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Is a Binding Contract Hitting Send? Review of Feldberg V Coxall

Joseph Coupal - Friday, January 25, 2013
The Massachusetts Middlesex Superior court has applied the Uniform Electronic Transaction Act (“UETA”) in Feldberg v Coxall. The statute was implemented to bridge a gap between the centuries- old laws used to govern contracts, and the modern digital age. Here, Justice Wilkens concluded that since the circumstances supported an intention by both parties to be bound in an agreement, that when applied in this dispute the UETA could allow the signature block or the ‘from” field on an email to satisfy the record element of a land sale agreement. For the contract between a buyer and seller of land to be held up in court, Massachusetts law requires that there be a “writing” or a record of that agreement. UETA allows this standard to include electronic records. Therefore if a seller and buyer make an agreement through email, they may have created a record. The conduct of the parties is still primary, and Courts look for behavior from both sides to show an intention to be bound. This case is still waiting to be heard on its merits, but Justice Wilkens was clear in his opinion on the electronic signature. He denied dismissal based on the recorded contract being through email, and accordingly the land was attached to the lawsuit. If you find yourself in the exciting transition of buying or selling a home, don’t go through it alone. Laws are always changing and the consequences of seemingly innocuous actions can be significant. Contact a real estate lawyer at Brooks & Crowley LLP to help you navigate through the process. Contributed by Laura Martin

Jacksonville Jaguar Pleads Guilty to Drunk Driving

Joseph Coupal - Friday, July 27, 2012
The Jacksonville Jaguars draft, Justin Blackmon pled guilty to a drunk driving charge in Oklahoma in a deal to avoid jail time.  He was arrested at a traffic stop where his blood alcohol content was three times the legal limit. His punishment was a $500 dollar fine and a deferred sentence of one year, meaning he will serve no jail time if he fulfills the terms of his sentence.  He is also required to complete 50 hours of community service.

FIRST OFFENSE DUI

Joseph Coupal - Friday, July 27, 2012
New York Knicks star, Jason Kidd was arrested for drunk driving after crashing his SUV into a telephone pole in the Hamptons.  He was released without bail after being arraigned on a drunk driving misdemeanor charge.  See full story here. In Massachusetts, a first offense for OUI/DUI has a penalty of not more than 2 ½ years in the House of Correction, a fine between $500 and $5000, and a license suspension for one year.  The alternative disposition for a first offense DUI is pleading to a continuance without a finding, unsupervised probation for one year, participation in a 16 week alcohol/drug education program paid for by defendant, and a license suspension for 45-90 days, and for 210 days for drivers under the age of 21. A DUI is a serious offense.  If you are facing a DUI or OUI, you need an experienced attorney to help defend your case.  Contact the attorneys at Brooks & Crowley to obtain the legal expertise you need.

Recent Injuries Spark Increased Patrolling

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, July 26, 2012
State Police will be increasing their patrol along Route 24 and Route 1-95 after many deadly and tragic crashes this month.  Recent incidents include a car flip near exit 19 and a pickup truck, which burst into flames after a head on collision.  Full Story Here. If you have been a victim of a negligent or reckless car accident, contact the attorneys at Brooks & Crowley and receive the sound legal advice and expertise to assist you with your claim.

Antipsychotic Drugs in Nursing Homes?

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, July 26, 2012
A recent study obtained by the Globe shows that many nursing homes, especially in Massachusetts, use antipsychotic drugs on Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients in order to pacify them.  Statistics show that one in five nursing homes administer these drugs to many patients, despite the patients not having a mental psychosis illness that warrants their use.  These medications are not without drawbacks.   The side effects include an increased risk of lethal infections, cardiovascular complications, dizziness, drop in blood pressure, blurred vision and urinary problems.    Using these prescriptions are contrary to the federal nursing home regulators’ recommendations. The intent of the antipsychotic pills is to treat those with severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia.  There are black box warnings about the side effects of these drugs when used by patients with Dementia. Two years ago, Massachusetts ranked as one of the states with the highest use of nursing home residents receiving antipsychotics.  Studies show there is a correlation between homes that use drugs for conditions not recommended by regulators and having fewer nurses to administer direct care.  The suspected reason behind this correlation is that keeping patients with dementia claim requires direct care and is time consuming. See full article.

30,000 Pounds of Beef Recalled

Joseph Coupal - Monday, July 23, 2012
Consumers that shop at Hannaford Supermarkets should be on the lookout for ground beef produced by Cargill Beef.  The company is recalling nearly 30,000 pounds of ground beef due to fears of salmonella contamination.  The beef was produced in Pennsylvania on May 25th and repackaged for sale to consumers.  Customers should check beef that is marked for “use or sell by” May 29thand June 16th. See full story. If you have purchased beef marked between these dates, refunds are available.  If you have been exposed to salmonella poisoning after consuming this beef from Cargill Beef, contact Brooks & Crowley to see your legal recourse.

Foreclosures on the Rise

Joseph Coupal - Friday, July 13, 2012
The number of foreclosures on US homes are high.  The April-June period saw 311,010 properties begin the foreclosure process, which is about a 9% increase from the previous quarter.  In June, foreclosure filings had risen for the second consecutive month.  RealtyTrac stated that, “In the first six months of the year, homes in some stage of the foreclosure process — default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions — topped one million.” The highest foreclosure rates are found in Nevada, followed by Arizona, Georgia, California, and Florida. The high number of foreclosures has been a contributing factor to the low home prices, as buyers are able to purchase homes for prices that are much less than what the normal market value would be.  The increased foreclosures in the first part of the year will likely result to increased short sales and bank repossessions in the second part of the year. If you are facing foreclosure, contact an attorney.  The sooner you contact an attorney the better your chances are avoiding foreclosure.  Contact the law offices of Brooks & Crowley to see what seasoned legal advice our attorneys can offer you.

BREATHALYZER TESTS & PROPER PROCEDURE

Joseph Coupal - Monday, July 09, 2012
In a recent case, Kasper v. Registrar of Motor Vehicles, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court held that the RMV properly revoked Kasper’s license after he was stopped for drunk driving back in 2010. When the incident occurred, Kasper took the breathalyzer test once, registering at .18 percent, which is above the legal BAC of .08 percent.  After being given the test five more times, he still had not provided a valid sample, leading to the conclusion that Kasper had refused to provide the second sample, as he could not provide a reason why only the first test is valid. Massachusetts regulations provide that a driver must produce two adequate breath samples, and a failure to comply will be “noted as a refusal.”  501 Code Mass. Regs. § 2.16.  Additionally, the burden rests on the driver to show that he did not refuse to submit to the breathalyzer test.  540 Code Mass. Regs. § 11.02(5)(b) (1996). The case is notable because the Supreme Judicial Court clarified the avenue of appeal where a driver has allegedly refused a chemical test:  following a hearing with the Registrar of Motor Vehicles, the driver who does not prevail must file a a petition for certiorari to the Superior Court, not the district court where the DUI case is pending. If you have had your license revoked based on a breathalyzer refusal, the procedure may have been improper.  Contact the attorneys at Brooks & Crowley and we can offer you over 30 years of legal expertise to defend your case.

Facing Foreclosure? Mediation May Be An Option

Joseph Coupal - Friday, July 06, 2012
Foreclosure mediation programs have been gaining popularity in various states.  Studies suggest they help people lower their monthly payments to allow people to keep their homes rather than defaulting on payments.  Data on their effectiveness is patchy, but figures from some programs suggest they help some people to lower their monthly payments, allowing them to keep their homes and avoid defaulting again.  Foreclosure sales are tough on them market by weighing on home prices and having a long, lengthy process.  Critics of mediation believe that the housing market would mend more quickly to just clear out foreclosure cases and evict millions of families, but mediation proponents feel that mediation can provide an alternative, less painful route.  Full article here. Massachusetts does have a mediation program in place.  If you are facing dangers of foreclosure, contact the attorneys at Brooks & Crowley and see how we can help you.

The Dangers of Fireworks

Joseph Coupal - Friday, July 06, 2012
Although fireworks are legal in New Hampshire, this past Tuesday 11 people were injured as a result of a backyard explosion in Pelham after fireworks exploded.  Investigators found 90 boxes of fireworks in the house.  Fireworks are a popular entertainment device used throughout the summer months, not just limited to Independence Day celebrations.  There are dozens of injuries that result from these explosives every summer, as demonstrated by the Pelham, NH incident. It is important to remember that fireworks are illegal in the state of Massachusetts.  The punishment for selling or keeping for sale fireworks in MA is punishable by fine of not less than one hundred dollars nor more than one thousand dollars or by imprisonment for not more than one year or both.  The punishment for possession or use of fireworks in Massachusetts is a fine of not less than ten dollars nor more than one hundred dollars.  For a definition of what “firework” includes in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, refer to General Laws Chapter 148 Section 39.

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