Massachusetts Law Updates

Official Blog of the Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries

Monthly Archives: January 2015

Cinema of Law Film Series in the Berkshires in March Posted on Jan 30

This will be the ninth year for Berkshire Law Library’s Cinema of Law film series. The movies will be shown in the auditorium of the Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield on Tuesdays in March. Presentations are co-sponsored with the Berkshire Bar Association and the Friends of   …Continue Reading Cinema of Law Film Series in the Berkshires in March

New Mandatory Jury Instruction on Reasonable Doubt Posted on Jan 30

New Mandatory Jury Instruction on Reasonable Doubt

For over a century, judges in Massachusetts have been strongly encouraged to use the “Webster” instruction on reasonable doubt, written by Chief Justice Lemuel Shaw in Commonwealth v. Webster, 5 Cush. 295 (1850), when explaining the legal concept to jurors in criminal cases.   In fact, “the Webster charge   …Continue Reading New Mandatory Jury Instruction on Reasonable Doubt

Medical Malpractice Law Posted on Jan 28

Massachusetts malpractice laws were changed in 2012 with the addition of MGL c. 231 s.60L, which establishes a process and time frame for patients and doctors to discuss alleged mistakes by health care providers, and perhaps settle claims without going to court. Under this law, a health care provider   …Continue Reading Medical Malpractice Law

Tree cutting statute further defined Posted on Jan 22

In a recent Appeals Court unreported decision, Joseph v. Nathanson, the appeals court has given us a broader definition of “destroyed” or cutting down. The statute is Mass. General Law chapter 242 sec. 7, which reads : “A person who without license willfully cuts down,   …Continue Reading Tree cutting statute further defined

Memory and Eyewitness Identification Posted on Jan 21

Recent advances in the study of human memory have changed the way we understand memory.  As science has progressed, the courts have tried to adjust the law to incorporate the principles that are “generally accepted”. In 2013, the SJC study group released a report on   …Continue Reading Memory and Eyewitness Identification

New Parental Leave Law Benefits Fathers Posted on Jan 19

Effective April 7, 2015, the Massachusetts Maternity Leave Law, MGL c.149, s.105D, has been expanded. While the current law specifies “female employees,” under the new law (St.2014, c.484), male employees will  also be entitled to 8 weeks of leave for the birth or adoption of a   …Continue Reading New Parental Leave Law Benefits Fathers

Massachusetts Benefit Corporations: Doing Well by Doing Good Posted on Jan 18

Chapter 156E of the Massachusetts General Laws became effective on December 1, 2012.  It provides for “benefit corporations,” a unique business or professional corporation whose purpose is not only to serve the interests of the shareholders, but also to “create a material, positive impact on   …Continue Reading Massachusetts Benefit Corporations: Doing Well by Doing Good

Postponement of Town Meeting Due to Weather or Other Emergency Posted on Jan 17

On January 7, 2015, former Governor Deval Patrick signed into law Senate Bill 2121 as chapter 487 of the Acts of 2014.  Under the new law, which became effective on January 7,  town moderators are given greater power to postpone town meeting in the interest of safety. If a   …Continue Reading Postponement of Town Meeting Due to Weather or Other Emergency

Statutes of Limitations-Is this case time-barred? Posted on Jan 16

Statutes of Limitations-Is this case time-barred?

When bringing or defending a cause of action, one important question is Is this claim time-barred? The Trial Court Law Libraries have materials to help you with this question. Here are a few good places to start your research: Massachusetts Practice Series Civil Practice volume   …Continue Reading Statutes of Limitations-Is this case time-barred?