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Is It Finally Time to Buy? : Many Indications of Home Price Gains Suggest That Potential Buyers Should Get Off The Sidelines

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, May 08, 2013
S&P/Case-Shiller keeps a composite of 20 metropolitan areas across the country and releases reports of housing price increases and decreases.  The market was at an all time low in 2008, with rates decreasing  close to 20 percent.  In its April 30, 2013 report, the numbers showed an increase to approximately 9 percent.  This was the largest increase from year to year in the last seven years.  From January to February, 2013, the market also increased by 1 percent. This was  the largest month to month increase in seven years, although increases have been taking place from month to month for several months. This data suggests  that this increase will likely continue. According to Robert Shiller’s book Irrational Exuberance, single family home prices usually go back to a base level price from 1890, with inflation factored in.  As the market fluctuates the scales will tip in favor of buyers and sellers.  With prices being low, buyers have had the advantage.  But as home prices increase,  sellers are going to increasingly find favor in the market.  Buyers may want make any pending purchases now, before the scales tip even more in this direction. Read about Case-Shiller here and see a chart of recent Case-Shiller data here. If you  are purchasing a home, contact Brooks & Crowley LLP and let an experienced attorney help guide you through the process.    

Contributed by Laura Martin

Death Penalty Specialist Appointed By The Court To Defend Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect

Joseph Coupal - Friday, May 03, 2013
In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon Bombing, there was speculation whether the federal government would be seeking the death penalty for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev After being moved from a civilian hospital to a hospital located at the federal prison at Fort Devens, Massachusetts, Tsarnaev now has Judy Clarke on his defense team.  Since it appears the U.S. Attorney’s Office will be seeking approval for the death penalty, a federal magistrate appointed Clarke for his legal defense.  Judge Marianne Bowler felt that current counsel from the Federal Defender’s Office did not have the requisite experience with  death penalty cases, experience that Clarke does have.   Clarke has represented some infamous people who have faced the death penalty, including  Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, Eric Rudolph, the Olympic bomber, and Jared Lee Loughner, the mass shooter in the Tucson, Arizona shooting in which Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was victimized.  In these mentioned cases the death penalty was avoided.  

Contributed by Laura Martin

Supreme Court of The United States Rules on Warrantless Blood Testing in DUI Case

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, April 23, 2013
A few weeks ago, I wrote about the oral arguments before the United States Supreme Court on warrantless blood tests in cases of suspected DUI charges in Missouri v McNeely.   The post may be read here. On April 17, 2013, the Supreme Court issued its decision and held that taking and testing a driver’s blood without a warrant was a violation of federal law. In the opinion, Chief Justice Roberts wrote that, although individuals have a lower expectation of privacy while they are in their vehicles,  even in this setting people have a  high expectation of privacy from having their skin pierced.  The Court relied on the Fourth Amendment’s exclusionary rule, and decided that the blood test evidence was inadmissible against the defendant. The Supreme Court was not persuaded by the government’s argument that, since alcohol dissipates from the blood quickly, warrantless blood testing is justified under the so-called exigent circumstances exception to the warrant requirement. In Massachusetts, you always have the option to refuse to submit to a blood test or breath test.  Watch Attorney Steven Brooks discuss your options here. If you are facing a DUI charge, contact Brooks and Crowley LLP to speak with an experienced DUI attorney today.  

Contributed by Laura Martin

Boston Taxi Insurance Reform

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, April 04, 2013
In the last few days the Boston Globe Spotlight Series has featured three reports (you can read them on Boston.com here, here, and here) that explore the corruption of the Boston taxicab industry, with a particular focus on the extortion and mistreatment of cab drivers.   Following the publication of the series, Mayor Menino told the press that he was looking into the issues that were brought to light and that he planned to hire specialists that would dramatically change the way the cab industry is run in the next few months.  He particularly focused on the Medallion owners having inadequate insurance coverage for personal injuries.   At Brooks & Crowley, we too often see the negative effect of inadequate coverage in accident cases involving cabs.  When cab drivers are at fault in motor vehicle accidents, the injured party may only recover a maximum of $20,000.00 from the responsible cab driver’s insurance policy.   With medical bills at an all-time high, this amount is not even remotely sufficient to compensate anyone who received a significant injury.  Seeking redress above the insurance policies and against the taxi owners is difficult to impossible, due to the corporate structures of the owners.   The Spotlight series also  why there may be so many accidents involving cab drivers.  Due to the oppressive fee structure, the cab drivers often work long hours just to avoid ending their shifts in the red. These sleep-deprived drivers can be a significant hazard on the road.  The idea that taxi cabs should be allowed to carry only $20,000.00 of insurance coverage is preposterous, given that even bicycle messenger companies are required to carry $1 million of coverage as a condition of doing business in Boston.   Hopefully, this Spotlight series will help bring about the change that is so badly needed in this industry.  If you are in a motor vehicle accident, call Brooks & Crowley for a free consultation.  

Contributed by Laura Martin

A YEAR PASSES BEFORE JAPANESE POLICE SEEK CHARGES FROM THE 10-CAR LUXURY LINE CRASH

Joseph Coupal - Saturday, March 30, 2013
More than a year has passed since the world’s likely most expensive car crash took place in Japan. On December 4, 2011 a 61 year old man driving a Ferrari on a freeway in Shimonoseki in western Japan. He was followed by 9 cars of similar price and prestige; 8 Ferraris, a Lamborghini and a Mercedes Benz. The man lost control of his ride and the 9 subsequent drivers failed to put on their breaks in time to avoid collision.  The drivers were on their way to a super car event in Hiroshima. On March 14, 2013 police sent the case against the 10 drivers to prosecutors for suspected violations of traffic laws. Prosecutors in Japan will have the final say about whether or not to bring charges but police stated that the ten drivers were either exceeding the speed limit or not paying close enough attention to the road in front of them. The unusual nature of the crash don't end at the 10 luxury car line smash up, but also that police have waited more than a year to attempt to bring charges. Read the original article here on Business Insider and read the article from 2011 from CNN here. If you find have the unfortunate luck to get into a car crash, call Brooks & Crowley LLP for a free consultation. Let an experienced personal injury attorney make sure you get the recovery you are entitled to.  

Contributed by Laura Martin

Top Five Important Things to Remember after an Accident

Joseph Coupal - Saturday, March 30, 2013
Motor vehicle accidents can wreak havoc on your wallet, your body and your life. When a motor vehicle accident wasn’t your fault you may want to seek recovery. Remember that sometimes it can be months or years before you litigate a car accident, but everything you do starting from the day of the accident can make difference between receiving a fair recovery or not. These are the most common mistakes that anyone makes after an accident, and it can hurt your chance of rightful recovery.  Listen to Attorney Neil Crowley explain these 5 most common mistakes here, but here is a short summary;
  1. Make sure you take pictures at the scene of the accident before anything else happens if you can.
  2. Begin keeping a diary related to your injuries. Write down what pain you feel specifically, and for how long. Write down all the activities you can’t participate in or daily tasks you need help with because of your injuries. Months alter when the pain is gone (hopefully) its easy to forget about these frustrating moments.
  3. Do not talk to other driver’s insurance company. They will send you information and call you for statements, decline.
  4. Do not sign any papers that the other insurance company sends you. Remember for 3 and 4 that the other drivers insurance company is not working in your best interest.
  5. Send all correspondence from anyone or any company including your own insurance company to a lawyer. A lawyer is only person who is actually and legally completely on your side after an accident. A win for you is a win for them.
When clients come to Brooks & Crowley LLP after an accident we understand that you are in crisis. Let us help you with our years of experience in litigation and our results oriented approach.  

Contributed by Laura Martin

KFC DUI

Joseph Coupal - Saturday, March 30, 2013
A Quincy man, Paul Robert Phinney, Jr., 27, was arrested for driving under the influence after harassing employees at a KFC drive-through on February 12, 2013. The supervisor of the KFC on Hancock Street where the incident took place told police that because of the blizzard the weekend before some of their food products had not be delivered. He had tried to explain this Phinney.  When Phinney couldn’t have his order filled he became agitated and was verbally abusive to the employees, yelling racial epithets at them. Police arrived on scene and noticed that Phinney’s eyes were bloodshot, and that his speech was slurred. They also smelled alcohol on him. Phinney refused to take any sobriety tests but police noted that once he got out of his car that he was unsteady on his feet. Read the full story here. If you or anyone you know is arrested for driving under the influence, contact Brooks & Crowley. Let one of our experienced DUI lawyers protect you.  

Contributed by Laura  Martin

United States Supreme Court Hears Arguments for Warrantless Blood Tests in DUI Cases

Joseph Coupal - Saturday, March 30, 2013
In October,  2010, a police officer took a person suspected of driving while under the influence of alcohol to a hospital. While handcuffed; a physician drew the person’s blood for a chemical test without  his consent and without a warrant.  The Missouri Supreme Court upheld the decision to suppress the evidence. This decision has been appealed to the United States Supreme Court. The 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution requires that before an otherwise unreasonable search can be executed on a person or their effects, a warrant be obtained from a neutral magistrate.  The issue before the Court is whether drawing blood from a suspect upon suspicion of driving under the influence (“DUI”) without a warrant, and not for medical treatment, is reasonable under the constitution On January 9, 2013 the Court heard arguments from both the state of Missouri and the defendant’s lawyers. All briefs and petitions filed on the case can be read here. The justices expressed concern for an automatic exception to the warrant requirement where the search is invasive like drawing blood.  They also showed concern for evidence being destroyed while a police officer waits to obtain a warrant.  No decision has yet been issued. Massachusetts’ law does not permit drawing blood without consent unless the suspect is receiving medical treatment.  However, this Supreme Court decision may change the way that Massachusetts interprets current law.  For more information about protection against a DUI charge, watch Attorney Brooks give his advice and contact Brooks & Crowley to speak with an experienced DUI defense attorney.  

Contributed by Laura  Martin

Red Sox’s Drake Britton Arrested in Ft. Myers for DUI

Joseph Coupal - Saturday, March 30, 2013
At 4:42 a.m. March 2, on Ben Hill Griffin Parkway in Estero, Drake Britton of the Boston Red Sox led Florida police on a chase that ended in his arrest for charges of reckless driving, driving under the influence and property damage. Britton was driving at 111 mph jumped a curb, crashed into a fence and when he finally stopped his car, he handed police his debit card instead of his license. This 23-year-old pitcher is in his first big league camp this year. The team had intended to start him on Sunday; he has now been optioned out to Portland Double-A. The “Baseball DUI Problem” was also an issue during spring training last year when Bobbie Jenks was arrested for DUI. The Red Sox team manger, John Farrell said this is an issue that the team takes very seriously.  He reports that prevention of these events is part of the ongoing education of every player on the team.  Read the full story on ESPN here. Britton is lucky; no one was hurt by this incident except his perhaps his young baseball career. If you are arrested for Driving while under the influence, contact Brooks & Crowley.  

Contributed by Laura Martin

Top Five Important Things to Remember After an Auto Accident

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, February 14, 2013
Motor vehicle accidents can wreak havoc on your wallet, your body and your life. When a motor vehicle accident wasn’t your fault you may want to make a claim for financial damages. Remember that sometimes it can be months or years before you litigate a car accident case in court, but everything you do starting from the day of the accident can make difference. Listen to Attorney Neil Crowley explain these five itemshere.  Below is a short summary of the most common do’s and don’ts for anyone after an accident; things that can help or hurt your chances of full financial recovery for your losses.
  1. Make sure you take pictures at the scene of the accident before anything else happens if you can.
  2. Begin keeping a diary related to your injuries. Write down what pain you feel specifically, and for how long. Write down all the activities you can’t participate in or daily tasks you need help with because of your injuries. Months later when the pain is gone (hopefully) its easy to forget about these frustrating moments.
  3. Do not talk to the other driver’s insurance company. They will often send you information and call you in order to take your statement in order to minimize your recovery.  You should decline their attempts.
  4. Do not sign any papers that the other insurance company sends you. Remember for points 3 and 4 that the other driver’s insurance company is not working in your best interest.
  5. Send all correspondence from anyone or any company (including your own insurance company) to your attorney. A lawyer is the only person who is actually and legally completely on your side after an accident. A win for you is a win for them.
When clients come to Brooks & Crowley LLP after an accident, we understand that you are in crisis. Let us help you with our many years of experience in litigation and our results-oriented approach. Contributed by Laura Martin  

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Brooks & Crowley LLP serves clients throughout Massachusetts, and has offices in Dedham, Boston and Norwell


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