Monday, November 29, 2010

New SJC Rule 1:23

The SJC has approved new Rule 1:23, effective January 1, 2011. The new rule governs "Attorney General Approved Modifications Of Certain Gift Instruments Under G.L. C. 180A, Section 5(d)." This and other Massachusetts court rules can be found at Mass. Rules of Court.

District Court Appellate Division Slip Opinions

We've added slip opinions from the Appellate Division of the District Court Department for November 10 and November 15 to District Court Slip Opinions.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Alcoholic beverage regulations for caffeinated drinks

The Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission has released a regulation relating to the recent uproar over FourLoco. The regulation bans the sale of alcohol adulterated with caffeine.
The FDA has also responded by warning manufacturers that their products contain an unsafe food additive. They have issued a press release and letter to manufacturers. The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) has issued a fact sheet on the dangers of alcohol and caffeine.
The drink has already been banned in individual states, but the FDA action likely means national prohibition.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Homestead act will be changing...

There is a bill on the Governor's desk, waiting for his signature that will change the homestead act significantly. Senate 2406 will likely take effect 90 days after approval by the governor. Dick Howe, from the Northern Middlesex registry of deeds has a great summary of the changes here.
We will try to follow it's progress, and the expected changes to the forms. We will link to it from our homestead page when the bill becomes a law.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

MCAD Fact Sheet on CORI and Employment

The Mass. Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) has issued a fact sheet on the use of criminal record information (CORI) by employers under the new law effective this month. It provides detailed guidance on who is covered by the law and what they may and may not ask employment applicants.

More information on CORI and employment is available at Mass. Law About Criminal Records.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Free Legal Advice for Veterans

The Mass. Bar Association is offering free legal advice by phone to veterans on Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2010 from 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. The number to call is (877) 686-0711.

"Volunteer attorneys will answer a range of legal concerns including benefits, divorce, child support, employment and landlord/tenant issues. The Veterans Dial-A-Lawyer is provided as a public service of the MBA with the financial support of the Massachusetts Bar Foundation, the philanthropic partner of the MBA. The MBA has partnered with the Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services on the program."

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

If you are reading about...

Needham High School soccer team and hazing, try our Bullying page for the link to the statute on hazing.
Massachusetts students math scores? See out page on education and on MCAS
Wondering about working on Veteran's Day? Holiday work and pay requirements are here.
Check our page of over 150 topics for more helpful information about things happening in your life.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Calorie Reporting Requirement Rescinded

This is old news, but since we missed it, we're guessing some of you may have too. 105 CMR 590.009(G) formerly "required certain chain restaurants to post calorie information next to the names of food items they sell. The regulations were to take effect on November 1, 2010, but were explicitly preempted by federal law (PL 111-148, s.4205) on March 23, 2010."

The requirement was removed from 105 CMR 590 on October 1, 2010 in Mass. Register #1166.

Monday, November 08, 2010

New Guardianship Rules and Forms

The Probate and Family Court has issued two new rules and two new forms for guardianship, effective November 16, 2010:

Friday, November 05, 2010

New Dangerousness Standard for Pretrial Detention

St.2010, c.256, s.125, effective this week, allows prosecutors to seek pretrial detention under MGL c.276, s.58A for anyone charged with a felony for possession of a firearm under MGL c.269, s.10 (a), (c) or (m) (with some exceptions).

The law was enacted after the SJC ruled last year in Comm. v. Young, 453 Mass. 507, that unlicensed possession of a firearm did not qualify "as a predicate offense pursuant to G. L. c. 276, § 58A, which allows the Commonwealth to seek pretrial detention of individuals accused of certain serious offenses."

More information on criminal procedure is available at Mass. Law About Criminal Law and Procedure.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

"Ban the Box" Effective Today

Except in limited circumstances, Massachusetts employers may no longer ask about criminal history on initial job applications, under MGL c.151B, s.4 (9-1/2) as added by St.2010, c.256, s.101

The new law reads:
It shall be an unlawful practice: 
"9½. For an employer to request on its initial written application form criminal offender record information; provided, however, that except as otherwise prohibited by subsection 9, an employer may inquire about any criminal convictions on an applicant’s application form if: (i) the applicant is applying for a position for which any federal or state law or regulation creates mandatory or presumptive disqualification based on a conviction for 1 or more types of criminal offenses; or (ii) the employer or an affiliate of such employer is subject to an obligation imposed by any federal or state law or regulation not to employ persons, in either 1 or more positions, who have been convicted of 1 or more types of criminal offenses."

A brief history of "ban the box" is available from The Defenders Online. A clear explanation of the Massachusetts law and practical tips for implementation can be found in McDermott, Will & Emery's newsletter

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Free Lexis Webinars This Month

The Lexis interface is changing in November. We are pleased to offer free webinars to our patrons highlighting what's new.

Webinars will be offered on:
  • Wednesday, November 10th at 2:00
  • Friday, November 12th at 11:00
  • Monday, November 15th at 10:00
Whether you are a novice user or experienced researcher, these Webinars are designed to help you be more productive and efficient. Webinars will be held via WebEx® - a voice and web conferencing solution where you attend the classes right from your own computer desktop! All you need is a phone and internet access. Classes will be taught by Gail B. Lenson, Esq. – LexisNexis Government Consultant for the Massachusetts Courts.

To attend, please email with the date and time of the class you would like to attend. Class size is limited so to insure your spot, please respond quickly. Detailed instructions on how to participate in the Webinar will be sent upon confirmation of enrollment.

Questions? Feel free to contact us.

Monday, November 01, 2010

SJC Recusal Rule Effective Today

SJC Rule 1:22 Motions to Recuse is effective today. This new rule provides a procedure for recusal of a Supreme Court Justice from a full court case, including a method for review if the Justice whose recusal is sought denies the original motion.

"This rule applies only to full court cases. Recusal rulings in single justice cases are, and will continue to be, reviewable in the regular course on appeal from any adverse final judgment in the single justice case."