1. Home
  2.  » The Fitch BriefsPage 2

The Fitch Briefs

Filter by News
Filter by Blogs

Search Result

CFPB Now Claims Its Structure Is Unconstitutional

A few short months ago, I wrote a blog post about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau surviving an attack on its constitutionality in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. In that case, the plaintiff alleged that the CFPB's structure was...

read more

Can Student Loan Debt be Categorized as a Marital Debt?

In Massachusetts, a judge has broad discretion with respect to the equitable division of the marital estate and may consider both economic and noneconomic contributions to the marital estate. A prenuptial agreement can clarify the responsibility for debts incurred...

read more

When Income Attribution is Appropriate

In a recent case, Macri v. Macri, the Massachusetts Appeals Court recently cemented a trial court decision to, among other things, attribute income to Husband, who was unemployed at the time of trial. Attribution of income is often a contested topic in the Probate and...

read more

What Happens if the House is Sold During the Divorce?

It is the unfortunate case that, in many divorces, the marital home is sold as part of the divorce proceedings. Sometimes, the decision is made for non-financial issues - the house is tied to too many memories and both parties decide that they are better off starting...

read more

Arbitrating Technology Transfer Disputes

Technology transfer is a critical way for innovation companies to enter into new markets and profit from the hard work that they have done in developing new technology. These agreements can take many forms, from an assignment of the intellectual property rights to a...

read more

Summer Internship Reflection: The Psychology of Law

By Alina C. HachigianThis summer I had the opportunity to intern with Fitch Law Partners. In addition to assisting attorneys with research and deposition preparations, over the course of the summer I was able to experience law outside the office as well. I traveled to...

read more

The New Judgments Convention

One of the main reasons that we at FITCH recommend that the vast majority of cross-border contracts contain international arbitration clauses is because of the New York Convention. More formally called the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign...

read more

What Happens at a Pre-Trial Hearing?

If a divorce or 209C case is pending, the court, sooner or later, will schedule what is known as a pre-trial hearing. Sometimes this is also referred to as a pre-trial conference. This will happen either on the court's own initiative once a complaint has been on file...

read more

When is Joint Legal Custody Inappropriate?

Massachusetts courts recognize two distinct types of custody of children. The first, physical custody, is what most litigants mean when they refer to having "joint custody" or "primary custody" of their child. Physical custody is a term that describes the amount of...

read more

To Be or Not to Be . . . a Debt Collector

In Obduskey v. McCarthy & Holthus L.L.P., the Supreme Court examined whether an entity engaged in the limited purpose of enforcing a security interest in a nonjudicial foreclosure proceeding fit the definition a "debt collector," thereby subjecting it to all of...

read more

Are trust interests part of the marital estate?

The inclusion - or non-inclusion - of beneficial trust interests in the marital estate for purposes of an asset division incident to a divorce is quite often a hotly contested issue. How does one account for a trust interest in a divorce? Did the trustee make any...

read more

Serving Process on Chinese Companies in US Litigation

Hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of goods and services flow between the United States and China every year, and all of that commerce gives rise to disputes.  While we at FITCH usually recommend entering into International Arbitration agreements when contracting...

read more

Business Valuation in Divorce Cases

Business valuation arises in divorce cases where one or both spouses have an ownership interest in a closely held corporation - that is, a corporation which has a limited number of shareholders. This ownership interest is usually considered a marital asset, just like...

read more

Does The Wage Act Apply To Employment In A Foreign Country?

The answer is: it depends.  A Superior Court recently addressed that issue in Lockley v. Studentcity.com (Suffolk Superior Court, No.201801293-BLS2). Ms. Lockley, a resident of Colorado, brought a putative class action lawsuit alleging violation of the Wage Act...

read more

What Happens if Nothing is Happening in my Divorce Case?

Although it may be difficult to imagine for someone going through the difficult process of a divorce, on occasion divorce cases can linger for months, if not years, with little to no activity on the docket. The parties may have filed divorce papers, but never got...

read more

Handling your First International Arbitration

It was bound to happen eventually.  Maybe your company just went global or maybe they've been working internationally for years.  But eventually, whether through some mistake in translation in an international contract, some global or local change in circumstances, or...

read more

Business Valuation in Divorce Cases

Business valuation arises in divorce cases where one or both spouses have an ownership interest in a closely held corporation - that is, a corporation which has a limited number of shareholders. This ownership interest is usually considered a marital asset, just like...

read more

Can I relocate with my child after divorce?

If you're a parent of a minor child of divorce in Massachusetts, can you relocate to a different state or country with your child (an issue the courts call "removal")? Assuming no negotiated agreement to relocate with your co-parent (a preferred outcome in resolving...

read more

Texas Judge Dismisses Suit Against ICDR

A judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas has dismissed a case against the International Centre for Dispute Resolution on the basis of arbitral immunity. The holding in Wartsila North America, Inc., et al v. International Centre for Dispute...

read more

Property Inspections Are Not Debt Collection Under FDCPA

The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has held that inspections of properties encumbered by defaulted mortgages, even where the property inspector left a hang tag requesting the homeowner contact the mortgage servicer, is not debt collection under...

read more

Does ROTC Participation Create an Emancipating Event?

In a recent decision by the Massachusetts Court of Appeals, the concept of a child's emancipation was at issue. In Bobblis v. Costa (https://www.mass.gov/files/documents/2018/10/18/17P0557.pdf), the court ruled that enrollment in ROTC does not constitute emancipation...

read more

How does my pension get divided during divorce?

Part II of this blog post focuses on how pension plans are divided during divorce. You can read Part I on our site. Pension plans are different than other assets divided during divorce because we are trying to calculate the present value of a future benefit (a benefit...

read more

What are the Rule 410 Mandatory Document Disclosures?

The Rule 410 Mandatory Self Disclosure provisions of the Supplemental Probate and Family Court Rules is one of the most basic, yet misunderstood, requirements of divorce litigants. According to Rule 410, each party to a divorce or 209C action (or complaint for...

read more

Jim Brooks Community Stabilization Act Fails to Pass

Last month, the Judiciary Committee of the Massachusetts House of Representatives essentially killed any chance of the passage of the Jim Brooks Community Stabilization Act, Bill H.4142, by "referring the Act to study," a euphemism generally understood in the...

read more

How Does My Pension Get Valued During Divorce?

A pension is one of the hardest earned assets a spouse can own. Divorce professionals are acutely aware of this and take great care to apply the same kind of focus, hard work and attention to detail to value a pension as the plan owner applied to earning it. This blog...

read more

What happens at a pre-trial conference?

Many litigants, particularly in highly contested divorce or custody modification actions, often insist that their case will never settle, and will ultimately need to proceed to a trial. In fact, only a very small portion of such cases which are filed in the...

read more

I Didn’t Quit – You Fired Me!

An employee who voluntarily quits their job is, in most circumstances, not entitled to collect unemployment benefits or sue their employer for wrongful termination. However, an employee who believes they were forced to quit their job because their working conditions...

read more

Beware the Convention on the International Sale of Goods

Would it surprise you to learn that when you see a clause in your international sales contract stating that Massachusetts (or any other State's) law applies, that it actually incorporates an international treaty that will likely supersede the Uniform Commercial Code...

read more

Removal Cases Before Determining Custody Arrangements

Removal matters - where one parent seeks to move with a child or children either to another state or to a place within the Commonwealth that is far enough away to cause a significant impact on the parenting plan - are amongst the most fraught cases that attorneys and...

read more

Bitcoin: What’s its Worth in Court?

The price of Bitcoin has recently skyrocketed, rising from $1200 per Bitcoin in the second quarter of 2017 to $ 10,000 per Bitcoin in 2018. However, the law has not kept pace: critical questions remain regarding how Bitcoin should be valued. For example, if Bitcoin is...

read more

Bitcoin: What’s its Worth in Court?

The price of Bitcoin has recently skyrocketed, rising from $1200 per Bitcoin in the second quarter of 2017 to $ 10,000 per Bitcoin in 2018. However, the law has not kept pace: critical questions remain regarding how Bitcoin should be valued. For example, if Bitcoin is...

read more

Tax Reform Bill Eliminates the Alimony Deduction

The new tax reform bill (https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1), which was signed into law on December 22, 2017, eliminates (http://money.cnn.com/2017/12/15/pf/taxes/alimony-tax-bill/index.html) the tax deduction for alimony payments for separation...

read more

The Positive-Selfish-Side of Effective Co-Parenting

In contested custody cases where a child rejects contact with a parent, the rejected parent often accuses the aligned parent of engaging in alienating behaviors that are intended to sever the attachment between the child and the rejected parent. But aligned parents...

read more

Medical Marijuana in the Workplace

In a recent landmark decision, Barbuto v. Advantage Sales & Marketing, LLC, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled that an employer that terminated an employee for testing positive for marijuana use (which violated the company's policy) could be found to have...

read more

50/50 Parenting: Quantity versus Quality

I recently came across Edward Kruk, PhD's article in Psychology Today entitled "Equal Parenting and the Quality of Parent-Child Attachments." The article summarizes research on parenting plans that I have found useful in support of some clients' requests for equal...

read more

International Arbitration War Wages Over Pineapples

The Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit will be the next body to weigh in on a dispute between Del Monte International GmbH ("Del Monte") and Inversions y Procesadora Tropical INPROTSA, S.A. ("INPROTSA") over an exclusive sales agreement for pineapples. The case...

read more

ATM Operators Not Required to Disclose Third Party Fees

The United States District Court for the District of Maryland has confirmed that an ATM operator is not required to disclose the amount of fees charged by a third party, such as the cardholder's financial institution, for the transaction. The plaintiff in Alston v....

read more

CFPB Anti-Arbitration Rule Repealed

On Wednesday, November 1, 2017, President Donald Trump signed legislation repealing an anti-arbitration rule that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ("CFPB") had promulgated in early July. Repeal of the CFPB rule was welcomed by representatives of the financial...

read more

U.S. Supreme Court Limits Scope of FDCPA.

On June 12, 2017, the United States Supreme Court decided a case captioned Henson v. Santander Consumer USA, Inc., No. 16-349. In an opinion authored by newly-appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch and hailed by the financial services industry, the unanimous Court held that a...

read more

Haunted House Hunting and the Duty to Disclose

In a competitive real estate market like Greater Boston's, more homebuyers are agreeing to what previously would have been seen as a draconian contract term: purchasing a home without first conducting an inspection. But today, in a hot seller's market, it may be a...

read more

How Do Criminal Charges Issue?

When an individual is charged with a crime over which the District Court has jurisdiction (all misdemeanors, felonies punishable of a sentence of up to five years and certain other felonies), a criminal complaint issues against them. A criminal complaint is the...

read more

What a Financial Statement Is and Why You Need One

Many clients describe the Rule 401 financial statement as "a giant pain," "putting square pegs into round holes," or "the most annoying thing I've ever done in my life." While filling out a financial statement can often be fairly simple, sometimes it can take days or...

read more

Lesson in Co-parenting from the Presidential Debate

A final question to the candidates during a recent presidential debate reminded me of a topic that often comes up in the context of co-parenting work in high-conflict cases, interviews by custody evaluators, questioning at depositions in custody disputes, documents...

read more

International Recovery of Child Support

On August 30, 2016, President Obama signed the instrument of ratification for the Hague Convention on International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance. A White House press release of the same date describes the Convention's "numerous...

read more

Driving Away From the Courts: Uber Drivers Must Arbitrate

In a recent decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, ruled that private arbitration agreements between Uber and two former drivers in California and Massachusetts were valid and enforceable. The former drivers, who were seeking protections for...

read more

Appeals Court Dismisses HAMP-Based Negligence Claim

In a post-foreclosure lawsuit, Santos v. U.S. Bank National Association, et al., 2016 WL 3636049 (Mass.App.Ct. 2016), a borrower ("Santos") alleged inter alia that a foreclosing mortgagee ("U.S. Bank") and its loan servicer negligently handled his applications for a...

read more

A Primer On The Defend Trade Secrets Act

A trade secret in the United States, once protected under state common law and state statute, is now officially a matter of national importance. President Barack Obama signed into federal law on May 11, 2016 the bi-partisan Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA), which...

read more

Division of Banks Issues Warning About ATM ‘Skimming’

The Massachusetts Division of Banks (the "Division") has issued a letter to Non-Bank ATM Registrants in the Commonwealth to warn them about a "concerning increase" in ATM skimming fraud. The Division's March 16, 2016 letter is published on its website. ATM skimming...

read more

The Benefits of Practicing in the Massachusetts Land Court

A silver lining to finding oneself involved in a property dispute is the opportunity to resolve the issue in one of the Commonwealth's specialized courts, the Massachusetts Land Court. The types of legal disputes that Land Court judges decide vary in type and scope,...

read more

Of Jurors and Jury Instructions

I attended a recent Federal Bar Association breakfast that was hosted by a thoughtful member of the federal bench in Massachusetts. He raised an important question about juror comprehension: Should each juror have a personal copy of the Court's jury instructions and...

read more

Navigating Massachusetts’ New Parental Leave Law

In April 2015, Massachusetts' Parental Leave Act went into effect. G.L. c. 149, §105D, previously known as the Maternity Leave Act became the Parental Leave Act, applicable to both men and women. The law continues to apply only to employers with six or more employees....

read more

Restricted Stock Units:  Income for Child Support Purposes

In a recent appeal arising from a post-divorce modification action, Hoegen v. Hoegen (14-P-1491), the Massachusetts Appeals Court decided that income realized from vested restricted stock units (RSUs) must be included in the calculation of child support. In doing so,...

read more

Mediation Strategy: The First Plenary Session

I recently participated in a panel discussion for a mediation course at a local law school. A well-known full time mediator and a U.S. federal magistrate judge who regularly conducts mediations in the federal court were with me. A highly engaged class of law students...

read more

Mass. Gen. Laws c. 93A, Section 9 versus Section 11

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 93A, § 2 ("Chapter 93A") states: "Unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce are hereby declared unlawful." From that simple statement, numerous acts and practices...

read more

Judge Vacates Major League Baseball Arbitral Award

As this blog has chronicled in the past, it is extremely difficult for an arbitral award to be vacated. The Federal Arbitration Act and many state arbitral acts provide very limited grounds for vacatur, as courts are reluctant to second-guess an arbitrator's decision....

read more

Division Of Banks Told That Hearings Are Not Optional

A Superior Court judge recently expressed little patience with the Massachusetts Division of Banks's (the "Division's") failure to hold a hearing prior to issuing cease and desist letters, calling it "disturbing" that two statutes requiring hearings "were completely...

read more

The Specialized Role of the Business Litigation Session

Suffolk Superior Court in Boston is home to an innovative session called the Business Litigation Session, commonly abbreviated as "BLS". Brought about by the advocacy of administrative judges, civil litigators, and leaders in the business community, the BLS has served...

read more

Things to Look for in a Home Improvement Contractor

Most people don't realize that there are a series of important facts they should know about their building contractor before hiring them to build or renovate their home. First, make sure that the contractor you are dealing with is registered with the state as Home...

read more

MERS Requires No Authorization to Assign Mortgage

A Judge of the Massachusetts Superior Court, relying on earlier Massachusetts Appeals Court cases, has held that Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. ("MERS") does not need authorization from the holder of the promissory note secured by a mortgage before...

read more

Mixed Content

Search Result

Fitch Law Partners LLP reports news and insights on complex litigation topics. Clients, colleagues and friends may receive The Fitch Briefs by signing up here.