Tuesday, December 30, 2008

SJC Rule 3:11 Amended

The Supreme Judicial Court has amended Rule 3:11 effective January 1, 2009.

The rule is amended "by inserting at the end of paragraph (6) the following two sentences: To facilitate transitions in Committee membership, the court may invite a newly appointed member whose term has not officially begun to observe Committee business for a period not to exceed three months prior to the commencement of the member's term. A member whose term has expired shall remain on the Committee pending appointment of his or her successor, and until the successor's term begins."

Links to this and all other Mass. court rules is available at Massachusetts Rules of Court.

Friday, December 26, 2008

New Color for Child Support Form

On December 22, 2008, the Probate and Family Court announced an Amendment to Uniform Practice XXXIII. Beginning January 1, 2009, the Child Support Guidelines Worksheet must be printed with black ink on light-blue colored paper, instead of the current requirement of black ink on yellow paper. You can find this and all other Mass. court rules at our Mass. Rules of Court page.

Friday, December 12, 2008

U. S. District Court invalidates wine sales law

A recent summary judgment by Judge Zobel of the U.S. District Court in Boston finds a Massachusetts state law restricting direct sales to consumers from out of state wineries unconstitutional. Mass General Law chapter 138 sec. 19b, section 19F, and section 2 relate to in state wineries selling their wines directly to the consumer and being able to ship directly to them. Out of state wineries were not afforded this opportunity. The state is enjoined from enforcing these statutes.
In Family Winemakers of California v. Jenkins the court found the practice discriminatory.
We can now order wine shipped directly to us from our favorite vineyards across the country. Just in time for holiday shopping.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

SJC approves restrictions for foreclosures

The Supreme Judicial Court has upheld an injunction against a California bank preventing it from foreclosing on an "unfair" mortgage.
The decision, Commonwealth v. Freemont Investment and Loan sets a pre-foreclosure procedure for the bank to follow for loans featuring a combination of four "unfair" characteristics : "(1) the loans were ARM loans with an introductory rate period of three years or less; (2) they featured an introductory rate for the initial period that was at least three per cent below the fully indexed rate; (3) they were made to borrowers for whom the debt-to-income ratio would have exceeded fifty per cent had Fremont measured the borrower's debt by the monthly payments that would be due at the fully indexed rate rather than under the introductory rate; and (4) the loan-to-value ratio was one hundred per cent, or the loan featured a substantial prepayment penalty..."
This is apparently one of the first in the nation, according to Mass Lawyers Weekly.
For more information see our page on Foreclosures.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Appeals Court Rule on Unpublished Decisions

The Massachusetts Appeals Court has issued a final rule regarding the citing of Rule 1:28 opinions.
"If, in a brief or other filing, a party cites to an order issued under this rule, the party shall cite the case title, a citation to the Appeals Court Reports where issuance of the order is noted, and a notation that the order was issued pursuant to this rule; in addition, a party citing such an order shall include the full text of the order as an addendum to the brief or other filing. No such order issued before February 26,2008, may be cited."

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Unemployment Extended Effective 11/23/08

"Congress has passed an expansion of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program. This extension originally provided up to 13 additional weeks of unemployment benefits, effective from July 7, 2008 through March 28, 2009 in Massachusetts. Effective on November 23, 2008, this federal extension was expanded to provide up to 7 additional weeks of unemployment benefits." For more on unemployment in Massachusetts, see Mass. Law About Unemployment.