Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Teenage Drivers

The controversial bill raising the driving age in Massachusetts from 16-1/2 to 17-1/2, H4826, will be heard in today's House session. The bill also provides for more extensive driver education and a limit on cellphone use by teens while driving. This measure would make Massachusetts one of the most restrictive states in the country for teen driving. For minimum driving ages in other states, see State-by-State Driving Rules for Teenage Drivers. For more information on driving in Massachusetts, see Massachusetts Law About Traffic Violations.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Tobacco Litigation

In the case of Haglund v. Phillip Morris, the Supreme Judicial Court yesterday ruled that the fact that a smoker knew that cigarettes were dangerous but smoked anyway does not constitute an "unreasonable" use of the product under Correia v. Firestone Tire and Rubber Co., 388 Mass. 342 (1983) and thus cannot serve as a defense for the tobacco company. The opinion says, in part, "the Correia defense presumes that the product at issue is, in normal circumstances, reasonably safe and capable of being reasonably safely used, and therefore that the consumer's unreasonable use of the product he knows to be defective and dangerous is appropriately penalized. Here, however, both Philip Morris and the plaintiff agree that cigarette smoking is inherently dangerous and that there is no such thing as a safe cigarette. Because no cigarette can be safely used for its ordinary purpose, smoking, there can be no nonunreasonable use of cigarettes. Thus the Correia defense, which serves to deter unreasonable use of products in a dangerous and defective state, will, in the usual course, be inapplicable." More information is available at Mass. Law About Smoking.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Changing Children's Names

The recent Appeals Court case, Petition of Two Minors for Change of Name, 65 Mass. App. Ct. 850 (2006), provides the best summary we've seen of what constitutes "best interests of the child" when a parent wants to change a child's name after divorce. This case, forms, and much more information about name changes for adults and children are available at Mass. Law About Name Changes.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Free WiFi

We are delighted to offer you free wireless access in all seventeen law libraries. No forms, no strings, just come in, open your laptop and hop on.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Automobile Recalls

Information on all automobile recalls "including vehicle and equipment campaigns from 1966 to present" is available from the NHTSA. Site includes Motor Vehicle Recalls, Child Safety Seat Recalls, Motor Vehicle Equipment Recalls, Tire Recalls, and School Bus Recalls. More information on automobile issues, including lemon laws and more, is available at Law About Automobiles.

Legal Podcasts

We've added a page called Legal Podcasts to provide easy access to podcasts about Massachusetts or Federal Law. Listings include: Massachusetts real estate information from
Donahue and Grolman's LawCast: "Real" Real Estate Talk, links to podcasts from state and federal government sources at Government Podcasts, Russell Matson's Massachusetts DUI Podcast, and Nolo's Nolo Presents the Law in Plain English, which covers a wide variety of topics including business, immigration, health care, family law, estate planning, personal injury and more.