Law School, J.D., cum laude, Yale School of the Environment, M.E.M., and St. Lawrence University, B.A., cum laude.
Srish Khakurel, an associate lawyer at Fitch has gained experience in a variety of business disputes and real estate litigation matters. He has worked as a Fellow at Lawyers for Civil Rights and as an associate in the Boston office of a global law firm handling a range of litigation and enforcement matters. Srish was also a Judicial Intern for the Honorable George O’Toole, Jr., in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. He is a graduate of Boston College Law School, J.D., magna cum laude, Order of the Coif, where he was a senior editor of the Boston College Law Review. Srish completed undergraduate studies at Trinity College, B.A., with honors in International Studies, Phi Beta Kappa and was named the President’s Fellow of International Studies. He is fluent in Nepali and proficient in Hindi.
Steven E. Gurdin and Carlos A. Maycotte will be Conference Co-Chairs at the 26th Annual MCLE Family Law Conference on May 19, 2023. During the conference Mr. Gurdin will moderate a discussion about cryptocurrency forensics and Mr. Maycotte will moderate a discussion regarding the interplay between child support and alimony as a result of the recent SJC opinion Cavanagh v. Cavanagh.
On May 9, 2023, Mr. Gurdin moderated the MCLE Family Court Judicial Forum. This marked Mr. Gurdin’s 20th consecutive year as the moderator. Judges from the Middlesex, Norfolk and Essex Counties Probate and Family Courts sat on the panel and delivered their opinions and legal analysis on hypothetical fact patterns prepared by Mr. Gurdin and his colleagues at FITCH.
FITCH is a proud Corporate sponsor of the 25th Annual Nancy King Memorial Golf Tournament to support the MetroWest Legal Services offices which is committed to protecting rights and improving lives by offering pro bono legal services to persons in need.
Fitch Law Partners LLP is pleased to announce the two winners of the 2022-2023 Fitch Law Partners Scholarships. The Fitch Law Partners Scholarships are awarded annually and are based upon an applicant’s essay and academic achievements.
Future Law Student
Haleigh Hoskins: Haleigh Hoskins is native of Peoria, Illinois. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Spelman College and a Master of Arts from Northwestern University. This fall, Haleigh will be attending Washington University in St. Louis School of Law where she plans to focus on civil rights litigation. She plans to use her upbringing and past experiences as a Black, first generation student to enrich the law school experience and legal profession, for herself and others.
Current Law Student
Kevin Corkran: Kevin Corkran is a rising 3L at Boston College Law School. During his time in law school he has worked on legislation designed to eliminate the usage of cash bail, change the state income tax rate, and expand voting on college campuses. This past spring, Kevin participated in BC Law’s Parole Clinic working on decarceration in Massachusetts. After law school, Kevin hopes to practice election law in order to guarantee voting rights are enforced across the country.
All at Fitch Law Partners LLP wish Ms. Hoskins and Mr. Corkran luck as they as they pursue their legal educations.
AFCC 59th Annual Conference Chicago
Jeffrey A. Soilson will be presenting a seminar entitled Substance Use and Family Court Litigation at the annual national AFCC (Association of Family and Conciliation Courts) conference in Chicago on May 13, 2022. This year’s conference is focused on the use, misuse and abuse of technology in family law.
For more information: https://www.afccnet.org/Conferences-Training/AFCC-Conferences/ctl/ViewConference/ConferenceID/249/mid/615
Fitch Law Partners LLP is pleased to announce the two winners of the 2020-2021 Fitch Law Partners Scholarships. The Fitch Law Partners Scholarships are awarded annually and are based upon an applicant’s essay and academic achievements.
Future Law Student
Brea Childs: Brea is a graduate, cum laude, of New York University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in History, with minors in Africana Studies and Spanish. Brea will be attending Boston University School of Law in the fall. A dual citizen of the United States and United Kingdom, Brea was inspired to pursue a career as a lawyer by her Nigerian maternal grandfather, whose law experience allowed him to save the family’s London home from a program of government takings in the 1980s. Currently working for Earthjustice in Los Angeles, Brea works to combat environmental racism by improving the air quality and decreasing pollution in communities of color. Brea plans to use her law degree to address global racial injustices through international human rights law.
Current Law Student
Alexis Kallen: Alexis will be attending Yale Law School in the fall. She graduated from Stanford University in 2018, earning a Bachelor of Arts, with distinction, in Political Science with minors in Spanish and Human Rights. This July, Alexis completed an M.Phil. in Development Studies at the University of Oxford with funding from the Rhodes Scholarship, and she received academic honors in her degree program. Born with cerebral palsy, Alexis has overcome years of hardship, including intense economic struggles that led to years of housing insecurity. Despite these obstacles, Alexis excelled in school and experienced firsthand how legal rights and protections can allow people to succeed and flourish. Alexis plans to use her legal education to become an advocate for the marginalized.
All at Fitch Law Partners LLP wish Ms. Childs and Ms. Kallen luck as they embark on their legal educations.
Steven E. Gurdin will be Conference Co-Chair at the 23rd Annual MCLE Family Law Conference on May 29, 2020. During the conference, Mr. Gurdin will moderate the Family Court Judicial Forum. This marks Mr. Gurdin’s 17th consecutive year as the moderator. Judges from the Suffolk, Plymouth and Essex Counties Probate and Family Courts will sit on the panel and deliver their opinions and legal analysis on hypothetical fact patterns prepared by Mr. Gurdin and his colleagues at FITCH.
Jonathan W. Fitch Appointed Fellow of the College of Commercial Arbitrators
Jonathan W. Fitch, managing partner of Fitch Law Partners LLP has been invited to join the College of Commercial Arbitrators as a Fellow.
As described on its website, “The College of Commercial Arbitrators (CCA), established in 2001, celebrates and advocates excellence in the field of commercial arbitration– in the US and internationally. As the world’s most prestigious alternative dispute resolution professional organization, CCA both defines and promotes the highest standards of arbitrator ethics, standards of conduct, and best practices in alternative dispute resolution.
CCA is an invitation-only organization that provides meaningful contribution to the profession, the public, the legal sector and to the businesses that implement commercial arbitration as a means of dispute resolution.
The Fellows of CCA are the elite within the profession. They have the professional training, judgment and years of experience to undertake the most complex and difficult commercial arbitration assignments.”
Mr. Fitch is an arbitrator in international and domestic arbitrations involving technology, life sciences, and complex commercial matters. He says, “I am honored to be appointed a Fellow of CCA. I look forward to working with a superb group of colleagues, many of whom I know well and highly respect, in advancing CCA’s mission.”
FITCH Wins Settlement for Client in a Multi-Million Dollar International Arbitration Against Fortune 500 Company
Fitch Law Partners recently concluded a multi-million-dollar arbitration on behalf of Ya YA Foods Corp. (“Ya YA”) against Core Nutrition LLC (“Core”), a subsidiary of Fortune 500 member Keurig Dr. Pepper Inc. (“KDP”). Ya YA is a Canadian company that provides co-packing services to drinks manufacturers and had signed a long-term co-packing agreement with Core in 2016. Core was acquired by KDP in 2018, and in July 2019 informed Ya YA that it would not longer be ordering production from Ya YA under the agreement.
Ya YA engaged FITCH to pursue its rights under the agreement, which included a minimum order requirement. FITCH’s experienced team of international arbitration practitioners, including partners Jonathan Fitch, Jared Hubbard and associate Malgorzata Mrozek, immediately jumped into action, initiating an expedited international arbitration against Core under the JAMS rules, seeking more than $2.3 million in damages.
After proceeding through several months of arbitration, the parties resolved their dispute in a confidential settlement which met our client’s expectations. As managing partner Jonathan Fitch explained: “FITCH prides itself on providing sophisticated representation in complex international commercial arbitration. Our capable team delivered an excellent outcome to our Canadian client after just a few months of carefully focused activities.”
Hasbro, Inc. Settles Misappropriation Case with Client of FITCH
Boston, MA., March 27, 2020. In advance of a federal jury trial scheduled for April, Marisa Pawelko, an inventor in arts and crafts products, and Hasbro, Inc. have reached a settlement of Pawelko’s case for misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of a confidentiality agreement relating to Pawelko’s “Liquid Mosaic” invention, Marisa Pawelko, D/B/A The Modern Surrealist v. Hasbro, Inc. C.A. No. 16-201-M (District of Rhode Island). The terms of the settlement are confidential.
Pawelko was represented in the lawsuit by a team of lawyers from Fitch Law Partners LLP.
On winning the settlement, Pawelko says, “Jonathan W. Fitch, Nathalie K. Salomon, Ryan M. Cunningham and Terrance D. Lanier successfully represented me in the misappropriation of trade secret and breach of contract lawsuit that I brought against Hasbro. The issues of the case were very nuanced and complex. The FITCH team had the focus and intelligence to understand and remember everything from top to bottom. Throughout the entire process they were always well prepared, professional, sensitive to my concerns, and had all the right answers. Seeing that I was in such good hands, I trusted their strategic advice every step of the way, and I could not have been happier with my team. In addition to being a total class act in their work, they were an absolute pleasure to collaborate with. The process of working with them was so enjoyable, that once the case was settled, I actually felt sad that our work together had come to an end.”
Mrózek Wins Relief for Client in Housing Court
Malgorzata Mrózek recently achieved a successful result for a pro bono client in the Eastern Division of the Housing Court. For years the client’s apartment building and unit, owned and maintained by a housing authority, have been in violation of the state sanitary code. Ms. Mrózek, with assistance from the Volunteer Lawyers Project, filed a complaint against the housing authority and moved for a temporary restraining order compelling the housing authority to make repairs in the apartment unit and building. After mediation with a Housing Court Specialist, the housing authority entered into an agreement to make all the repairs sought in the motion for temporary restraining order. The mediated agreement included a timeline that was agreeable to client, allowing her to be present in her apartment when the repairs are made. A status conference is scheduled in May to ensure the housing authority is complying with the agreement.
Jonathan W. Fitch Recognized as a Leading Technology Arbitrator
The Silicon Valley Arbitration & Mediation Center has named Jonathan W. Fitch to its 2020 SVAMC Tech List of the World’s Leading Technology Arbitrators. SVAMC reports that the 51 neutrals appointed to the peer-vetted list are exceptionally qualified arbitrators and mediators also known for their skill in crafting business-practical solutions in the global technology sector. Mr. Fitch says, “I am honored to be appointed again to the SVAMC’s Tech List and to join an outstanding group of colleagues serving SVAMC’s mission.” As a leading arbitrator in technology disputes, Mr. Fitch is appointed to the AAA-ICDR®’s Life Sciences panel of arbitrators, and he has served as arbitrator for pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device arbitrations. He is also a member of the steering committee of the Boston Chapter of Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (“CIArb”), the world’s leading professional body for dispute avoidance and dispute management.
FITCH Helps Organize Inaugural Boston International Arbitration Day
FITCH Law Partners helped to organize and coordinate the inaugural Boston International Arbitration Day, which was hosted by Ropes & Gray LLP on Friday, February 28, 2020 with more than 100 attendees. FITCH partner Jared Hubbard serves as the President, and Jonathan Fitch is a Founding Director of the Boston International Arbitration Council (“BIAC”), which organized the event. Mr. Hubbard says, “The Inaugural Boston International Arbitration Day was a tremendous success and goes to show the strong international arbitration community and practice here in Boston. We look forward to building on this success as we continue to promote Boston as a leading hub for international arbitration.”
The event featured an introduction from Professor William W. Park, one of the world’s leading arbitrators, and a keynote address on how best to control your arbitration from Professor Christopher Gibson of Suffolk University, who also serves as a distinguished international arbitrator, particularly for intellectual property disputes. It included a panel discussion of “Why Boston?” explaining all of the benefits of Boston as a preferred seat for international arbitration, including speakers from the Massachusetts Office of International Trade and Investment, the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, as well as local and national practitioners and experts. A second panel focused on the in-house experience, with speakers from some of the most prominent Boston companies—General Electric, Raytheon, Iron Mountain, and Takeda Pharmaceuticals—discussing their own practice and experience with international arbitration.
Looking to the future, Mr. Hubbard explains, “Following on its success, BIAC will be making this an annual event, paired with the already excellent and well-established Harvard International Arbitration Conference the following day, for a truly phenomenal opportunity to hear from many of the most prominent practitioners and arbitrators in the field.”
Andrea Peraner-Sweet Co-Authors Article Published in the Winter Edition of the Boston Bar Journal
Ms. Peraner-Sweet and her co-author discuss the First Circuit’s ruling in Capron v. Attorney General of Massachusetts that Massachusetts wage and hour laws apply to au pairs and are not preempted by federal law. To continue reading please click on the below link. Massachusetts Wage and Hour Laws Apply to Au Pairs.
Steven E. Gurdin will be Conference Co-chair and Carlos A. Maycotte will be a panelist at the Divorce Law: MCLE BasicsPlus
Divorce Law: MCLE BasicsPlus will be held on February 27 and 28, 2020 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the MCLE Conference Center, Ten Winter Place, Boston. This is a comprehensive two-day course that provides the family law practitioner with the fundamental skills and approaches necessary to effectively represent clients in divorce. Through a variety of lectures, demonstrations, and ‘hands-on’ workshops, conference attendees gain the tools to become a proficient divorce law practitioner.
Steven E. Gurdin and Kelly A. Schwartz Author Article Published in the Boston Bar Journal
After Goodridge: the Potential of Equal Protection Challenges Under the Massachusetts Constitution Involving Non-Economic, Personal Interests by Steven E. Gurdin and Kelly A. Schwartz was recently published in the Boston Bar Journal.
Mr. Gurdin and Ms. Schwartz analyze how, pursuant to an enhanced rational basis standard of review, the Commonwealth’s statutes related to grandparent visitation and custody of children born out of wedlock potentially violate the right to equal protection under the Massachusetts Constitution.
Steven E. Gurdin as a guest lecturer at New England Law – Boston
Steven E. Gurdin was a guest lecturer at New England Law – Boston in the Family Law Course. Mr. Gurdin spoke on various constitutional law issues involving grandparent visitation rights, unwed father’s rights and constitutional limits on family definitions.
Steven E. Gurdin chairs MCLE’s 50th Anniversary Series program on Family Law
Steven E. Gurdin chairs MCLE’s “Major Developments and Traps for the Unwary” Family Law Program as part of MCLE’s 50th Anniversary celebration. Mr. Gurdin discussed how the Probate and Family Court has evolved and changed in recent years and significant changes in the law relating to children, alimony and property division.
“Supervised Parenting Time: When, How and Why Appropriate?”
Jeffrey A. Soilson was a panelist at the BBA’s program, “Supervised Parenting Time: When, How and Why Appropriate?” where he, along with two Probate and Family Court judges and a parenting supervisor expert, examined difficult issues surrounding supervised parenting and offered insights, strategies and practical advice for practitioners representing parents involved in supervised parenting situations.
Steven E. Gurdin as a panelist at the 29th Annual Massachusetts Bar Association Family Law Conference at Chatham Bars Inn
Steven E. Gurdin was a panelist at the 29th Annual Massachusetts Bar Association Family Law Conference. Mr. Gurdin spoke on various trial practice techniques and evidentiary issues. He also conducted a trial witness examination of the Wife and a professional trustee in a mock trial setting with two Associate Justices of the Probate and Family Court presiding over the trial.
Steven E. Gurdin as a guest lecturer at New England Law – Boston
Steven E. Gurdin was a guest lecturer at New England Law – Boston in the Law Practice Management Course. Mr. Gurdin spoke on various aspects of law practice management including ethical considerations, law firm finances and professional development.
Steven E. Gurdin, a panelist at annual MCLE program “Trying a Divorce Case”
Steven E. Gurdin was a panelist at the annual MCLE program “Trying a Divorce Case”. Mr. Gurdin spoke on business valuation issues at trial and participated in a mock trial where he cross examined a business valuation expert. Mr. Gurdin also presented on the use of Supplemental Probate Court Rule 401 Financial statements at trial.
Jeffrey A. Soilson moderates consultation group: “Dealing with Difficult Clients: Whose side are you on anyways?”
Jeffrey A. Soilson, President of the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (“AAML”) moderated a consultation group called “Dealing with Difficult Clients: Whose side are you on anyways?” at the 2019 Conference on Advanced Issues in Child Custody: Evaluation, Litigation and Settlement in San Diego, California. The conference is a bi-annual advanced-level training opportunity sponsored by two premier family law organizations, the AAML (comprised of dedicated and professional family lawyers recognized and respected by the bench and bar as leaders in the field) and the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (“AFCC”) (an international and interdisciplinary group of family law and mental health professionals working to improve the lives of children and families through the resolution of family conflict).
Terrance D. Lanier named as a Fellow of the Massachusetts Bar Association 2019 – 2020 Leadership Academy
Associate Terrance D. Lanier has been named as a Fellow of the Massachusetts Bar Association 2019 – 2020 Leadership Academy Terrance joins a group of 22 attorneys statewide who will spend the next year working alongside bar leaders; developing and enhancing leadership skills; and getting an insider’s look at the important role the MBA plays within our legal system.
FITCH Elects Jared Hubbard as Partner
FITCH Law Partners is pleased to announce the election of Jared Hubbard to its partnership, effective September 1, 2019.
“We are extremely proud to welcome Jared into our partnership this year,” said Managing Partner Jonathan Fitch. “His election is recognition of his vital role in the future of our law firm. As the president of the Boston International Arbitration Council, he has demonstrated to a large, sophisticated community of interested persons—academics, lawyers, consultants, and corporate users—authoritative knowledge and skill advancing Boston as a center of international arbitration. Jared’s sky-high personal and professional attributes contribute immensely to FITCH’s mission of practicing excellence in complex litigation.”
Mr. Hubbard represents clients in complex litigation matters, with a particular focus on helping clients navigate international disputes. Mr. Hubbard also has extensive appellate experience, and frequently represents parties and amicus curiae before the United States Courts of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Hubbard joined FITCH after spending seven years in Washington, DC, with the firms of Williams & Connolly LLP and White & Case LLP, and serving as an appellate law clerk to the Honorable Edith Brown Clement on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Before entering law school, Mr. Hubbard served as a research assistant to Nobel Prize winner Richard Smalley and is a co-author on four published scientific papers.
Mr. Hubbard is the current President of the Boston International Arbitration Council, and a leader among the bar on issues of complex and international disputes. Named by the National Law Journal as a 2017 ADR Champion, Mr. Hubbard also regularly receives awards for his strong legal writing, including the Thompson & Knight International Note Award, the W.A. Wilson Prize, and the International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution’s (CPR) 2017 Y-ADR Writing Award. He is regularly called upon to speak on issues of complex litigation and international disputes.
Andrea Peraner-Sweet Named to BBJ Board of Editors
Partner Andrea Peraner-Sweet has been named to a three-year position on the BBJ Board of Editors, which is responsible for publishing the BBJ’s flagship publication, the Boston Bar Journal.
Best Lawyers in America® 2020 Recognizes 10 FITCH Lawyers
Fitch Law Partners is pleased to announce that Best Lawyers in America® have recognized 10 of its lawyers for the high caliber of their work in its 2020 edition. Those listed as Best Lawyers include Peter E. Ball, Jonathan W. Fitch, Steven E. Gurdin, Kurt S. Kusiak, Carlos Maycotte, Andrea Peraner-Sweet, James B. Re, Stephen C. Reilly, Kelly A. Schwartz, and Jeffrey A. Soilson.
Attorneys Soilson and Schwartz Attend Hearings at the Massachusetts State House on Probate and Family Law Matters
Attorneys Jeff Soilson and Kelly A. Schwartz of Fitch Law Partners LLP attended hearings at the Massachusetts State House on July 23, 2019 before the Joint Committee on the Judiciary concerning almost 60 bills related to probate and family law being considered by the committee as future legislation.
Jeff Soilson, as president of the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (“AAML”), attended in support of the endorsement by the Massachusetts Chapter of the AAML of three specific bills.
The first is H.3701 (An Act relative to the collateral consequences of alimony), which is intended to replace the 30% to 35% range of presumptively reasonable alimony under the alimony reform statute with a range of 23% to 28% to take into account the loss of the alimony deduction under recent changes in the federal tax laws.
The second is H.3324 (An Act to adopt the Uniform Family Law Arbitration Act), which is intended to codify the function of arbitration in the context of Family Law disputes.
The third is S.886 (An Act relative to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act), which seeks to place Massachusetts in a position similar to all of the other states in the nation with respect to child custody jurisdiction.
Here is a link to all of the bills under consideration. Many of these bills could have a tremendous impact on our practice and on the lives of our clients. The family law attorneys at Fitch Law Partners will continue to monitor developing legislation.
2019-2020 Scholarship Announcement
Fitch Law Partners is pleased to announce the two winners of the 2019-2020 Fitch Law Partners Scholarship. The Fitch Law Partners Scholarships are awarded annually, and are based upon an applicant’s essay and academic achievement.
Future Law Student
Liliana Anderson: Liliana is a student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and will be entering Marquette University Law School in the fall. In her essay, Liliana described the challenges of being raised as one of five children by a teen mother who moved her young family from Milwaukee to New York City to pursue her law degree. Liliana also developed a passion for the law when participating in Red Hook Youth Court as a high schooler. But when Liliana married and became pregnant in high school she feared her dream of becoming an attorney would go unrealized. While raising her four children, Liliana pursued her education, first at Milwaukee Area Technical College and then UW-Milwaukee. In addition to being a student and mother, Liliana, along with her husband, started a process serving company to ensure the people in her community are given due process and treated fairly. Liliana plans to use her law degree to be an advocate for the disenfranchised in her community and ensure all are afforded their civil rights.
Current Law Student (incoming 1L)
Andrew Henderson: Andrew will be attending the University of Southern California Gould School of Law in the Fall of 2019. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of Kentucky with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. Andrew’s interest in engineering was sparked by his father, who built houses and built every house Andrew has ever lived in. While Andrew was at UK, his father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. To defray the costs of university attendance, Andrew worked at a job on campus while taking an elevated case load and slept on his friend’s couch to save on housing. On weekends Andrew would travel to take care of his dad. Currently an engineer at Toyota, Andrew plans on becoming an intellectual property attorney in order to apply his engineering knowledge to help safeguard inventor’s rights and promote innovation.
All at Fitch Law Partners wish Ms. Anderson and Mr. Henderson luck as they as they embark on their legal educations.
Jeffrey A. Soilson Appointed President AAML, MA Chapter
Fitch Law Partners LLP is proud to announce that Jeffrey A. Soilson has been appointed President of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) – Massachusetts Chapter. Mr. Soilson is a Fellow of the AAML and previously held treasurer and president-elect positions within the organization.
Mr. Soilson will continue to serve on the AAML/AFCC Joint Committee, which is responsible for creating and producing the joint national conference with the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) on custody and child-related issues, and the AAML Webinar Committee, which is responsible for producing continuing education programs on a wide range of divorce and family law topics, including divorce taxation, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, dividing pensions and business valuations.
The AAML was founded in 1962 by highly regarded divorce and family law attorneys “To provide leadership that promotes the highest degree of professionalism and excellence in the practice of family law.” There are currently more than 1,650 Fellows in 50 states, who are recognized by judges and attorneys as preeminent family law practitioners with a high level of knowledge, skill and integrity.
Tech List Members Present on Arbitrating Life Science Disputes
On May 1st, Tech List Members Angela (‘Anji’) Foster and Jonathan Fitch were panelists at an AAA-ICDR program hosted by Reed Smith in Philadelphia: “AAA-ICDR Arbitrating Domestic and International Life Science Disputes (including Pharmaceutical, Medical Device and Biotechnology).”
Anji Foster spoke on a range of topics including the suitability of arbitration for use in life science disputes, for example, with respect to license agreements and such issues as whether a drug, molecule or medical device does or does not fall within the purview of the agreement. She cited the main advantages of arbitrating life science disputes: the ability to select arbitrators with special expertise; the flexibility of the procedure; limitations on discovery; and, the confidentiality of intellectual property. Anji discussed the challenges of scheduling the phases of life science arbitrations and management of the time limitations with the parties and their counsel. Anji also said she has also observed problems in the presentation of expert testimony in life science arbitrations and that counsel need to be skilled in presenting the complexity of technologies to arbitral panels.
Jonathan Fitch addressed considerations for picking counsel, arbitrators and experts in technology-intensive life science disputes. Where the arbitrators’ industry expertise may be a factor, Jonathan suggested that parties consider using arbitrator interviews – either by parties or their counsel – within the parameters established by Canon III of The Code of Ethics for Arbitrators in Commercial Disputes. He also discussed alternatives for the presentation of expert testimony in international arbitrations of life science cases. The Parties’ direct examinations of experts in the form of lengthy, detailed and highly technical expert witness statements create a risk that the arbitration will begin without the arbitrators fully understanding the technologies at issue. Possible remedial approaches include beginning the arbitration with a joint presentation by the parties’ experts on the industry technologies and science involved in the case. As an alternative to an upfront “technology and science day”, the parties may agree that the testimony of respondent’s expert will directly follow the testimony of claimant’s expert for each expert issue, thereby enabling different options for expert conferencing, including the possibility that the arbitrators may address questions simultaneously to each expert and that the experts may question each other. At the event, the arbitrators, institutional representatives and in-house counsel present fully aired and addressed both the benefits and risks for different models of expert witness testimony.
The 22nd MCLE Annual Family Conference
Steven E. Gurdin will be Conference Co-chair, and Jeffrey A. Soilson will be on the Alimony Update panel, at the 22nd MCLE Annual Family Law Conference on May 3, 2019 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the MCLE Conference Center, Ten Winter Place, Boston.
For online registration: https://www.mcle.org/product/catalog/code/2190286P01
This year’s Family Law Conference offers workshops on parenting time resistance problems, dividing premarital and inherited assets, cryptocurrency in divorce, an alimony, case and legislative update, and an in-depth judicial forum. There will also be update on the state of the Probate and Family Court from Chief Justice Casey.
We look forward to seeing you there.
Steven E. Gurdin will be Conference Co-chair at the Divorce Law: MCLE BasicsPlus on April 24 and 25, 2019 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the MCLE Conference Center, Ten Winter Place, Boston. Carlos A. Maycotte will be a panelist at the program.
For online registration: https://www.mcle.org/product/catalog/code/2190155P01
Divorce Law: MCLE BasicsPlus is a comprehensive two-day course that provides the family law practitioner with the fundamental skills and approaches necessary to effectively represent clients in divorce. Through a variety of lectures, demonstrations, and ‘hands-on’ workshops, conference attendees gain the tools to become a proficient divorce law practitioner.
Applicants are required to have a current cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher. The application includes a 500 word essay on one of several topics regarding his/her aspirations as a lawyer. For more information.
The winners of the 2018-2019 competition were Tristen Sharp, a freshmen at Illinois State University and Tiffany Light, a first year student at Saint Louis University Law School.
The case of our client Marisa Pawelko, an artist and inventor, against Hasbro, Inc. is headed for trial in the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island. Ms. Pawelko is the inventor of “Liquid Mosaic”, an arts and crafts product concept that was shown to Hasbro and offered for acquisition under a confidentiality agreement. Pawelko claims that Hasbro misappropriated her trade secrets regarding Liquid Mosaic and breached the confidentiality agreement in developing the DohVinci arts and crafts products. In denying Hasbro’s motion for summary judgment on those claims, Judge John J. McConnell, Jr. stated, “While summary judgment is a valid mechanism for parties to use to dismiss legally deficient claims, it cannot substitute for a party’s right to have their legitimate disputes resolved by a jury.” Pawelko’s trial team includes Jonathan Fitch, Ryan Cunningham, Nathalie Salomon and Terrance Lanier.
U.S. News and Best Lawyers® recognized FITCH as a 2019 Best Law Firm®. The firm was honored to best listed as Tier 1-Boston in Commercial Litigation, Family Law and Litigation – Trusts and Estates.
Eight FITCH lawyers were recognized as 2019 Best Lawyers in America®. The lawyers receiving the honor of this recognition include:
Peter Ball (Bet-the-Company Litigation and Commercial Litigation)
Jonathan Fitch (Arbitration, Commercial Litigation and Litigation -Trusts and Estates)
Steven Gurdin (Family Law and Litigation – Trusts and Estates)
Kurt Kusiak (Litigation – Trusts and Estates)
Andrea Peraner-Sweet (Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants)
James Re (Commercial Litigation)
Stephen Reilly (Commercial Litigation)
Jeffrey Soilson (Family Law and Litigation – Trusts and Estates)
In a case argued by Andrea Peraner-Sweet, the Appeals Court affirmed the Juvenile Court’s ruling granting sole legal and physical custody of our client’s daughter to him.
Associate Lacey L. Brantley attended the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers program for associate lawyers in Chicago.
Our partners, Heather V. Baer and Andrea Peraner-Sweet participated in the Boston Bar Association’s Law Day in the Schools. This year’s theme was, “Liberty Under Law: Empowering Youth, Assuring Democracy.” Heather and Andrea taught a second grade class at the Josiah Quincy Elementary School in Boston, where they engaged in a lively discussion with the students about how young people can affect change.
Tristen Sharp was awarded the Fitch Future Law Student Scholarship of $1,000 for the 2018-2019 academic year. Ms. Sharp, a freshman at Illinois State University, has overcome traumatic brain injuries to excel inside and outside of the classroom. Her experience has motivated her to pursue a career in law after her undergraduate studies. Ms. Sharp’s perseverance and sense of focus during her physical recovery impressed the Scholarship Committee. While still a teenager, Ms. Sharp has already demonstrated the type of grit and hard work necessary for a successful career as a lawyer.
Tiffany Light was awarded the Fitch Law Student Scholarship of $1,500 for the 2018-2019 academic year. Ms. Light is on her way to Saint Louis University Law School in the Fall of 2018. A first generation college student, Ms. Light balanced full-time work along with her undergraduate studies. Her professional experience includes clerking in her hometown court house, working as a legal assistant at a law firm, and completing an internship with a local legal services organization. We wish Ms. Light a successful 1L year as she embarks on her legal education.
Jared L. Hubbard was a panelist at a Boston Bar Association program on Third-Party Funding in International Arbitration. The event was co-sponsored by the International Centre for Dispute Resolution Young & International.
Jeffrey A. Soilson presented an American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers webinar entitled, “Across the Borderline – Prenups and the Migratory Couple.”
Steve Reilly and Ryan Cunningham won a Rule 12(b)(6) motion for dismissal of wrongful foreclosure claims brought against our client, a large national bank.
Steven E. Gurdin co-chaired the 21st Annual MCLE Family Law conference. During the conference, Mr. Gurdin moderated the Family Court Judicial Forum. This marked Mr. Gurdin’s 15th consecutive year as the moderator. Judges from the Middlesex, Norfolk and Essex Counties Probate and Family Courts sat on the panel and delivered their opinions and legal analysis on hypothetical fact patterns prepared by Mr. Gurdin and his colleagues at FITCH.
Steven E. Gurdin has been named to the Brookline Community Foundation Professional Advisors Committee.
Steven E. Gurdin co-chaired the 2-day MCLE Divorce Law Basics program. The program is a comprehensive course that provides family law practitioners with the fundamental skills and approaches necessary to effectively represent clients in divorce. Mr. Gurdin has chaired the program for the past fourteen years.
Steve Reilly and Ryan Cunningham win the Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal of “wrongful foreclosure” claims brought against our client, a large national bank.
Andrea Peraner-Sweet has been appointed as a Hearing Officer of the Board of Bar Overseers for a three year term. The Board of Bar Overseers is an independent administrative body established by the Supreme Judicial Court to investigate and evaluate complaints against attorneys. This is Andrea’s second time being appointed as a Hearing Officer.
Jonathan W. Fitch moderated a panel discussion titled “Insider Views on International Dispute Resolution” at the Boston Bar Association. The program featured Secretary General Alexander Fessas of the ICC International Court of Arbitration; Mark T. Beaudouin, General Counsel and Secretary of Waters Corporation; Andrea DiFabio, Chief Legal Officer of Bioverativ Inc.; Roland Schroeder, Global Executive Counsel – Corporate Litigation and Legal Policy for General Electric Company; and Philip D. O’Neill, Jr., Arbitrator and Professor at Boston College Law School and Boston University Law School.
Jonathan W. Fitch was moderator of a panel discussion, “The Golden Age of International Arbitration,” at the Boston Bar Association.
Lacey L. Brantley joined FITCH as an Associate. Lacey graduated from Boston University School of Law, magna cum laude, in 2016. She completed a clerkship with the Probate and Family Court Department of the Trial Court of Massachusetts prior to joining the firm.
In a case argued by Steve Reilly, the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel of the First Circuit issued an opinion affirming the dismissal of claims brought in an adversary proceeding against Fitch Law Partners’ client, a large national bank.
In a case involving convoluted allegations of defamation and unfair credit reporting, a Norfolk Superior Court judge granted a motion dismissing claims against our clients, a local community bank and certain of its employees.
Steven E. Gurdin was a guest speaker at the Senior Partners for Justice monthly luncheon. Steve spoke about “CORI” – Criminal Offender Record Information and “CARI” – Court Activity Record Information in the context of family law cases in the Massachusetts Probate and Family Courts. Senior Partners for Justice was established in 2002 when the Honorable Edward M. Ginsburg, a retired Associate Justice of the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court established this innovative new pro bono program. Senior Partners for Justice asks lawyers from all legal backgrounds to use their talents to serve those who would otherwise go unrepresented in court.
Jeffrey A. Soilson was a panelist at MCLE’s Child Support Update 2017. Mr. Soilson spoke on the topic of the new child support guidelines and special issues that arise in child support cases.
Jeffrey A. Soilson was elected President-Elect of the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Attorneys (AAML), a national organization that promotes the highest degree of professionalism and excellence in the practice of family law.
Steven E. Gurdin co-chaired the 20th Annual MCLE Family Law conference. During the conference, Mr. Gurdin moderated the Family Court Judicial Forum. This marked Mr. Gurdin’s 14th consecutive year as the moderator. Judges from the Middlesex, Norfolk and Plymouth Counties Probate and Family Courts sat on the panel and delivered their opinions and legal analysis on hypothetical fact patterns prepared by Mr. Gurdin and his colleagues at FITCH.
Steven E. Gurdin and Jeffrey A. Soilson attended the 54th Annual Conference of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (“AFCC”). This 4-day conference is intended to carry out the mission of the AFCC which is an interdisciplinary and international association of professionals dedicated to improving the lives of children and families through the resolution of family conflict.
Jonathan W. Fitch was moderator of a panel discussion, “ESI Discovery in Arbitration,” at the Annual Dispute Resolution Symposium of the Massachusetts Bar Association.
Steven E. Gurdin co-chaired the 2- day MCLE Divorce Law Basics program. The program is a comprehensive course that provides family law practitioners with the fundamental skills and approaches necessary to effectively represent clients in divorce. Mr. Gurdin has chaired the program for the past thirteen years.
Jonathan W. Fitch was moderator of a panel discussion, “Spotlight on Evidence in Arbitration,” sponsored by the Dispute Resolution Section of the Massachusetts Bar Association.
Fitch Law Partners announces that the recipients of the annual Fitch Law Partners Scholarship have been selected for the 2017-2018 academic year. Read the Press Release here.
Steven E. Gurdin was a guest speaker at “Jane Does Well” – a divorce support group serving Wellesley, Needham, Newton and the greater Boston area. Steve spoke on various topics including recent developments in Massachusetts law on issues relating to alimony and gifted/inherited property.
Andrea Peraner-Sweet published The New Transgender Anti-Discrimination Law and Guidance Issued by the Attorney General’s Office and the MCAD in the Boston Bar Journal.
An article by Jonathan W. Fitch, Arbitration: Spotlight on the Preliminary Hearing was published in the MBA Lawyers Journal.
Jonathan W. Fitch was elected as a Fellow of The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, the leading scholarly organization for international arbitrators based in London.
The Appeals Court affirmed summary judgment on behalf of our client, a community-based hospital, affirming that the hospital had not engaged in racial, religious or national origin discrimination or retaliation when it terminated its employee for poor performance. Partner Andrea Peraner-Sweet argued the case.
Andrea Peraner-Sweet was elected Chair of the Board of Selectmen for the Town of Westford.
Jonathan W. Fitch was a panelist at a program at Harvard Law School on recent developments in international arbitration. The program was sponsored by the Harvard International Arbitration Law Students Association and by ICDR Young & International.
Michele E. Connolly joins Fitch Law Partners LLP as an Associate.
Jonathan W. Fitch was a panelist at MCLE’s 8th Annual New England ADR and the Law 2016. Mr. Fitch spoke on the topic of “Basic Planning for International Arbitration and Emerging Practices.”
Jonathan W. Fitch was a guest lecturer at Suffolk Law School for a new course, “Positive Psychology For Lawyers,” taught by Professor Lisle Baker.
Steven E. Gurdin was a guest lecturer at New England Law Boston in the Law Practice Management Course. Mr. Gurdin lectured on various aspects of law firm management.
Winners of Fitch Law Partners LLP 2016-2017 scholarships have been announced. Read the Press Release here.
Peter Ball was reappointed to his second three-year term as a member of the Board of Editors of the Boston Bar Journal, which is published quarterly by the Boston Bar Association.
Nathalie K. Salomon joins Fitch Law Partners LLP as an Associate.
In a U.S. District Court case involving allegations of breach of a mortgage contract, Steve Reilly and Ryan Cunningham prevail on a motion to dismiss all claims against the firm’s client, a leading national bank.
Jonathan W. Fitch was appointed to the Zoning Board of Appeals for the Town of Sherborn.
Andrea Peraner-Sweet was elected to her third term as a member of the Town of Westford’s Board of Selectmen.
Andrea Peraner-Sweet was a panelist on the 6th Annual Trials Facing Female Litigators hosted by the Women’s Caucus of the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys and the Women’s Bar Association.
Steven E. Gurdin served as a faculty member at the Annual MCLE Family Law Trial Advocacy Workshop. This program is a challenging five-day course where participates have an opportunity to “get on their feet” under the rigorous scrutiny of judges and leading practitioners.
The firm proudly supported the MetroWest Legal Services by participating in the annual Nancy King Memorial Golf Tournament at the Framingham Country Club. MetroWest Legal Services provides free civil legal aid to low-income people who would be denied justice without their help.
The Firm proudly supported the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation by participating in the New England Patriots Fantasy Sports Camp. Partner Steven E. Gurdin put on the pads and scored some big hits!
Jeffrey A Soilson is co-editor of the MCLE New England publication “Financial Aspects of Divorce in Massachusetts” published on May 10, 2016.
Steve Reilly wins a defense verdict for our client, a large national bank, thus defeating the plaintiff bank customer’s claim that the bank had wrongfully paid certain checks drawn on the customer’s business checking account.
Jennifer E. Greaney’s Case Comment entitled ” Abate v. Fremont Investment & Loan: Defining ‘Adverse Claim’ in Try Title Actions ” was published in the April 2016 edition of the Massachusetts Law Review.
Partner Steven E. Gurdin co-chaired the 2- day MCLE Divorce Law Basics program. The program is a comprehensive course that provides family law practitioners with the fundamental skills and approaches necessary to effectively represent clients in divorce. Mr. Gurdin has chaired the program for the past twelve years.
Steven Gurdin served as a panelist on the Massachusetts Bar Association CLE program titled – Off the Record: Deposition Preparation, Objectives and Techniques in Practice.
Managing Partner Jonathan W. Fitch was moderator of a panel discussion titled, ” Best Practices in Arbitration: The Role of the Arbitrator, ” sponsored by the Dispute Resolution Committee of the Massachusetts Bar Association.
Partner Patrick T. Clendenen has been selected by the Nominating Committee of the Business Law Section of the American Bar Association to be its next Secretary, effective in September 2016. This is the first step of a four-year leadership succession plan under which Clendenen is expected to become Section Chair in 2020.
Partner Jeffrey Soilson was a discussion leader in Family Law at MCLE’s Practicing with Professionalism Seminar: a day-long seminar that every newly admitted lawyer in Massachusetts must attend after being admitted to the bar.
Partner Jeffrey Soilson was a guest lecturer on family law topics at New England School of Law.
In a U.S. District Court case involving complex allegations of predatory lending and breach of a mortgage contract, Steve Reilly and Ryan Cunningham prevail on a motion to dismiss all claims against firm’s client, a leading national bank.
Steven Gurdin successfully obtained a sizable contempt judgment for non-payment of child support on behalf of a single father against the non-custodial mother. With the assistance of the Essex County Sheriff’s department the mother was apprehended after failing to appear at the scheduled contempt trial. Two Deputy Sheriff’s were able to locate the mother and immediately brought her before the Essex County Probate and Family Court. At the conclusion of the contempt trial, the Court ordered the mother to either pay the amounts owed or serve 30 days in jail. The mother remained in custody at the courthouse for the remainder of the day. An hour before being transferred to Framingham state prison, the mother (or someone on her behalf), made the required payments in order for her to be released from custody. The Court further ordered that the mother pay the father’s attorneys’ fees in prosecuting the contempt action.
Steven E. Gurdin was a Guest Lecturer at New England Law Boston in the Law Practice Management Course. Mr. Gurdin lectured on various aspects of law firm management.
On January 28, 2016, FITCH had a strong showing at the “Walk to Hill” day of advocacy at the State House on behalf of funding for civil legal aid. Over 600 attorneys and law students participated in the annual event, which highlights how crucial state funding is to legal aid programs across the Commonwealth. Civil aid programs provide free legal advice to low-income individuals and families facing legal problems such as eviction, health care emergencies, and wage theft. Speakers included the Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, Ralph Gants, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, and individuals helped by legal services. FITCH had one of the top law firm participation rates at the 2016 Walk to the Hill, with 16 lawyers (80%) of the firm participating!
Heather V. Baer published Recent Amendments to Superior Court Rules and Standing Orders, 60 Boston Bar J. 1(Winter 2016) .
As a Director of Overcoming Barriers, Jeffrey A. Soilson helped conduct a specialized program for clinicians working with post-separation problems where children resist contact with a parent.
Jonathan W. Fitch moderates a panel discussion on “International Arbitration: Hot Topics and Smart Contracts” at a meeting of the New England Legal Foundation.
The firm receives a Tier 1 ranking in the 2016 Edition of U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms.” ®
Partner Andrea Peraner-Sweet is honored as among the “Top Women of Law” by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly at dinner held at the Marriott Copley Place Hotel.
Partner Jeffrey A. Soilson is recognized as a “Top 100 Massachusetts Super Lawyer” ® in a list published in Boston Magazine.
Twelve FITCH lawyers are recognized as “Massachusetts Super Lawyers” ® an honor awarded to no more than 5 percent of the lawyers in Massachusetts.
Seven FITCH lawyers are recognized as “Massachusetts Super Lawyers – Rising Stars” ® an honor awarded to less than 2.5% of the lawyers in Massachusetts under the age of 40.
Eight FITCH partners are listed in Best Lawyers in America ® 2016.
Jonathan W. Fitch was guest panelist at Boston College Law School on mediation and ADR topics.
Jonathan W. Fitch was featured in Financier Worldwide’s 2015 Commercial Arbitration Annual Review . Mr. Fitch contributed the United States chapter to the international report.
Jeffrey A. Soilson earned the Certified Financial Litigator (CFL) designation through the American Academy of Certified Financial Litigators.
Jeffrey A. Soilson was a faculty member at the seminar entitled “Parenting Plans and Shared Custody: Recent Research and Implications for Family Law Professionals” presented at the annual conference of the Massachusetts Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts.
Steven E. Gurdin and Jeffrey Solison were accepted to the Greater Boston Family Law American Inn of Court. The Inn’s goal is to improve the practice of Family Law in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts through peer guidance, civility and growth as sophisticated practitioners.
Partner Jeffrey A. Soilson was named a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.
Partner Jeffrey A. Soilson became a Director of Overcoming Barriers, a non-profit organization created to promote children’s healthy relationships with their parents where a child is at risk of losing a relationship with a parent.
Steven E. Gurdin, Jeffrey A. Soilson, Barbara L. Drury and Carlos A. Maycotte became members of the American Academy for Certified Financial Litigators.
FITCH opens a Metrowest Office. Read the Press Release here
Partners Peter E. Ball, Jonathan W. Fitch, Steven E. Gurdin, Kurt S. Kusiak and Andrea Peraner-Sweet and were named to the list of The Best Lawyers in America, 2015.
Steven E. Gurdin has been named to the New England Advisory Board of the American Academy of Certified Financial Litigators (The “AACFL”). The AACFL is a professional membership organization dedicated to enhancing the legal profession through advanced financial training. Its mission is to provide innovative financial training programs designed to increase the financial knowledge of attorneys dealing with financial issues in litigation.
Jeffrey Soilson was a faculty member at the MCLE seminar on June 17, 2014 titled: “Married (& Divorcing) with Children – Handling support and custody issues.”
Steven E. Gurdin moderated the Spring 2014 MCLE Family Court Judicial Forum in Taunton, MA. This marks Mr. Gurdin’s 12th consecutive year as the moderator. Judges from the Probate and Family Court sat on the panel and delivered their opinions and legal analysis on hypothetical fact patterns prepared by Mr. Gurdin and his colleagues at FITCH.
Steven E. Gurdin co-chaired the 2- day MCLE Divorce Law Basics program. The program is a comprehensive course that provides family law practitioners with the fundamental skills and approaches necessary to effectively represent clients in divorce. Mr. Gurdin has chaired the program for the past ten years.
Steven E. Gurdin attended the Joint Conference of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) in Las Vegas. The conference was a multi-day program focused on complex financial matters relating to divorce including issues of business valuation, executive compensation, forensic accounting, and income tax considerations.
Jonathan W. Fitch attended the Spring Meeting of the International Law Section of the American Bar Association in New York City.
Jeffrey A. Soilson was elected to the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Chapter of the AFCC (Association of Family and Conciliation Courts), an interdisciplinary and international association of professionals dedicated to the resolution of family conflict.
Partner Jeffrey Soilson was a faculty member at the joint conference of the Massachusetts Association of Family and Conciliation Courts and Massachusetts Association of Guardians Ad Litem at Regis College, Weston, MA titled: “When the Court and Clinical Practice Collide.
Partner Andrea Peraner-Sweet was re-elected to the Board of Selectman of Westford, Massachusetts for her second term.
Jonathan W. Fitch was elected as Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, “an honorary organization of lawyers, judges, and legal scholars whose public and private careers have demonstrated outstanding dedication to the welfare of their communities and to the highest principles of the legal profession.”
Jeffrey A. Soilson chaired an MCLE seminar on High Conflict Custody Cases.
Steven E. Gurdin moderated the Spring 2013 MCLE Family Court Judicial Forum in Worcester, MA. This marks Mr. Gurdin’s 11th consecutive year as the moderator. Judges from the Probate and Family Court sat on the panel and delivered their opinions and legal analysis on hypothetical fact patterns prepared by Mr. Gurdin and his colleagues at FITCH.
Steven E. Gurdin co-chaired the 2- day MCLE Divorce Law Basics program. The program is a comprehensive course that provides family law practitioners with the fundamental skills and approaches necessary to effectively represent clients in divorce. Mr. Gurdin has chaired the program for the past nine years.
Steven E. Gurdin was sworn in at the U.S. Supreme Court as part of a two day alumni event of Albany Law School of Union University in Washington, D.C.
Jonathan W. Fitch and associates Carlos A. Maycotte attended the conference of the International Law Section of the American Bar Association in Washington, D.C. and participated in three days of seminars with attorneys from around the globe.
Peter E. Ball was a panelist at the annual MCLE Deposition Practice conference.
Finally a Treaty for the Enforcement of U.S. Court Judgments Abroad, written by Jonathan W. Fitch and summer associate Faith Hill was published in the Massachusetts Law Journal.
Steven E. Gurdin moderated the Fall 2012 MCLE Family Court Judicial Forum. This marks Mr. Gurdin’s 10th consecutive year as the moderator. Mr. Gurdin moderated panels in Boston and Taunton. Judges from the Probate and Family Court sat on the panel and delivered their opinions and legal analysis on hypothetical fact patterns prepared by Mr. Gurdin and his colleagues at the firm.
Peter E. Ball, Jonathan W. Fitch, Steven E. Gurdin, Kurt S. Kusiak, Andrea Peraner-Sweet, James B. Re, Stephen C. Reilly have been included on the Massachusetts Super Lawyers list as outstanding attorneys in Massachusetts for 2012. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers.
Peter E. Ball, Jonathan W. Fitch and Steven E. Gurdin were named to the Top 100 Massachusetts Super Lawyers list for 2012. Mr. Ball and Mr. Gurdin were also listed as among the Top 100 New England Super Lawyers.
Jonathan W. Fitch, Carlos Maycotte attended the Annual Meeting of the Section of International Law of the American Bar Association in Miami.
Jonathan W. Fitch attended an international arbitration conference in Bogota, Colombia, jointly sponsored by the International Centre for Dispute Resolution, the international division of the American Arbitration Association, and the Chamber of Commerce of Bogota.
Peter E. Ball, Andrea Peraner-Sweet, Kurt S. Kusiak, and Steven E. Gurdin have been selected by their peers to be included in the Best Lawyers In America®, 19th Edition. Selection for Best Lawyers is based on an exhaustive and rigorous peer-review survey comprising nearly 4 million confidential evaluations by the top attorneys in the country. The annual Best Lawyers publication has been described by the American lawyer as “the most respected referral list of attorneys in practice.
Jonathan W. Fitch has been appointed to the panel of arbitrators of the International Centre for Dispute Resolution®, the international division of the American Arbitration Association. The ICDR is one of the most highly respected international arbitral organizations, and it conducts arbitration proceedings throughout the world.
Jonathan W. Fitch has published a chapter titled, “The Limitations on American-Style Discovery in International Arbitration” in a new book, Strategies for International Arbitration, published by Aspatore Press, a division of West Thomson Reuters.
Andrea Peraner-Sweet has been appointed as a hearing officer of the Board of Bar Overseers for a three year term. The Board of Bar Overseers was established by the Supreme Judicial Court in 1974 as an independent administrative body to investigate and evaluate complaints against lawyers.
Steven E. Gurdin chaired the MCLE Divorce Law Basics program on April 12. The program is a comprehensive course that provides family law practitioners with the fundamental skills and approaches necessary to effectively represent clients in divorce. Mr. Gurdin has chaired the program for the past eight years.
Peter E. Ball, Jonathan W. Fitch and Andrea Peraner-Sweet were named as among Boston’s Top Rated Lawyers in a list published by the Boston Globe. The list was created by LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell, the company that has long set the standard for peer review ratings.
Jeffrey A. Soilson was a faculty member at an MCLE seminar on Divorce Law.
Jeffrey A. Soilson joins the firm as a Partner. Mr. Soilson focuses in the areas of divorce and family law and Probate, Will And Trust Litigation.
An associate has published a case comment, “Civil Law – Abolishing the Distinction Between Natural and Unnatural Accumulations of Snow and Ice when Determining Negligence of Property Owner,” in the current edition of the Massachusetts Law Review.
Partner Peter Ball has been named to the “Top 100 Massachusetts Super Lawyers 2011” list published by Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters rating service, in the November issue of Boston Magazine. This is the third time that Peter has received this professional recognition.
Managing Partner Jonathan Fitch has been named to the “Top 100 Massachusetts Super Lawyers 2011” list published by Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters rating service, in the November issue of Boston Magazine.
We are pleased that eight Fitch Law Partners LLP attorneys have been named to the 2011 “Massachusetts Super Lawyers” list published by Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters rating service, in the November issue of Boston Magazine. Those selected include Peter Ball, Jonathan Fitch, Steven Gurdin, Andrea Peraner-Sweet, James Re, Stephen Reilly. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in Massachusetts are selected by Super Lawyers. According to Super Lawyers, “The annual selections are made using a rigorous multi-phased process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates, and peer reviews by practice area.”
Steven E. Gurdin is a panelist at the MCLE Family Law Case Update 2011 Program. Mr. Gurdin lead a discussion on recent MA case law relating to alimony, child removal and college education expenses.
Partner Stephen Reilly taught a section titled “Creating a Discovery Plan” in the Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education course, Civil Discovery Practice: MCLE Basics Plus, on February 16 in Boston. The lecturers at this year’s program include other well-known litigators, a provider of e-discovery services and Superior Court Justice Peter Lauriat. Stephen has been a lecturer at MCLE on discovery topics for a number of years.
Expressing its “profound gratitude,” the Equal Justice Coalition has presented Fitch Law Partners LLP with the Nancy King Award for the third consecutive year. The award is given to the Massachusetts law firm with the highest percentage of attorneys participating in the annual Walk to the Hill for Civil Legal Aid.
Steven E. Gurdin moderated that Fall 2010 MCLE Family Court Judicial Forum. This marks Mr. Gurdin’s 8th consecutive year as the moderator. Mr. Gurdin moderated panels in Boston and Plymouth. Judges from the Probate and Family Court sat on the panel and delivered their opinions and legal analysis on hypothetical fact patterns prepared by Mr. Gurdin.
Congratulations to the eight lawyers of Fitch Law Partners LLP who have been selected as “Massachusetts Super Lawyers” for 2010 in the list published by Law & Politics in Boston Magazine. No more than 5 % of the attorneys in Massachusetts are awarded this honor. All of the lawyers selected have received this recognition in a number of prior years.
Congratulations also to the eight lawyers of Fitch Law Partners LLP who have been selected as “Rising Stars” for 2010 in the “Massachusetts Super Lawyers” list published by Law & Politics in Boston Magazine. No more than 2.5% of the attorneys in Massachusetts under the age of 40 are awarded this honor.
Steven E. Gurdin was honored by the Boston Bar Association on September 21, 2010 at the annual Leadership Appreciation reception for his service to the association as co-chair of the Family Law Section from 2008-2010.
Steven E. Gurdin chaired the MCLE Divorce Law Basics program on May 6 and 7. Mr. Gurdin has chaired this program for the past six years. This program is a comprehensive two-day course that provides family law practitioners with the fundamental skills and approaches necessary to effectively represent clients in divorce.
Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly recognizes Jonathan W. Fitch as a “Lawyer of the Year 2009” at a banquet in honor of “Leaders in the Law” at the Westin.
Kurt Kusiak appears as a panelist at the Annual Business Litigation Conference sponsored by Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education.
Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly names Jonathan W. Fitch, the firm’s managing partner as a “Lawyer of the Year 2009.” Mr. Fitch was one of ten lawyers in the Commonwealth to receive this honor.
Steven E. Gurdin was recognized as a “top volunteering individual” in the 2008-2009 Annual Report of Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (MCLE). Steven E. Gurdin was among ten volunteers recognized by MCLE as “top volunteering individuals” out of the 2,431 individuals that volunteered their time, expertise and enthusiasm as MCLE advisers, faculty, authors and editors. Annually, Mr. Gurdin moderates the Family Court Judicial Forum, co-chairs the Divorce Law Basics Program, serves on the Family Law Curriculum Advisory Committee and participates in other family law and Probate, Will And Trust Litigation programs.
Steven E. Gurdin moderates the Fall 2009 MCLE Family Court Judicial Forum. This marks Mr. Gurdin’s 7th consecutive year as the moderator. Mr. Gurdin will be moderating panels in Boston and Taunton. Judges from the Probate and Family Court sit on the panel and deliver their opinions and legal analysis on hypothetical fact patterns prepared by Mr. Gurdin.
Law & Politics honors Peter E. Ball as a “Top 100 Massachusetts Super Lawyer” in a list published in Boston Magazine.
Law & Politics award nine Fitch Law Partners LLP lawyers the “Massachusetts Super Lawyer” designation, which is limited to 5% of the lawyers in Massachusetts.
Law & Politics recognize five Fitch Law Partners LLP lawyers as a “Rising Star” in the “Massachusetts Super Lawyer” list published in Boston Magazine. The “Rising Star” award is limited to 2.5% of the lawyers in Massachusetts under the age of 40 who have been practicing for less than 10 years.
Steven E. Gurdin co-moderated a bench-bar meeting at the Boston Bar Association with five of the newly appointed Probate and Family Court Justices.
Steven E. Gurdin is a panelist at the MCLE 12th Annual Family Law Conference. Mr. Gurdin will be discussing recent developments in case law and legislation. The Family Law Conference is the largest family law program of its kind in Massachusetts.
Steven E. Gurdin will be chairing the MCLE Divorce Law Basics program. Mr. Gurdin has chaired this program for the past five years. This program is a comprehensive two-day course that provides family law practitioners with the fundamental skills and approaches necessary to effectively represent clients in divorce.
Robert Mendillo served on a panel of instructors for a deposition skills training program offered to various assistant attorneys general by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Institute.
Peter Ball is a panelist for the fourth consecutive year for the MCLEs annual program on Civil Deposition Practice.
Steven E. Gurdin moderates the Fall 2008 MCLE Family Court Judicial Forum. This marks Mr. Gurdin’s 6th consecutive year as the moderator. Mr. Gurdin will be moderating panels in Boston and Plymouth. Judges from the Probate and Family Court sit on the panel and deliver their opinions and legal analysis on hypothetical fact patterns prepared by Mr. Gurdin.
Ten lawyers of Fitch Law Partners LLP are named ‘Massachusetts Super Lawyers,’ in a survey published in Boston Magazine. The recognition is given to only 5% of the lawyers in the Commonwealth. Three lawyers of the firm are recognized as ‘Massachusetts Rising Stars,’ a group of the top 2.5% of all lawyers under the age of 40. See the Press Release for details.
Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly cites the case of Batishchev v. Coldwell Banker, won for our clients by Jonathan Fitch, as among the ‘Most Significant Opinions during January ‘ June 2008.’ See Memorandum and Order.
Steve Gurdin named Co-Chair of the Family Law Section of the Boston Bar Association.
Steve Gurdin, a highly regarded attorney who works primarily in the area of family law, joins Fitch Law Partners LLP as a Partner after practicing at Conn Kavanaugh Rosenthal Peisch & Ford, LLP for 12 years, (the past 5 years as a partner).
Steve Reilly co-authors “Preparing To Take A Deposition,” which appears as Chapter 3 of the Massachusetts Deposition Practice Manual, 2d ed., 1st Supplement (MCLE, Inc. 2008).
Alex Klibaner lectures on Employee Rights and the Prevention of Workplace Violence at Endicott College’s Annual Conference on Workplace and School Violence.
Alex Klibaner co-chairs a CLE program at the Boston Bar Association on Litigating and Winning Employment Discrimination Cases
Peter Ball chairs a Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education program entitled, “What Every In-House Counsel Should Know About Criminal Law..
Kurt Kusiak appears as a panelist at the Annual Business Litigation Conference sponsored by Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education.
Nine lawyers of Fitch Law Partners LLP, including all of the firm’s partners, are named “Massachusetts Super Lawyers” in Boston Magazine – a recognition limited to 5% of the lawyers in the Commonwealth.
Barbara Drury, Alex Klibaner, Elizabeth Koenig and Amber Villa recognized as “Rising Stars” placing them among the top 2.5% of lawyers under the age of 40 in the “Massachusetts Super Lawyers” poll appearing in Boston Magazine.
Kurt Kusiak testified before the Joint Revenue Committee of the Massachusetts House and Senate on a bill which would allow cities and towns to exempt senior citizens on limited, fixed incomes from Proposition 2 1/2 overrides.
Alex Klibaner moderated a program at the Boston Bar Association entitled Taking Advantage of Pre-Litigation Opportunities: Drafting and Responding to Demand Letters.
Kurt Kusiak to appear as a panelist at the annual Business Litigation Conference of Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education in Boston.
Peter Ball to appear as a panelist at the annual Deposition Practice Conference of Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education in Boston.
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has appointed our partner, James B. Re, to be a Member of the Court’s Standing Advisory Committee on the Rules of Professional Conduct. Mr. Re commences membership on the Advisory Committee as he concludes his four-year term as a Member (Vice Chair in his final year) of the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers of the Supreme Judicial Court from January 1, 2003 through December 31, 2006. The Board of Bar Overseers is a 12-member board appointed by the Supreme Judicial Court to review allegations of misconduct lodged against lawyers.
Stephen Reilly’s comments on the efforts of banks to combat check fraud appear in the Boston Business Journal.
Nine lawyers of Fitch Law Partners LLP, including all of the firm’s partners, named “Massachusetts Super Lawyers,” by a poll appearing in Boston Magazine. The annual award recognizes the top 5% of the lawyers in Massachusetts.
Peter Ball appointed to Criminal Law Curriculum Advisory Committee of Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education.
Alex Klibaner is appointed to the Steering Committee of the Labor & Employment Section of the Boston Bar Association. Concerned with all aspects of the employer-employee relationship, the Labor and Employment Law Section organizes educational programs, hosts socializing events, and publishes a newsletter for practitioners in the field.
Alex Klibaner selected as 2006 ‘Rising Stars’ placing them among the top 2.5% of lawyers under the age of 40, in the ‘Super Lawyers’ poll appearing in the May 2006 issue of Boston Magazine.
William A. McCormack, a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and professor of trial practice at Boston College Law School, joins Fitch Law Partners LLP as counsel.
On January 1, 2006, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court appointed our partner, James B. Re, to be Vice Chair of the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers of the Supreme Judicial Court. The Board of Bar Overseers is a 12-member board appointed by the Supreme Judicial Court to review allegations of misconduct lodged against lawyers. The Court first appointed Jim to the Board in December 2002 to serve a four-year term, commencing January 1, 2003.
Kurt Kusiak is a faculty panelist for the MCLE’s annual Business Litigation program.
Peter Ball is an MCLE faculty panelist on a program regarding the taking of depositions.
Eight lawyers of Fitch Law Partners LLP, including all of the firms partners, named “Massachusetts Super Lawyers” in Boston magazine, an honor awarded to the top 5% of the lawyers in Massachusetts.
Associates Heather Baer and Alexander Klibaner cited as ‘Rising Stars,’ placing them among the top 2.5% of lawyers under the age of 40, in the ‘Super Lawyers’ poll appearing in the May 2005 issue of Boston Magazine.
James B. Re teaches in the Harvard Law School Winter Trial Advocacy Workshop as he has for many years.
Kurt S. Kusiak is an MCLE faculty panelist for the Annual Business Litigation program.
20 th Anniversary of the founding of Fitch Law Partners LLP.
Stephen C. Reilly is an MCLE faculty panelist for the Annual Massachusetts Discovery Practice program.
Stephen C. Reilly is an MCLE faculty panelist for the Annual Massachusetts Discovery Practice program.
James B. Re appointed to four year term as Member of the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers.
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