Law Office of Isaac J. Mass -- Greenfield, Massachusuetts
 
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In Massachusetts, the Commonwealth has established strict firearm storage statutes and regulations.  If someone does not follow those requirements and their weapon is stolen and then used in a shooting.  The firearms original owner or the owner of the property where the firearm was stored may be liable.

That is what happened in Jupin v. Kask, 447 Mass. 141, 142 (2006).  The defendant shared her home with a gun collector who kept his guns in a cabinet. The gun collector’s son, who had a history of violence and mental instability, had a key to the house and was given full access to the property.  The son removed screws from the lock on the cabinet, stole a gun, and used it to shoot a police officer. The court held that the theft and subsequent use of the gun were foreseeable and that, as a matter of public policy, “there is a significant social benefit to be realized by recognizing a duty of the person in control of the premises to exercise due care with regard to the storage of guns on the premises, particularly with respect to those who have been granted regular access to it.” Jupin v. Kask, 447 Mass. at 153.

If you or a love one has been injured by a stolen firearm, you may have a claim against the original owner.  Each case is very fact dependent.  For a free consultation contact the law office of Isaac J. Mass


 
 
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When you sell alcohol to someone who is intoxicated, personal injury or death due to drunken driving on the highways is foreseeable.

“A violation of a criminal statute is some evidence of the defendant’s negligence as to all consequences the statute was intended to prevent.” Adamian v. Three Sons, Inc., 353 Mass. 498, 499 (1968).

When you sell alcohol to a minor you may also reasonably infer that that minor is going to drink the alcohol.  It is also foreeable that those minors will share alcohol with other minors who might then drive.   

“While evidence of a sale of alcohol to a minor in violation of a statute does not, standing alone, establish a prima facie case of negligence, evidence of such a sale can be used to support a finding of negligence.” Zinck v. Gateway Country Store, Inc., 72 Mass. App. Ct. 571, 577 (2008) (citation omitted).

If you have been injured by a drunk driver, sometimes there is not adequate insurance to cover your damages.  You may have other sources to recover from other than the driver and their insurance company.   The source of the alcohol may have acted negligently when providing it.  For a free consultation, contact the Law Office of Isaac J. Mass.


 
 
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Patrons of a bar have a special relationship with the establishment because of the service of alcohol.  It is not uncommon for people to get heated in a tavern or night club.  These clubs and bars have a duty to prevent harm to patrons.  Telling the rowdy parties to take it outside is not enough.

In 2003 the court found where a doorman knew that antagonism between
two groups of patrons that began in the tavern had festered to the point of violence outside on the street, they had a duty to take reasonable steps to prevent foreseeable
harm by calling the police. Christopher v. Father’s Huddle Cafe, Inc., 57 Mass. App. Ct. 217, 225 (2003).

Where you injured by other bar patrons after leaving the club?  You may have a cause of action against the bar and their insurance company.  For a free consultation, contact the Law Office of Isaac J. Mass.

 
 
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How bad does a car accident have to be before it is worth a law suit?  That is a hard question to answer.  Often there are many damages that you don’t think of right away, lost wages and the cost of a rental car for example.  Pain and Suffering can be a big factor as well.

Massachusetts General Laws c. 231, § 6D. Section 6D generally restricts recovery of damages for pain and suffering to cases in which the injured party’s  “reasonable and necessary” medical expenses are over $2,000.   In Lima v. Marshall, 70 Mass. App. Ct. 424, 425–27 (2007), the Appeals Court affirmed summary judgment entered against the plaintiff based on her failure to reach the monetary threshold for motor vehicle cases required by the statute.

While it is definitely possible to get recovery from an insurance company when you have less than $2,000 in medical bills, you can expect a much smaller recovery.  $2,000 is not a hard threshold to meet.  Remember you may have the cost of an ambulance ride,  additionally the court looks at the total costs not what you pay after insurance.

If you have had an auto accident and want to know if you should consider bringing a claim, contact the Law Office of Isaac J. Mass for a free consultation.


 
 
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Sometimes people hand over the keys to the wrong person.  They know that that person should not be driving.  When you are injured by that driver’s negligent or intentional actions, you not only have a claim against the driver, but the person who gave them the keys.

To establish a negligent entrustment claim, you must be able to show that

(1) the defendant entrusted a vehicle to an incompetent or unfit person whose incompetence or unfitness was the cause of the your injuries;

(2) the persons who owned and controlled the vehicle gave specific or general permission to the operator to drive the automobile; and

(3) the defendant had actual knowledge of the incompetence or unfitness of the operator to drive the vehicle.

Picard v. Thomas, 60 Mass. App. Ct. 362, 369 (2004). Compare, e.g., Mitchell v. Hastings & Koch Enters., Inc., 38 Mass. App. Ct. 271, 276–78 (1995) (accident caused by friend with poor driving record and suspended license), with Dovner v. Edelman, 72 Mass. App. Ct. 904, 905–06 (2008) (accident caused by person taking car for “joyrides” without owner’s knowledge).

If you have been injured by someone driving an automobile, make sure you have an attorney who goes after every person who played a role in your injury.  For a free consultation about automobile accidents, contact the Law Office of Isaac J. Mass at 413-774-0123.


 
 
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August 1st 2013, Massachusetts adopted new child support guidelines for the Probate and Family Court.  While the court reviews guidelines every four years, these changes are the most sweeping in some time.  the most significant changes are:

  • Income from means tested benefits such as SSI, TAFDC, and SNAP are excluded for both parties from the calculation of their support obligations.
  • Availability of employment at the attributed income level must be considered in attribution of income cases.  (i.e. if you can work as a nuclear scientist, but they just closed Vermont Yankee the closure is a factor to be considered).
  • The text makes clear that all, some, or none of income from secondary jobs or overtime may be considered by the court, regardless of whether this is new income or was historically earned prior to dissolution of the relationship. (You do not have to be penalized working more to meet already established child support obligations and your own reasonable living expenses.)
  • Reference is made to the 2011 Alimony Reform Act; the text does not, however, provide a specific formula or approach for calculating alimony and child support in cases where both may be appropriate.
  • Clarification is given as to how child support should be allocated between the parents where their combined income exceeds $250,000.
  • A new formula is provided for calculating support where parenting time and expenditures are less than equal (50/50) but more than the assumed standard split of two thirds/one third. (You can pay less child support if you have a high level of visitation, likewise the court can order more child support for less than on third visitation.)
  • Guidance and clarification is given in the area of child support over the age of eighteen where appropriate.  While the Guidelines apply, the court may consider a child’s living arrangements and post- secondary education. Contribution to post-secondary education may be ordered after consideration of several factors set forth in the Guidelines and such contribution must be considered in setting the weekly support order, if any.
  • The standard for modification is clarified to reflect the recent Supreme Judicial Court decision in Morales v. Morales, 464 Mass. 507 (2013). (Modification to child support does not require a material change in circumstances).
  • Circumstances justifying a deviation are expanded to include extraordinary health insurance expenses, child care costs that are disproportionate to income or when a parent is providing less than one-third parenting time.

If you have a case involving custody, support or visitation and want more information on the application of the new child support guidelines, or advice on seeking a modification to an existing order, contact the Law Office of Isaac Mass at 413-774-0123 to schedule a consultation.



 
 
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Attorney Isaac Mass was named in BusinessWest magazine as one of 2013’s 40 Under Forty.  In 2007, BusinessWest introduced 40 Under Forty to showcase young talent in the four counties of Western Mass. and, in turn, inspire others to reach higher and do more in their community.

On June 20 at the Log Cabin Banquet & Meeting House in Holyoke, Isaac Mass will be honored with members of a class that is both distinguished and diverse. It includes bankers, lawyers, accountants along with other business and non-profit leaders.  Mass along with Danielle Letourneau Therrien (also honored this year) are only the 2nd and  3rd honorees from Franklin County in the programs history.

Among his other accomplishments, Mass was recognized for work he does for veterans in both the criminal courts and before the Social Security Administration.  Mass was also recognized for his many charitable contributions including high school scholarship programs with the American Legion, Massachusetts and Rhodes Island Moose Association, The Greenfield Community College Alumni Association and the Franklin County Bar Association.


 
 
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Today in COMMONWEALTH vs. Christopher DOYLE, No 11-P-1779, the Massachusetts Court of Appeals held damage done to a container for the sole purpose of obtaining the property inside a container is not Malicious destruction of property.

To prove malicious destruction of property, according to G.L. c. 266, § 127 a defendant's actions must be both "wilful" and "malicious." Under Commonwealth v. Redmond, 53 Mass.App.Ct. 1, 4 (2001). "In addition to the intent to inflict injury to property, the crime requires a state of mind infused with cruelty, hostility or revenge."

The Appeals Court held that this case was like Redmond where the defendant was arrested while apparently in the process of stealing computer equipment. In pursuit of that goal, Redmond had:

1)      ripped a security alarm from the wall

2)      broken a window

3)      and forcibly opened the front door of the office

4)      A second door, leading into a computer room, appeared kicked in

In Redmond the Court of Appeals held that "[a]lthough clearly intended, such property damage was nothing more than the 'the adventitious by-product of a wholly discrete criminal enterprise' (the theft of the computers) and was not 'gratuitous, excessive violence purposefully designed to intimidate and overpower,' ... or destructive activities that were by design and hostile to the owner of the property." Redmond, quoting from Commonwealth v. Wynn, 42 Mass.App.Ct. 452, 456 (1997).

In Commonwealth v. Morris M., 70 Mass.App.Ct. 688 (2007) the Appeals Court also found destruction of property caused by driving a Jeep across the driving range of a golf course and smashing the car into a pole was not malicious because the juvenile was driving the vehicle in order to escape another who apparently intended to harm him.

In the case of Mr. Doyle, the Appeals Court believed it was clear that the damage was done in an effort to steal from the ATM and not with "a state of mind infused with cruelty, hostility or revenge." as required under Commonwealth v. Redmond. Even viewed in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth, the evidence was not sufficient to establish the necessary element of malice and so the conviction for Malicious Destruction of Property was overturned.

If you have been charged with malicious destruction of property or another crime, it is important to have an experience criminal defense attorney who understands all the elements of each crime, and what the legal definitions of each element are.  Sometimes a complaint can be dismissed at a pretrial stage or even following the district attorney's opening statement, if they do not allege an essential element of the crime.  For a consultation, contact the Law Office of Isaac J. Mass.



 
 
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Today, in Commonwealth v. Reyes SJC 11270 (2013), the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court held that the storage of a firearm in securely locked container (like a glove compartment) inside a parked vehicle is not a violation of the carrying statute and may be adequate under the storage statute.

 Amaury Reyes, was convicted in the Salem District Court of improperly carrying a firearm in a motor vehicle in violation of M.G.L. c. 140, § 131C (a) (carrying statute), and unlawfully storing a firearm (after leaving it in his motor vehicle) in violation of M.G.L. c. 140, § 131L (a ) and (b ) (storage statute). Reyes possessed a class A license permitting him to carry a firearm for all lawful purposes under M.G.L. c. 140, § 131 (a ). On April 10, 2010, he drove from his home to work, during which time he carried his personal firearm with him in a holster without passenger. When he arrived at  work, he parked his motor vehicle, removed the firearm and holster from his person, placed them in the glove box, and locked the vehicle.

Reyes consented to a search of his vehicle alerting the officer that his firearm was in the glove box of his
vehicle. He acknowledged that the firearm was not outfitted with a cable locking device. He unlocked
the car with a remote opener. The officers entered the vehicle from the passenger side, opened
the glove box, and retrieved the firearm in its holster. The firearm contained a loaded magazine, but no round in the chamber.

On appeal Reyes argued insufficient evidence at trial to support his convictions under the carrying and storage
statutes.

The carrying statute provides in relevant part that "no person carrying a loaded firearm ... shall carry the same in
a vehicle unless such firearm while carried therein is under the direct control of such person." The Court
held that there was no evidence that his firearm was out of his possession (or his direct control) when he traveled to work in his vehicle. They further held that the carrying statute does not apply once the defendant leaves his
vehicle and leaves the firearm in it. The Court held that when Reyes left his motor vehicle and the firearm in it, he became subject to the storage statute because he was storing or keeping his firearm in a "place" neither on his
person nor "under the control of the owner or other lawfully authorized user." G.L. c. 140, § 131L (a ).

 As to the storage charge, the court maintained that a motor vehicle is not itself a securely locked container.
However they held “that the storage of a firearm in a securely locked container within a motor vehicle would
satisfy its requirements.” This may include a locked glove compartment if it locks according to the SJC. 

If you have been charged with a firearms violation you may need a criminal defense attorney who is abreast of the latest developments in firearms statutes and new court rulings reacting to the deluge of firearms litigation.  For a consultation contact the Law Office of Isaac J. Mass.


 
 
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Hardship Licenses, sometimes called a Cinderella License are issued by the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles to some offenders for a legitimate purpose such as going to work, attending school, or receiving medical treatment. Hardship Licenses are valid for a consecutive 12 hour period (e.g.  8:00 AM to 8:00 PM). Such licenses are only granted to Massachusetts license holders.  In order to apply for a hardship license, you must attend a hearing at a Registry of Motor Vehicles hearings site

A hardship will only be considered for the following offenses certain offenses. You will need all required documents with you when you meet with the Hearing Officer.  Obtaining a hardship license is sometimes difficult, especially without a
skilled lawyer. Although an applicant may meet all requirements, issuance of a hardship license is only granted at the reasonable discretion of the Registry of Motor Vehicles, based on the facts of the case.

An attorney can help present your case in the light most favorable to you emphasizing the issues that are most important to the Registry of Motor Vehicles.  For example in accordance with Melanie's Law, the Registry of Motor Vehicles is changing its policy regarding who is eligible for a hardship license. To be eligible for a hardship license, you may now be required to present proof that you do not have access by public transportation to your required destination.  You should be represented by an attorney when seeking a hardship license.  

For an opportunity to consult a an attorney about representation at a Registry of Motor Vehicle hearing contact the Law Office of Isaac J. Mass.  The Law Office of Isaac J. Mass can also represent you in hearings before the Board of Appeals after an unsuccessful hearing at the Registry of Motor Vehicles. 



 

(c) 2012 Law Office of Isaac J. Mass, 289 Main Street, Suite 201 Greenfield, MA 01301