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Does a spouse have to pay for nursing home care?


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

#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 […]

Criminal Defense Attorney is Now in Quincy

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
Drug Crimes
Restraining Orders
Domestic Assault and Battery.
Probation Violation

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!

By |December 5th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

Non-Competition and Non-Solicitation Agreements

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, […]

By |November 2nd, 2018|Employment law|0 Comments|
  • marijuana OUI field sobriety test
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    Operating Under the Influence of Marijuana and Field Sobriety Testing

Operating Under the Influence of Marijuana and Field Sobriety Testing

Operating Under the Influence of Marijuana and Field Sobriety Testing
A Review of Commonwealth v. Thomas J. Gerhardt
In the recent decision,  the Supreme Judicial Court made a decision regarding the Admissibility of Standardized Field Sobriety Tests in cases involving a police officer’s suspicion of a driver that is operating under the influence of marijuana.   The decision reached by Review of Commonwealth v. Thomas J. Gerhardt answers the following questions. Commonwealth v. Gerhardt, SJC-11967, slip op. at 9 (Mass. Sep. 19, 2017).
May a police officer testify to the administration and results of standard field sobriety tests in prosecutions for Operating Under the Influence (OUI) Marijuana, as they do in OUI Alcohol prosecutions?
Short Answer:  No

Officers may only testify to the administration of “road side assessments”
Lack of scientific agreement on the results of the standardized field sobriety test for impairment does not make them irrelevant, though the relevance threshold is very low. at 13.
There is no doubt that an officer can testify to his or her observations, such as the driver’s appearance, demeanor, odors that are relevant to impairment.
Field Sobriety Tests CANNOT BE TREATED AS SCIENTIFIC TESTS that establish impairment as a result of marijuana consumption. The test should neither be treated as a definitive test of impairment nor should it be excluded from the entirety by the finder of facts. at 15.
A Police Officer need not be qualified as an expert. Tests can be admitted without satisfying the Daubert-Lanigan requirements.
The Officer cannot suggest that the defendant was under the influence of marijuana due to their performance on the field sobriety tests and cannot say the defendant PASSED or FAILED. at 16.
Must be made clear under all circumstances to the fact […]

Civil Commitment: A Way to Address America’s Opioid Crisis?

Civil Commitment: A Way to Address America’s Opioid Crisis?
Right now more people in America are dying of drug overdoses than car accident and gun related deaths combined. In the last 15 years more than half a million people across the country have died from drug overdoses. More than two-thirds of those are opioid related deaths. Across the country many states are utilizing, creating, or expanding statutes, to permit courts to involuntarily commit someone with a drug or alcohol addiction.

At Cohen Cleary, we are proud to announce that Attorney Kellie Sanders will be serving as a panelist and moderator for a Webinar through the American Bar Association, where she will be discussing the current opioid crisis, the status of involuntary commitment laws across the country, along with other treatment models that are being used to address the growing drug related crisis in America.

Attorney Sanders has extensive experience representing individuals who are the subject of involuntary commitment petitions in Massachusetts. She has represented nearly 100 people in these commitment hearings. In addition to her expertise representing clients in these hearings, she is also a published Author on this subject, “Nature and Utilization of Civil Commitment for Substance Abuse in the United States.”

For more information, or if you’d like to attend “Civil Commitment: A Way to Address America’s Opioid Crisis?” on 10/5/2017 please visit to register.


October 5, 2017

1:00 PM – 2:30 PM ET


1.50 General CLE Credit Hours


Kellie Sanders

Mary Catherine Roper

Zarah Levin-Fragasso


Center for Professional Development

Center on Children and the Law

Commission On Disability Rights

Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs

Criminal Justice Section

Division for Public Services

Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division

Health Law Section

Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants

Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice

Section of State and Local Government Law

Senior Lawyers Division

Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division

Youth at […]

By |September 19th, 2017|Top News|0 Comments|
  • How long do you have to file a personal injury claim
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    How long does it take to settle my car accident or personal injury case?

How long does it take to settle my car accident or personal injury case?

How long does it take to settle my car accident or personal injury case?
If a person is injured in a car accident in Massachusetts claims may be filed to pursue damages for those injuries. Those claims can be filed seeking damages from the insurance company that insures the vehicle you were in, from the “at fault” driver’s insurance company, or from any third parties who might be responsible.

In order to receive the compensation that you deserve it is first necessary to understand your injuries. In order to fully understand your injuries you should pursue immediate treatment, receive proper diagnostic evaluations, and pursuing ongoing medical treatment as necessary. Continued medical treatment is often necessary for injuries due to the nature of the injuries themselves. Continued treatment is also necessary to determine the severity and long term effects of your injuries. Without diagnostic evaluations, medical treatment, and the passage of time, it can be difficult or impossible to know if impairments or injuries from your accident could be permanent.

This often means that you should go through the process of receiving treatment, completing treatment, and identifying any permanent injuries before working to resolve your personal injury case. If you tried to settle your personal injury case before that process is complete you would not be able to receive the full compensation that you deserve. In order to receive the full compensation that you deserve it is necessary for you to complete treatment and determine the full scope, nature, and duration of your injuries. In other words, some lawyers might tell you they can settle your case “fast” but that is only possible if you are willing to accept less compensation than you deserve. For this reason, we […]

  • How long do you have to file a personal injury claim
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    What’s the statute of limitations for a car accident or personal injury case in Massachusetts?

What’s the statute of limitations for a car accident or personal injury case in Massachusetts?

What’s the statute of limitations for a car accident or personal injury case in Massachusetts?
If you are filing an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit, what is the statute of limitation, or deadline, to file a lawsuit for a car accident?

If a person is injured in a car accident in Massachusetts claims may be filed to pursue damages for those injuries. Those claims can be filed against the insurance company that insures the vehicle that you were riding in at the time of the accident, against the insurance company that insurer’s the “at fault” driver, or against any third parties who might be responsible.

The Massachusetts Public Safety Board shows over 120,000 motor vehicle accidents in Massachusetts each year.  Out of those accidents, over 4,000 accidents result in serious injuries. Often a person who was injured in a car accident or other accident may not fully realize the extent of their injuries. In order to realize the full extent of the injuries the injured individual must receive proper diagnostic evaluations and medical treatment, which takes time. As time passes while treatment is being obtained it is nevertheless important to be mindful of the applicable “statute of limitations.”

The claims process can be confusing and can take months or years to complete. Similarly, the process of receiving the necessary treatment for your injuries can also take months or years. For this reason, it is helpful to have an understanding of how the “statute of limitations” could impact your claim. The statute of limitations is the deadline to file a law suit. The statute of limitations in Massachusetts to file a lawsuit for damages in most situations is 3 years. This means that if your claim is not […]

6 Things To Do After A Car Accident

6 Things To Do After A Car Accident
Have you ever wondered what to do after a car accident? After a car accident you may experience confusion on what to do. This may be due to shock, a rush of adrenaline, or due to the injuries you suffered. You also may be worried about legal issues such as when and how to report the accident, who you should speak with about the accident, and how to file a claim. This blog is intended to provide some basic information to answer those questions. This will not only help you to avoid feeling confused but will also help to ensure that your rights are protected and will allow us to pursue the maximum amount of money possible to compensate you for your injuries.

Here is a compiled list of things to start doing immediately after an auto accident:

Call 911 and notify the police and emergency medical treatment providers;
Exchange insurance information with the at-fault driver but do not speak to the at-fault driver regarding why or how the accident happened;
Seek immediate medical treatment if necessary and follow the recommendations of your treatment providers;
Take photographs to document the location of the accident, the property damage, and any visible injuries;
Assemble all relevant documents (insurance declaration page, medical bills, police reports, crash operator reports, etc);
Contact Cohen Cleary before speaking with any insurance companies or signing any documents;

At Cohen Cleary, P.C. we have extensive experience in handling car accidents and other personal injury cases. Call us today to ensure that one of our skilled attorneys can fight to get you the money you deserve. Call us now at (508) 880-6677 for your free personal injury case consultation.

How much is my personal injury case worth?

How Much is My Personal Injury Case Worth?
After an auto accident, slip and fall, or any other type of accident that results in an injury, you may have thought about contacting an attorney. You may also have wondered “how much is my personal injury case worth?” The answer to this question involves careful consideration of the issue of liability (was the other party at fault) as well as a careful consideration of your “damages” or how you have been injured.

Damages resulting from your accident include compensation for bodily injury, pain and suffering, property damage, and payment for expenses. Calculating your entitlement to compensation must be done on a “case by case” basis as the damages are specific to your injuries and circumstances.
Compensation for Damages
 When you have been injured as the result of someone else’s negligence you have a legal right to pursue compensation for your injuries. If you have been injured as the result of someone’s negligence, the questions then becomes what are your “damages?”

When it comes to compensation for personal injury damages, an award for compensatory damages is meant to make the injured party “whole” again through the payment of funds to the injured individual by the at fault party. Therefore, carefully considering all possible damages is very important. Similarly, documenting all of your injuries resulting from an accident is also very important. Working with an experienced attorney as part of this process helps to ensure that you receive the highest possible payment for all of your damages.
Damages for Personal Injury Claims May Include:

Bodily injuries including exacerbation of pre-existing conditions;
Scarring and disfigurement;
Conscious pain and suffering;
Psychiatric injuries (such as PTSD, Traumatic brain injury, loss of memory or cognitive functioning);
Loss of Enjoyment;
Loss of consortium; and
Wrongful […]

Cohen Cleary, P.C.

Cohen Cleary, P.C.