Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Mass DOR delays filing deadline until Friday

Because of delays with their online filing system, Massachusetts taxpayers have until midnight on Friday to file state returns.

"Filing Extension Announced

The Department of Revenue’s WebFile tool, which allows individuals to electronically file state personal income tax returns, has experienced delays due to heavy volume over the past few days. DOR is actively working to resolve this issue, and has extended the deadline for taxpayers to file their Massachusetts Personal Income Tax returns, or to file for an extension, until midnight on Friday, April 18, 2014."
Federal returns are due today, no change there.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Tax refund fraud

There has been a significant increase in identity theft- related tax refund fraud over the last several years. Although anyone with a Social Security card can become a victim, those who commit this crime tend to target people who don't usually file taxes, such as the elderly, low-income families, students.  They also target public figures like celebrities, athletes, politicians, and government officials, even Attorney General Holder.

Both the FBI (Investigating tax refund fraud) and the IRS (Tips for taxpayers, victims about identity theft and tax returns) have tips regarding safeguarding personal information and when to file taxes to prevent becoming a victim.

For more information about identity theft, please visit our page on the topic.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Pre -trial security for judgments

Concerned whether you’ll be able to recover on your judgment after your trial is over and judgment issues? Here are some pre-trial security steps to consider:

(a)         Availability of Attachment. Subsequent to the commencement of any action under these rules, real estate, goods and chattels and other property may, in the manner and to the extent provided by law, but subject to the requirements of this rule, be attached and held to satisfy the judgment for damages and costs which the plaintiff may recover.

(a) Availability of Trustee Process. Subsequent to the commencement of any personal action under these rules, except actions only for specific recovery of goods and chattels, for malicious prosecution, for slander or libel, or for assault and battery, trustee process may be used, in the manner and to the extent provided by law, but subject to the requirements of this rule, to secure satisfaction of the judgment for damages and costs which the plaintiff may recover, provided, however, that no person shall be adjudged trustee for any amount due from him to the defendant for wages or salary for personal labor or services of the defendant except on a claim that has first been reduced to judgment or otherwise authorized by law; and in no event shall the attachment exceed the limitations prescribed by law.
Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 246 Trustee Process

(a) Temporary Restraining Order; Notice; Hearing; Duration. A temporary restraining order may be granted without written or oral notice to the adverse party or his attorney only if it clearly appears from specific facts shown by affidavit or by the verified complaint that immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage will result to the applicant before the adverse party or his attorney can be heard in opposition…..
(d) Form and Scope of Injunction or Restraining Order. Unless the court, for good cause shown, otherwise orders, an injunction or restraining order shall be specific in terms; shall describe in reasonable detail, and not by reference to the complaint or other document, the act or acts sought to be restrained; and is binding only upon the parties to the action, their officers, agents, servants, employees, and attorneys, and upon those persons in active concert or participation with them who receive actual notice of the order by personal service or otherwise.

Section 3(6)
Actions by creditors to reach and apply, in payment of a debt, any property, right, title or interest, legal or equitable, of a debtor, within or without the commonwealth, which cannot be reached to be attached or taken on execution although the property sought to be reached and applied is in the possession or control of the debtor independently of any other person …..
Section 3(7)
Actions to reach and apply shares or interests in corporations….
Section 3(8)
Actions to reach and apply in payment of a debt any property, right, title or interest, real or personal, of a debtor, liable to be attached or taken on execution in a civil action against him and fraudulently conveyed by him with intent to defeat, delay or defraud his creditors, or purchased, or directly or indirectly paid for, by him, the record or other title to which is retained in the vendor or is conveyed to a third person with intent to defeat, delay or defraud the creditors of the debtor.
Section 3(9)
Actions to reach and apply the obligation of an insurance company to a judgment debtor….

Upon motion of a party, if the subject matter of the action constitutes a claim of a right to title to real property or the use and occupation thereof or the buildings thereon, a justice of the court in which the action is pending shall make a finding to that effect and endorse the finding upon the memorandum……

Print and CD Resources:

Additionally, patrons of our 17 Trial Court Law Libraries have access to databases including free in-library access to WestLaw and Lexis legal databases, to search for cases, statutes and other materials.

Good Reading!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

SJC Addresses Impact of Temporary Alimony on General Term Alimony

In Holmes v. HolmesSJC-11538 (April 2, 2014), the Court held that:

"temporary alimony [under G.L. c. 208, sec 17] is separate and distinct from general term alimony [under G.L. c. 208, sec. 49], and that the duration of temporary alimony is not included in calculating the maximum presumptive duration of general term alimony" but "where temporary alimony is unusually long in duration or where the party receiving temporary alimony has caused unfair delay in the issuance of a final judgment in order to prolong the length of time in which alimony may be paid, a judge in her discretion may consider the duration of temporary alimony in determining the duration of general term alimony."

The case describes the differences between the prior alimony statute, G.L. c. 208, sec. 34, and the reform act which made several changes to the law governing alimony.  First, the old law "recognized only one category of postjudgment alimony, which the reform act now classifies as 'general term alimony,' defined as 'the periodic payment of support to a recipient spouse who is economically dependent.' G.L. c. 208, sec 48.  The reform act established four distinct categories of alimony:  general term alimony [under G.L. c. 208, sec. 49], rehabilitative alimony, reimbursement alimony and transitional alimony. G.L. c. 208, sec. 48.  Second, the prior alimony statute did not provide presumptive termination dates for alimony" as the reform act does (see G.L. c. 208, sec. 49[b] [general term alimony], sec 50[b] [rehabilitative alimony], 51[a] [reimbursement alimony], and 52[a] [transitional alimony]).   

The decision outlines the factors a court should consider in determining the appropriate duration of  alimony under G.L. c. 208, sec 53.  The court focused on the language of the statute as the clearest insight into legislative intent to determine that temporary alimony is separate and distinct from general term alimony.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

An Act Relative to Veterans' Access, Livelihood, Opportunity, and Resources - updated

On April 3, 2014 Governor Patrick signed into law, the Valor Act II which builds on the Valor Act previously passed. This new legislation increases the benefits for veterans and their families, and creates new opportunities as well. Some of the highlights of the bill include:
  •  a creating a home modification program to help injured veterans stay in their homes. The purpose of this program is to provide funding for home modifications services made necessary by the functional limitations associated with the veteran’s service connected disability.
  • allowing students enrolled in college, who are called to active duty, to either complete their course work without penalty after returning or to withdraw and receive a tuition refund.
  •  increasing penalties for disturbing military funerals by a fine of not more than $2,000 or by imprisonment for not more than 2 years in a house of correction, or both.
  •  guard against charity fraud by mandating that organizations shall, prior to such solicitation, apply for designation as a veterans’ charitable organization 
For more info on the topic of Veterans, see our page here.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Boston Marathon

The Boston Marathon is April 21st this year. After last years tragedy the security will have new procedures in place. You can find a list of road closures here.  For those of you running the number pick up day will be the 18th. Plan ahead and enjoy the day!

Monday, April 07, 2014

Social Media and the Decline of Privacy Rights


April 10, 2014
9 am -11 am
Greenfield Community College

Presentations and Panel Discussion on 
Social Media and the Decline of Privacy Rights with:

Corey Carvalho, UMASS Student Legal Services;

State Police Sergeant Michael Hill, Commander Massachusetts Internet Crimes Against Children Unit;

Professor Bruce Miller, Western New England University School of Law;

Jamie Wynkoop-Morrison, Small World Computing.

Moderator:  Christine Tetreault, Northwestern District Attorney Child Sexual Predator Project Director

featuring presentation of the
2014 Thomas W. Merrigan Scholarship Awards

This event is FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Event sponsored by
Franklin County Bar Association
Greenfield Community College
Office of Northwestern District Attorney

Dementia-specific training for employees in long-term care facilities

On July 8, 2012 Governor Patrick signed into law Chapter 142 of the Acts of 2012, "An act providing for dementia-specific training for certain employees of long-term care facilities."

The Department of Public Health regulations were recently published in the February 28, 2014 issue of the Massachusetts Register and are also available online. CMR 150.022 through 105.029 set forth the minimum dementia staff training requirements for all nursing homes, and as well as the minimum standards with which a Dementia Special Care Unit (DSCU) must comply.  These requirements apply to Level I, II and III facilities licensed under 105 CMR 150.000.  This boston.com article highlights the changes.