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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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,...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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,...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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,...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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")...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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The Insider Trading Landscape Changes Under Blaszczak

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit's decision in U.S. v. Blaszczak may have just changed the landscape for insider trading prosecutions. In order to prove an insider trading charge under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the "Exchange Act"), the...

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