Who Let the Dogs Out: Massachusetts Dog Owner Liability and Dog Bite Injury Laws
Injuries from Dog Bites are Common and Often Serious
Every year, approximately 4.7 million Americans are victims of a dog bite attack. About 60% of all dog bite victims are children and 77% of all dog bite injuries to children under 10 tend to be facial. Around 12 individuals die from dog bite incidents annually. In 2019, 14 year old Ryan Hazel from Dighton, Massachusetts, was tragically killed on May 9, 2019 after being attacked by a number of dogs, and in April 2019, a Taunton woman and her dog were attacked by six pitbulls—resulting in severe injuries to the woman and the death of the woman’s dog. In 2012, dog bites accounted for about one-third of all homeowners insurance liability claims with a total cost of $489 million. So what should the public be aware of—both as dog owners and as individuals who may simply come into contact with a dog—regarding Massachusetts Dog Owner Liability and Dog Bite Injury Laws? We have outlined below a brief synopsis of what you should be informed and provide answers to some frequently asked questions:
Massachusetts Law on Dog Bites
Massachusetts has its own statute covering dog bites, M.G.L. c. 140, Section 155. This statute states “If any dog shall do any damage to either the body or property of any person, the owner or keeper, or if the owner or keeper be a minor, the parent or guardian of such minor, shall be liable for such damage, unless such damage shall have been occasioned to the body or property of a person who, at the time such damage was sustained, was committing a trespass or […]
Who Let the Dogs Out: Massachusetts Dog Owner Liability and Dog Bite Injury Laws
Major Changes to Massachusetts Law on Non-Compete Agreements
Non-Compete Agreements are contracts entered into by both employer and employee regarding post-employment activities. The Agreement is used to limit an employee in their future employment options. These limitations may include whether you can leave your current position and immediately work in a competing field or by prohibiting you from taking other employees/customers with you when you leave, all for an agreed upon amount of time.
In October 2018, the newly enacted reform to the Massachusetts Non—Compete law took effect, extending wide benefits to those employees subject to a non-compete, while eliminating non-competes for certain types of employees. First, the law only affects those contracts that were entered into AFTER October 1, 2018 and only affects non-competition agreements and not other forms of restrictive covenants. Additionally, a non-compete that is in effect DURING employment is likewise not affected.
There were several major changes to the law which will affect both business and employees equally. The new law includes the elimination of non-competes for non-exempt hourly employees, thus establishing that qualified salaried employees are the only employees that may be subject to a non-compete. Additionally, a non-compete for a salaried employee cannot extend longer than one year (with a few exceptions) and will not be enforceable if the employee is terminated without cause or is laid off. A new employee must be presented with a non-compete agreement at least ten (10) days prior to their start date or when a formal offer is presented and must be signed by both the employer and employee and contain a clause providing the employee with the right to have counsel review. The last major change and perhaps the most substantial is the inclusion of a “garden leave” provision in […]
There has been a growing trend in the Massachusetts Probate and Family Courts in the philosophy that parents should, barring certain circumstances, have shared physical custody of their minor children. In this firm, we have seen a trend of parents who ask for what’s “fair” or “half of the time”. However, a parenting plan is dynamic and may not always appear to be equal. Custody is possible to share but whether it’s in the best interest of the child(ren) is determined by the parties or ultimately the Court.
Physical custody is defined by where the children reside and who is responsible for making the day-to-day decisions regarding the children. Traditionally in a divorce, it was automatically presumed the mother was the primary caretaker of the children during the relationship/marriage and therefore, she was awarded primary physical custody of the children. In Paternity cases, (where the parties are unmarried) under the law, it still is presumed to be the Mother.
With that said, times are changing. Women are working and becoming more and more financially independent. With that, father’s rights have come to the forefront and courts have started to analyze the question, “why not?”. If we have two working, capable, and loving parents – who both work, rely on others for various caretaking tasks and chores, what’s the tie breaker? We see that there are more dual-income families, there has been a real shift in a shared parenting plans. Children perform better when parents can continue their relationship post-divorce. Clearly, this is not the same husband/wife relationship but the relationship should evolve to a co-parenting relationship. This is what is required to have a successful shared physical custody plan. The Courts have seen an increase in shared […]
In addition to Paid Family and Medical Leave, the act signed by Governor Baker on June 28, 2018, the act also increases the minimum wage in Massachusetts and eliminates the Premium Pay for retail establishments on Sundays.
By the year 2023 the basic Massachusetts minimum wage will be $15.00 an hour and the tipped minimum wage will be $6.75 per hour, a dramatic increase from the current amounts of $11.00 an hour and $4.35 per hours. These amounts will not increase over night but will rather gradually increase beginning in January 2020.
January 1, 2020 = $12.75 per hour; $4.95 per hour (tipped);
January 1, 2021 = $13.50 per hour; $5.55 per hour (tipped);
January 1, 2022 = $14.25 per hour; $6.15 per hour (tipped); and
January 1, 2023 = $15.00 per hours; $6.75 per hour (tipped)
As a form of compromise for the increase in minimum wage and paid family medical leave, the act also will affect employees of retail establishments by gradually eliminating the “time and half” payment of wages on Sundays.
January 1, 2019 = 1.4 x the employee’s regular rate of pay;
January 1, 2020 = 1.3 times the employee’s regular rate of pay;
January 1, 2021 = 1.2 times the employee’s regular rate of pay;
January 1, 2022 = 1.1 times the employee’s regular rate of pay; and
January 1, 2023 = Employees regular rate of pay
The new changes to law will not affect an employee’s ability to refuse to work on Sundays as previously allowed. The prohibitions against discrimination and retaliation regarding an employee’s right to refuse to work on Sundays will remain in full force and effect.
Authored by Eric B. Langfield, Esq.
On June 28, 2018, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed a new comprehensive law that will require that employees in Massachusetts receive paid family and medical leave. Previously, Massachusetts employees were only afforded unpaid leave for family and medical issues, usually stemming from either the MPLA, the Massachusetts Parental Leave Act (formerly the MMLA, Massachusetts Maternity Leave Act) or from the Federal FMLA, Family Medical Leave Act.
The new act will allow for employees to receive a portion of their pay for up to twelve (12) weeks of paid leave to care for an ill family member or for the birth (or adoption) of a child. The act will also allow for up to twenty (20) weeks of paid leave to care for their own serious medical issues. The benefit amount will be determined based upon a percentage of the employee’s weekly income, but will not exceed $850.00 per week.
While the law has been signed into law the formalities of the new act have yet to implemented. On March 31, 2019 the first set of proposed regulations will be published which will allow for more guidance on how the new law will affect employers. On or about July 1, 2019, the Commonwealth will begin collecting a new payroll tax of 0.63% to help pay for this very generous benefit. Employees will be able to utilize this new benefit beginning January 1, 2021.
In addition to creating paid family and medical leave, the act also places a strong retaliation provision for employers who unfairly retaliate against an employee for engaging in this new program.
There is a long-established principal of law that holds that spouses are jointly and severally liable for debts incurred to third-parties for “necessities” (i.e., common-law doctrine of necessaries). Essentially, under the doctrine of necessities, a spouse is equally responsible for payment of a debt incurred for the provision of life’s essentials. For example, a husband is equally responsible for a debt incurred exclusively by his wife (i.e., husband was not a party to the transaction) for groceries or housing.
The Massachusetts legislature has enacted a law codifying this common-law doctrine, Mass. Gen. Laws. ch 209, § 1 (“G.L. ch. 209”). Under G.L. ch. 209, “spouses shall be liable jointly or severally for debts incurred on account of necessaries furnished to either spouse or to a member of their family.” While the G.L. ch. 209 does not define “necessities”, Massachusetts’ Supreme Judicial Court has stated, when discussing the common-law doctrine, that the term is “not confined to articles of food or clothing required to sustain life, but has a much broader meaning and includes such articles for use by a wife as are suitable to maintain her according to the property and condition in life of her husband.” Jordan Marsh Co. v. Cohen, 242 Mass. 245, 249 (1922).
Consequently, the Courts have found that necessities include nursing home care. See Mediplex of Mass., Inc. v. Donovan, 1994 Mass.App.Div. 123, 1994 WL 361967 (1994) and Emerson Vill., LLC v. Jode, No. MICV201201736F, 2012 WL 6928123 (Mass. Super. Dec. 15, 2012). In Emerson, husband and wife (“Husband” and “Wife”) were a long-married couple. In April 2010, Husband was admitted to skilled nursing facility (“Nursing Home”) for long term care. Husband applied for MassHealth long term care benefits (“Benefits”) to […]
#MeToo Movement in Massachusetts
In October 2017 the nation was hit with a movement that was drastically overdue, the #MeToo movement. The movement was a viral sensation in which victims of sexual harassment came forward in droves to proclaim that they too have been victims, many of whom shared their stories in hopes that it would bring attention to sexual harassment and would likewise encourage others who have not reported their sexual harassment to come forward.
One of the most important aspects to the #MeToo movement is letting victims of sexual harassment to know that they are not alone. Too often victims feel as though they will be ostracized and retaliated against for coming forward. The #MeToo movement has brought this issue to the forefront of discrimination and has empowered victims to no longer remain silent.
In Massachusetts, M.G.L. c. 151B operates to make sexual harassment in the workplace unlawful. In general, there are two main areas of sexual harassment, Quid Pro Quo (this for that), and hostile work environment sexual harassment. Quid Pro Quo consists of a person with authority over another using that authority to force the victim into committing sexual acts that they otherwise would not have performed. For example, conditioning a raise or promotion upon the acceptance of sexual advances. Hostile work environment sexual harassment exists when unwanted comments, action and sexual advances exist and cause an interference with one’s ability to perform their job. Both are unlawful and can subject the perpetrators and their employers to various forms of damages.
If you believe that you have been a victim of unlawful sexual harassment it is important that you make a complaint right away. In addition to providing your employer with important information that […]
Your Criminal Defense Attorney is Now in Quincy!
Cohen Cleary, P.C. has added a new criminal defense location to southeastern Massachusetts. We now offers our legal experience to Quincy, MA along with the surrounding communities from our office at:
21 Franklin St., 3rd Fl, Quincy, MA.
With a comprehensive law enforcement background, we pride ourselves with our criminal defense experience that allows us to defend your rights zealously.
Out of the vast areas of criminal charges we handle, some of the primary practice areas our Trial Lawyers focus on include:
Operating Under the Influence/Drunk Driving
Domestic Assault and Battery.
For any of these issues, we can be reached day or night at cell# (508) 269-3051 or during business hours you can call our main office line at (508) 880-6677.
If you or someone you know requires a defense attorney at our new location in Quincy, or at any of our other locations in Raynham and Plymouth, please contact us to discuss the possibility of retaining our firm to assist in your criminal defense.
With an emphasis on honest representation, knowledge of the law and trial advocacy, this practice is committed to understanding each client’s unique circumstances, setting a plan of action, and getting results. Call us today!
Non-Compete (or Non-Competition) Agreements and Non-Solicit (or Non-Solicitation) Agreements, are contracts entered into by an employee and employer regarding future activities once the employment relationship has ended. These Agreements will be used to limit your future employment for a set period of time, whether it be in a selected field that directly competes with your former employer or by prohibiting your ability to leave and take employees or customers with you.
Generally, these agreements are governed by the state in which the contract is entered into, unless the agreement specifically dictates another state (choice of law provision). Massachusetts currently possesses no general non-compete agreement laws. However, it can be said that Massachusetts courts generally disfavor non-compete agreements and will err on the side of caution in favor of employees when disputes arise due to the fact that employer has a stronger bargaining position when entering into an agreement and the courts do not want to deprive an employee’s ability to earn a living.
When deciding whether a non-compete or non-solicit agreement are enforceable, the courts will look to determine the extent that they are necessary to protect the employer’s legitimate interests while not interfering with ordinary competition and only if “reasonably limited in time and space, and consistent with public interest.” As such, a covenant not to compete and other restrictive covenants must not be more restrictive than necessary to achieve its purpose.
If you are asked to enter into a Non-Compete Agreement or other restrictive covenant before you enter into your employment relationship, it is often a wise investment to have this agreement reviewed by a trained professional so that you understand the agreement you are making and its potential impact on your future employment. Likewise, […]