Articles

November 26, 2018

Judge favors Village Dairy in Grafton liquor license dispute

By Lisa Redmond | The Grafton News WORCESTER – A superior court judge has ruled in favor of the owner of Village Dairy saying Grafton officials improperly withheld an alcohol license from the South Grafton convenience store, and that the state Alcohol Beverages Control Commission failed to respond to the town’s “willful thwarting″ of the licensing procedure. In a legal battle that began in 2014, Amjad Chaudry, owner of Arslan Inc., d/b/a Village Dairy at 167 Main St., filed a 2017 lawsuit against the Town of Grafton and the ABCC claiming he was improperly prohibited from renewing his liquor license. In April, each party asked Worcester Superior Court Judge William J. Ritter to rule on a request for a judgment. In his August decision, Ritter allowed Village Dairy’s motion for a favorable judgment and denied motions by the town and ABCC, sending the license back to the selectmen. Instead, on Oct. 10 the town filed a notice of appeal to the state Appeals Court, according to the court docket. In his decision, Ritter chastised the town for its actions in this case. Ritter accused town officials of “willful thwarting of the license renewal process.″ Ritter wrote in his decision that […]
November 14, 2018

How Are Child Custody and Visitation Established?

If you are going through a divorce and have children, child custody is arguably the most important matter you will have to deal with during the divorce proceedings. Although custody arrangements can be reviewed and modified until the child turns 18, it is very rare for custody to be changed from one parent to the other after the initial order has been established. This is why it is important to understand how custody and visitation (more often referred to as parenting time) will be determined. There are two types of custody, legal custody and physical custody. The parents may share both legal and physical custody, share legal custody but give one parent sole physical custody, or have one parent have sole primary and physical custody. As you will see below, even when one parent is granted sole custody, the other parent will still retain rights to the child. Legal Custody Legal custody relates solely to the decision-making rights regarding the child. A parent can have legal custody of a child without having physical custody. The parent with legal custody will have the authority to make decisions about the child’s medical, religious, and educational needs. If one parent is awarded sole […]
November 1, 2018

Would we benefit from a prenup?

My fiancé and I are not particularly wealthy, but we are established professionals. Should we get a prenup? You and your fiancé would be wise to consider a prenuptial agreement, or “prenup” as it has come You and your fiancé would be wise to consider a prenuptial agreement, or “prenup” as it has come to be known. In fact, most, if not all, couples would benefit from a prenuptial agreement. Objections to getting a prenuptial agreement usually come in one of two categories. The first kind asserts that there is no pressing need for the contract: “We don’t have anything financial worth fighting over.” The second appeals to sentiment: “It ruins the romance to talk about money” or, even more wishful, “We’re sure we won’t get divorced.” While no one goes into a marriage planning to get divorced, even the most optimistic couple should acknowledge that divorce is a possibility. While the statistics vary, a good number of American marriages will end in their dissolution by divorce. The wise bride and groom will have to address this possibility on their way into matrimony, rather than deal with the consequences of exiting matrimony unprepared. Even if you have “nothing worth fighting […]
October 14, 2018

Massachusetts Law: Divorce, Custody, and Child Protection

Massachusetts General Law (MGL) 208 covers divorce. This chapter of the laws of the Commonwealth describe everything from the definition of divorce to alimony, child support, and custody issues. Section 31A pertains to visitation and custody in the best interest of a child and covers abuse of parent or child. The best interest of the child is the primary determining factor in awarding custody. An abusive parent may not be awarded sole custody, shared legal custody, or shared physical custody. Custody arrangements must be in the best interest of the child. If one of the parents in a divorce or custody dispute has a history of being an abusive parent, then the court may deny custody or visitation or place restrictions. The court may order supervised visitation for the abusive parent. The abusive parent may be ordered to attend a certified batterer’s treatment program. They are often ordered to refrain from alcohol and other controlled substance during and up to 24 hours before a scheduled visitation. They may also be restricted from overnight visitation. The court may impose any other condition to provide for the safety of the child. Restraining orders are often issued when there is a request for […]
October 2, 2018

Understanding Your Rights in a Car Accident: Massachusetts Personal Injury Claims Explained

You could be driving down route 9 in Framingham during rush hour when suddenly a person driving a large SUV whips into your lane and causes you to rear-end him. However, there were multiple witnesses who reported to Massachusetts State Police that the other driver was speeding. Three witnesses reported he was weaving in and out of traffic. Suddenly, what could have been your fault is a clear case of reckless driving, but, thank goodness, people were willing to share what they saw with the police. Now, you’re laid up in a nearby hospital awaiting surgery for multiple hip and leg fractures. This type of car accident is more common on Massachusetts highways than one might think. How Much Time Do You Have to File a Lawsuit? A car accident can be devastating, causing you and your dependents to lose your economic stability due to debilitating injuries. In Massachusetts, there is a statute of limitations that limits how long you have to file your claim. Here, as an injured victim, you will typically have three years beginning on the accident date to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party and his or her insurance company. Your lawsuit may be for […]
August 8, 2018

Mediate, Collaborate or Litigate in Divorce?

There are three ways to get divorced. The first is mediation. The husband and wife meet with a third party neutral, who is usually a lawyer or retired judge, to craft a Separation Agreement that meets their needs. Customarily, the issues are child support, alimony, parenting plan and division of the marital estate. The marital estate may include the marital home, investment accounts and marital debt. Sometimes the lawyers play an important role behind the scenes advising their clients on whether the proposed agreement is in their best interests. If the husband and wife trust each other, and that is a big “if,” then mediation can work. When the issues get complicated or more contentious, however, the husband and wife should consider a second option. This is the collaborative approach where they retain their own legal counsel through-out the entire negotiation. The trust factor is as critical here as it is in a mediated divorce. In a collaborative divorce, the husband and wife have their own legal counsel but agree not to litigate or threaten to go to court if the negotiations go sideways. If one party goes to court, then the collaborative law agreement states that the parties will […]
August 7, 2018

Is the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission Going to Enforce the Cap on Host Community Agreements?

The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission is finally putting some teeth into enforcement of the practice of cities and towns trying to extract additional fees from recreational marijuana businesses. At present, the law requires that recreational marijuana businesses obtain a “Host Community Agreement.” In other words, the marijuana operators must negotiate with the municipality to get their approval before they can locate their business within the community. This has opened up a point of leverage for the cities and towns to exploit their power. The Host Community Agreement allows the municipality to get a fee of up to 3 percent of their gross sales from the marijuana operators. Since the businesses must get the consent of the municipality when it applies for a license, the municipalities have used this opportunity to demand “voluntary” fees in excess of the 3 percent cap. As the Boston Globe reported recently, the municipalities are probably breaking the law.
July 9, 2018

Applying for an Alcohol License in Massachusetts

The first consideration in applying for an alcohol license in Massachusetts is to find-out if one is available. This may seem obvious but there are many factors to determine this. First, can the license be purchased from the city or town where it is located? The number of licenses available is determined by a quota system. The second question is what type of license is being sought? The availability of a license is determined in part by the type of license. Is it for a restaurant, club, hotel, package store, or other type of business? Is it a beer and wine license, or an all-alcohol license? If a license is unavailable from the city or town, then the applicant will have to purchase a license from a private party. The price will be based on the law of supply and demand. Licenses purchased from a private party are usually more expensive than those from a municipality. Once the application is made, detailed financial and personal disclosures are required. Residence and citizenship matter.
May 26, 2016

Massachusetts Car Accident Expenses – Who pays for what

You’ve been in a serious car accident along the busy roads of Greater Boston. The damage to your vehicle is great, but that doesn’t measure to the pain you’ve suffered from your injuries. Not only is your car totaled, but you’re about to receive numerous medical bills for thousands of dollars. Who pays for what? Medical Bills The state of Massachusetts follows the “no fault” system. When injury occurs from a car accident, automobile insurance will pay up to $2,000 of the medical bills. After that $2,000, either your healthcare coverage, or P.I.P.(Personal Injury Protection) if you did not have health insurance during the accident, will cover the amount appropriate with the insurance you bought. However, P.I.P. will only cover up to $8,000. In addition to P.I.P., Medical Payments (“MedPay”) coverage may also be available to cover medical bills. Unllike P.I.P., which is compulsory, MedPay is optional. In other words, your policy may have it but it is not required. MedPay is a good supplement to P.I.P. and healthcare coverage and having it may reduce your exposure to having to repay the costs incurred by the health insurance carrier when a case settles.
March 4, 2016

Town of Grafton, Massachusetts tries to permanently suspend beer and wine license of local business

My client, Village Dairy in Grafton, Massachusetts had served alcohol to a minor during a sting operation in 2013.  The Town of Grafton tried to suspend their beer and wine license permanently because this had happened before.  I successfully appealed the decision to the ABCC in Boston.  The ABCC directed the Town of Grafton to reinstate the license.  The town refused.  I successfully re-appealed the decision.  The ABCC again directed the town to reinstate the license but the town refused.  At that point, I asked the ABCC to reinstate the license, which the ABCC did in 2015. The Post Office Pub story is about a restaurant in Grafton which had multiple violations for selling to an underage minor but in that case, the town only suspended its license for three days.  The issue is why the selectmen gave The Post Office Pub a slap on the wrist but decided to punish my client, Village Dairy, with a permanent revocation of its license.