Articles/Publications

Online Business Defamation and Public Forum Websites — Part II

            Part I of this series on Online Business Defamation and Public Forum Websites briefly touched on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (“Section 230”), a federal law that limits whom businesses can hold legally responsible for defamatory postings.   As previously discussed, Courts have consistently interpreted Section 230 as providing close to blanket immunity […]...

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Do More:  Prevent Your Neighbor from Taking Your Land Through Adverse Possession

            Does your neighbor’s fence fall on your side of the property line?  Did that garage get built on your land?  If your neighbor encroaches on your land, you may be subject to losing that portion of your property by adverse possession.             Adverse possession is a common law doctrine through which ownership to property can […]...

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Foreclosures, Commercial Leases and the “First in Time, First in Right Rule”

Imagine that your company rents space in a commercial building and just found out that your landlord stopped paying the mortgage.  The building is in foreclosure, your lease isn’t ending soon, and it doesn’t address a foreclosure.  What happens to your commercial lease if the building is sold in a foreclosure auction?When a commercial property […]...

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Recent Ruling Emphasizes the “Sacred” Procedure of a Jury Demand

     Parties to a summary process (eviction) proceeding in Massachusetts are afforded the right to a trial by jury. Article 15 of the Constitution for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts declares that “parties have a right to a trial by jury; and this method of procedure shall be held sacred,” which applies to court rules […]...

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Renting Apartments to Multiple College Students? Lodging House Requirements No Longer Apply

Massachusetts law distinguishes rented dwellings from lodging houses with regard to the requirements, rights, and remedies for the landlord or owner of the property and the tenants or lodgers. By statute, when a dwelling unit is occupied by “four or more persons not within second degree of kindred” to each other, that unit is considered […]...

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Selecting the Right Home Improvement Contractor in Massachusetts

Selecting a contractor for a home improvement project is both exciting and fraught with peril. The right one can deliver your dream home, and the wrong one can make your living space a nightmare for an extended period of time.  Fortunately, Massachusetts maintains strong consumer protections against the latter in M.G.L. c. 142A, the Home […]...

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Airbnb Tax Dropped from Budget after House Negotiations

This post updates our previous post regarding proposed taxation of revenue generated by Airbnb rentals.  Despite prior consideration of an Airbnb tax as early as July 2017, the proposal was dropped from the fiscal year 2018 budget proposal. Earlier this year, the state Senate pushed to apply Massachusetts’ state hotel tax, and local levies, on […]...

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Jury Awards $1,000,000 For Business Defamation Claim

     In a recent decision in Dallas, Texas District Court, a jury awarded $1,000,000 in damages to a wedding photographer due to defamatory statements published in the media, and in particular on internet sites and social media.      Every business owner fears the damage that negative comments made online can do to their reputation. […]...

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Online Business Defamation and Public Forum Websites

            All publicity is good publicity — or so the saying goes.  Nevertheless, it’s safe to assume that businesses saddled with false and misleading reviews on public forum websites, such as Google, Yelp, Angie’s List and other rating websites, would strongly disagree.            People leave reviews on such sites for many reasons: to reward good service, […]...

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Massachusetts Proceeds with Proposal to Impose Tax on Short-Term Rentals like Airbnb

As discussed in one of our previous posts , Massachusetts legislators have continued to discuss imposing a tax on short-term rental companies like Airbnb. Recently, the Massachusetts Senate decided to proceed with Governor Charlie Baker’s proposal to expand the room occupancy tax to include short-term rentals, but not without a few modifications. Back in January, Governor […]...

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