We have been practicing law in Boston and throughout Massachusetts since 1985. I have represented clients in District Courts, Superior Courts, the Appeals Court, Housing Court, Probate Courts, Federal Bankruptcy Court and the Federal District Court.
The Right-to-Repair campaign that was supposedly settled back in 2013 has come to the forefront again and is on the November ballot for Massachusetts residents as Question 1. In 2013, the voters overwhelmingly passed a state law allowing owners and independent auto repair shops to have access to a vehicle’s computer information data. That law lacked teeth, however, since a provision in the measure excluded access to telematics, which is repair and diagnostic data that is sent to the auto dealer. This is information that the aftermarket repair shops contend will make them competitive with the dealers. Without it, they argue, they will be limited in what repairs they can make and will lose business and ultimately cause independent repair shops to close down.
Do you want a perfect 850 FICO score? Well only 1% of folks have it and it just got more complicated to reach that goal. The new scoring may divide the high scorers from the bottom folks more than ever. Note that currently only about 20% of Americans have a credit score above 800. The biggest change is how your payment history trends to create a “smoothing effect” over time. The effect may be that auto lenders may approve of more applicants. Once in effect, this will help folks who have filed for bankruptcy protection and work hard to build up their credit.
It is not clear what the long-term ramifications are following the historic coronavirus pandemic. What is an unfortunate consequence is that many folks in Massachusetts may need to consider filing for personal bankruptcy. Attorney Neil Burns recalls that when the federal bankruptcy laws changed in 2005 there was a dramatic increase in Chapter 7 filings. When the Crash of 2008 happened, Attorney Burns and his firm filed all too many bankruptcies for families in the months and years thereafter. In each wave of bankruptcies, the “fresh start” law was proven helpful.
Not generally. You must insure each property as a typical homeowner’s insurance policy or apartment policy insured that property alone. However, and there’s always an exclusion or interpretation based on the facts of the case and the specific policy, sometimes it’s the negligence of the homeowner that is the issue, and that may trigger insurance coverage at another property or elsewhere.
In the 34 years I have been practicing bankruptcy law in Massachusetts, we have been informing clients that their Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) are generally exempt from creditors in bankruptcy. As are 401ks, Keogh plans, and so forth. You simply declare on your Petition and Schedules what your retirement accounts are, provide documentation as to the balances, and the bankruptcy trustee considers them exempt from your creditors.
The number of seniors coming to our office for consultations for Chapter 7 personal bankruptcies is rising. After 33 years of practicing bankruptcy law in Massachusetts, I have antidotal evidence of trends in filings. After the 2008 recession, we had a huge rise of middle age and middle-income folks who came in and just could not afford their mortgage payments. They defaulted on home loans, were forced to move out, but got a Fresh Start, under federal bankruptcy law.
Personal bankruptcy lawyers in Massachusetts are entrusted with their clients’ personal information and access to their financial assets. Some attorneys also have clients’ monies in their Massachusetts IOLTA (Interest On Lawyers Trust Account) accounts. We must have the absolute highest integrity when working for our clients in this capacity. We have a fiduciary responsibility.
Many consumers who have settled insurance claims are perplexed when they hear of other claimants receiving more in settlements for property damage or pain and suffering for their injuries that they did for very similar claims. While not every accident or claim is the same and you can always point out differences in the nature and extent of injuries or property damage, there are additional factors to consider in determining if you are getting the most for the premiums you are paying.
Do attorneys have an ethical obligation to state the law accurately? Even if there is an opposing attorney that works for the Bankruptcy Court? Is it legal malpractice? Given the political season, you might think that it is up to the judge (or the media in the political realm) to determine if pleadings by an attorney advocating for his or her client are accurate. However a decision by the First Circuit Court of Appeals confirmed that a Massachusetts attorney who misstated the law, could, and in fact should, be sanctioned.