Partner Chris Strang was interviewed by local CBS affiliate WCVB5 for an evening news story that aired this week. He discussed the ongoing changes in contract terms for event services in light of the changed conditions resulting from the pandemic.
Strang Scott is pleased to welcome first-year associate Meghan Hayes to the firm. Ms. Hayes is a 2019 graduate of Boston University School of Law. While in law school, Ms. Hayes worked with the New York State Attorney General’s Office, the Erie County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers’ Project, and a prominent tort litigation firm in the greater Boston area.
Ms. Hayes hails from the Buffalo area, and earned an undergraduate degree with honors, majoring in Political Science and minoring in Mathematics at the State University of New York at Geneseo. Before starting law school at BU, Ms. Hayes completed a year of service with AmeriCorps.
At BU Law, Ms. Hayes won the best brief award in the Stone Moot Court competition, competed in the honors level Albers Moot Court competition, and also competed in the National Appellate Advocacy competition. She served on the Public Interest Law Journal and participated in BU Law’s Public Interest Program.
Ms. Hayes plans to be active in the BU Law Young Alumni Council and the Boston Bar Association. She is a recreational runner, loves road trips and is a furniture refinishing enthusiast.
Strang Scott is honored to announce the selection of Christopher Strang as a 2019 Super Lawyer by the Massachusetts edition of Super Lawyers. Mr. Strang has been recognized for his outstanding work in construction litigation for the eleventh consecutive year, first as a Rising Star and then as a Super Lawyer. Associate Jennifer Lynn was selected as a Rising Star for the first time. The Super Lawyers selection team chooses only 5% of eligible attorneys as Super Lawyers, and only 2.5% of eligible attorneys as Rising Stars. Both lists are the result of a process that includes a statewide lawyer survey, independent research, and peer reviews.
Strang, Scott, Giroux & Young, a regional business law firm, is currently seeking a highly skilled, mid-level litigation associate to join the firm’s Boston office.
Successful candidates will have:
- 3+ years of experience representing business plaintiffs and defendants in a range of commercial litigation matters
- Experience in all stages of litigation from investigation and pleadings through discovery, dispositive motions, and trial
- Excellent oral and written communications skills
- Commitment to provide high quality client service
- Ability to work both independently and as part of a larger collaborative team
- Strong academic credentials
We have a preference for associates admitted in both MA and NH, or one who is willing to become admitted in both. Some knowledge of construction law would be helpful.
We offer the ability to grow and thrive in a law firm platform designed for attorneys with long-term professional development aspirations.
Interested candidates may send a resume and cover letter to:
Strang, Scott, Giroux & Young, LLP
6 Beacon Street, Suite 305
Boston, MA 02108
The Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) law goes into effect on July 1, 2019, and creates a public insurance program to provide Massachusetts workers with paid leave in order to welcome and care for a new child; take time off for their own serious illness or injury; take care of an ill family member; or in connection with certain military circumstances. The leave will be funded through payroll deductions from covered Massachusetts workers and employers.
Although Massachusetts workers will not be eligible to take paid leave through this program until 2021, employers of Massachusetts workers (or those who provide “service localized in the Commonwealth”) will be required to provide notice of the benefits to covered workers in advance of the effective date, to begin making PFML contributions as of July 1, 2019, and to file their first mandatory quarterly reports in October 2019.
By June 30, 2019, employers must provide written notice to their current work force of PFML benefits, contribution rates, and other provisions. The department has posted form notices for employees and independent contractors, which are available for download here. Employers may also create their own notices as long as they meet the minimum requirements set out by the Department.
The notice can be provided electronically or in paper form and must give covered workers the option of acknowledging receipt or declining to acknowledge receipt of the information. Employers must collect and maintain these acknowledgements. New employees receive the written acknowledgment within 30 days of hire.
Before July 1, 2019, employers must also display the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave poster at each Massachusetts work location.
Employers that fail to provide the required notice can face a fine of $50 per individual for a first violation, and $300 per individual for a subsequent violation.
Tips for Employers:
- Prepare your notices ASAP. Confer with legal counsel as necessary to review notices if you choose not to use the Department’s forms.
- Create a system for receiving and tracking notice acknowledgment forms.
- Post the required PFML poster in every Massachusetts work location.
- Provide the poster electronically to employees who do not have a specified work location.
Employers with Massachusetts covered workers will be required to start making contributions to the state paid leave fund on July 1, 2019. The contribution rate for 2019 is set at 0.63% of each covered worker’s wages on the first $132,900 of annual gross earnings. The contribution rate may be changed annually and will be determined by October 1 for the following calendar year.
The 0.63% payroll tax rate will be split between the two leave programs, with 0.52% going to medical leave and 0.11% to family leave. Employers can deduct the entire 0.11% family leave contribution and up to 40% of the 0.52% medical leave contribution from wages paid to covered workers. Employers with fewer than 25 covered workers in Massachusetts do not have to pay any employer share of the medical leave contribution, but larger employers will be required to pay the remaining 60% of the medical leave contribution rate.
Employers are responsible for remitting the full 0.63% contribution to the state paid leave fund. Contributions for July 1, 2019 through September 30, 2019 must be paid through the MassTaxConnect portal by October 31, 2019. Failure to make the required contributions will result in a penalty of 0.63 percent of an employer’s total annual payroll for each year of compliance failure (or fraction thereof), in addition to the total amount of the benefits paid to covered individuals for whom no contributions were made.
Tips for Employers:
- Work with your payroll department or provider to make sure you have set up payroll deductions to begin July 1, 2019.
- If you have not already done so, register with MassTaxConnect so you can make payments for the first quarter contributions (for July 1, 2019 through September 30, 2019) by no later than October 31, 2019.
First Mandatory Quarterly Report
Employers are required to submit the first mandatory quarterly report through the MassTaxConnect portal in October 2019. The Department will announce specific reporting and documentation guidelines by July 1, 2019, but employers should expect quarterly reports to include the following information: the name, Social Security number, and wages paid or other earnings for each covered employee.
The Department will use the quarterly report to determine the total quarterly contribution owed, which must be paid through MassTaxConnect within 30 days after the end of the quarter.
Exemption for Private Plans
If you already provide employees with a paid leave benefit, you can apply for an annual exemption through the MassTaxConnect portal beginning April 29, 2019, and no later than September 20, 2019. A private benefit plan, whether self-funded or through a third-party insurer, must be at least as generous as the benefits provided by the PFML law and cannot be more expensive for an employee than the contributions allowed under the PFML. Applications for exemptions will be reviewed and acceptances conveyed on a rolling basis, will be effective for one year, and may be renewed annually. In addition, those with self-funded plans will be required to post a surety bond.
As a reminder, when PFML benefits become available, covered workers will be eligible for the following annual benefits:
- Up to 20 weeks of paid medical leave related to a worker’s own serious health condition that prevents him or her from working;
- Up to 12 weeks of paid family leave related to the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child;
- Up to 12 weeks of paid family leave to care for a family member with a serious health condition;
- Up to 12 weeks of paid leave related to a qualifying exigency due to a family member being on or being called to active duty in the armed forces; and/or
- Up to 26 weeks of paid family leave to care for a family member who is a covered service member with a serious health condition.
Total annual benefits for all qualifying reasons will be capped at 26 weeks per year. All types of paid leave benefits will be available to covered workers on January 21, 2021, except leave related to care for a family member with a serious health condition, which will be available on July 1, 2021.
Strang Scott is exited to announce that it is a sponsor for the first ever TEDx event in Kenmore Square. This independently organized TED event celebrates the heritage and development of Boston’s beloved Kenmore Square neighborhood, featuring speakers from various focus areas and degrees. The list of presenters is as exciting as it is diverse, and includes Dave McGillivray (director of the Boston Marathon), Dr. Greg Skomal (frequent guest of the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week) and Dr. Georgies Mgode (pioneer of animal research and training for disease detection). The event will be held April 5, 2019 from 12:30 – 6:30 PM at the Hotel Commonwealth.
With sponsors like the Boston Red Sox, Eastern Standard, 829 Studios and Boston City Properties, this event aims to “attract the original and nurture the unconventional in hopes of sparking creative solutions.” Strang, Scott, Giroux & Young, LLP is proud to promote this move in favor of innovation. For more information on becoming a sponsor, please contact Cole Young.
Strang Scott associate, Jennifer Lynn, was a panelist at a recent Boston Bar Association event discussing M.G.L. c. 186, § 15B, commonly known as the “Massachusetts Security Deposit Law,” and providing an overview of the Law’s requirements. The Law is one of the most heavily litigated statutes in Massachusetts that affects both landlords and tenants. In addition, to the statutory requirements, the panelists discussed the implications of the recent opinion from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, Phillips v. Equity Residential Management, LLC, 478 Mass. 251 (2017).
Boston University School of Law recently hired partner Christopher Strang as an adjunct lecturer. Mr. Strang will be instructing the Small and Mid-Sized Firm Externship Program.
The program involves students working part-time at area small and mid-sized firms with various areas of practice. Mr. Strang will teach practical skills in the classroom portion of the program, designed to enhance the students’ abilities to excel in the practice of law at the firms for whom they work.
Check out his faculty page here: https://www.bu.edu/law/profile/christopher-d-strang/
As discussed in previous posts, the creation of a formal corporate entity and compliance with state prescribed formalities can offer business owners and members substantial protections from individual liability for business debts when acting by and through an entity. This compliance with formality can also offer substantial protections in the common event of one entity (a “Successor Entity”) purchasing, or otherwise succeeding, another entity (a “Predecessor Entity”).
As a general rule, in the absence of a contractual obligation, individual corporate entities are not liable for the debts of other corporate entities. However, there are exceptions to every rule and there are instances when a Successor Entity can be held liable for the debts and liabilities of a Predecessor Entity. Specifically, this so called “successor liability” can attached in instances where, “(1) the successor expressly or impliedly assumes liability of the predecessor, (2) the transaction is a de facto merger or consolidation, (3) the successor is a mere continuation of the predecessor, or (4) the transaction is a fraudulent effort to avoid the liabilities of the predecessor.” Premier Capital, LLC v KMZ, Inc. (2013).
The Appeals Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts recently considered this very successor liability standard. In Fashionhaus, LLC v T&C Mail Street, Inc. et al (2018), the Court considered whether the relationship between the defendant entities was that of two independent entities, such that the liabilities of the old entity were distinct from the new entity, or whether the defendant entities were essentially one in the same, such that the new entity could be held accountable for the old entities liabilities.
After considering a multitude of factual considerations, the Court ultimately held the defendant entities did not behave in a manner to impose successor liability onto the new entity. The Court determined that there was no de facto merger or consolidation as ‘all’ or ‘substantially all’ of the Predecessor Entities’ assets were not transfer to the Successor Entity and sufficient separation was maintain relative to the operations of the Successor and Predecessor Entities. Additionally, the Court found no evidence of fraud.
Thus, whether considering the purchase of an entity, or winding down an existing company to operate under a new corporate form, it is important that one understands how to avoid the pitfalls of potential successor liability. As previously noted, adherence to the prescribed steps is paramount to limiting future liabilities as they may relate to corporate entities. If you have questions with regard to business formation and/or operations you should consult with a knowledgeable attorney to determine your best options.
As of January 1, 2019, the new minimum wage in Massachusetts is $12 per hour for non-tipped employees and $4.35 per hour for tipped employees who make more than $20 per month. However, employers need to be aware of an important caveat with regard to the latter category: under the new law, employers must ensure that each tipped employee earns the equivalent of $12 per hour for each shift the employee works. In addition, all tips must be retained by the employee or distributed through a valid tip pool. If the employee’s combined wages and actual tips do not total at least $12 per hour, then the employer is required to make up the difference.
Restaurants and other businesses that employ tipped workers should bear in mind that most payroll software and service providers are not yet equipped to make these calculations automatically. This means employers may need to make manual payroll calculations in order to comply with the new law until such time as their service providers are up to speed. (The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office has published pay and recordkeeping tips to aid with compliance.) Failure to make payments in accordance with the law could put your business at risk of litigation.