Author Archives: Strang Scott

About Strang Scott

Strang Scott is a dynamic business and litigation firm, dedicated to serving the needs of businesses of all sizes.

Christopher Strang Appointed as Lecturer at Boston University School of Law

By on February 12, 2019

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/

Corporate Considerations: Keeping up Formalities and Successor Liability

By on January 30, 2019

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.

BPDA appoints Christopher Strang to serve on Boston University Task Force

By on August 8, 2018

The Boston Planning & Development Agency recently appointed partner Chris Strang to serve as a Task Force member for Article 80 reviews regarding Boston University Charles River Campus development projects.

Article 80 consists of guidelines for the development review process for unique projects. The process includes, but is not limited to, review of a project’s impact on transportation, public realm, the environment, and historic resources. Mr. Strang will serve with select other members of the community to work with BPDA managers and the BU development professionals on various projects in the coming years.

Chris Strang Selected Super Lawyer for 2018

By on June 1, 2018

Strang, Scott, Giroux & Young, LLP, is honored to announce the selection of Christopher Strang as a 2018 Super Lawyer by the Massachusetts edition of Super Lawyers.  Mr. Strang has been recognized for his outstanding work in construction litigation for the tenth consecutive year, first as a Rising Star and then as a Super Lawyer.  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 Welcomes Alexandra Deal to the Firm

By on May 1, 2018

Strang, Scott, Giroux & Young, LLP, with offices in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, welcomes Alexandra H. Deal as Of Counsel to the Firm. 

Ms. Deal is a seasoned litigator with more than a decade of experience representing clients in state and federal court, along with various administrative agencies.  She advises clients in employment-related matters and litigates employment-related disputes, including cases involving alleged discrimination, wage and hour violations, restrictive covenants, harassment and other employment matters.  She is a trained workplace investigator, and has conducted numerous internal investigations involving allegations of discrimination and other unlawful conduct.

Ms. Deal is an accomplished appellate attorney, having briefed, argued, and won cases at the Massachusetts Appeals Court, the Supreme Judicial Court, and the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.

Prior to joining Strang, Scott, Giroux & Young, LLP, Ms. Deal maintained a successful solo practice for a number of years.  She graduated cum laude from Boston College Law School and clerked for a judge at the District of Columbia Court of Appeals before entering private practice.

The Firm looks forward to utilizing Ms. Deal’s knowledge and experience in employment matters to the benefit of its clients.  You can contact Ms. Deal directly at adeal@www.strangscott.com or by telephone at (857) 233-5534.

We’ve Moved: Strang Scott’s Boston Office Relocates to 6 Beacon Street

As of March 30, 2018, the Boston office of Strang, Scott, Giroux & Young, LLP has moved to 6 Beacon Street.  The firm’s relocation will provide ready access to Suffolk County Superior Court, the Federal Court, the Massachusetts State House and the Boston Bar Association.  We look forward to introducing our clients and friends to the new space.  Please be in touch regarding directions and parking options. 

 

For the firm’s mailing addresses, please see the firm’s Contact page.

 

 

Christopher Strang’s Article Published on the Cover of Under Construction

By on March 26, 2018

Strang Scott partner, Chris Strang, co-authored and article with Brendan Carter from the Associated General Contractors of Massachusetts that was published recently on the cover of the American Bar Association’s “Under Construction” quarterly newsletter.  The article details a case where Strang Scott prevailed against the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, successfully arguing that the awarding authority has a duty to ensure the validity of payment bonds provided by general contractors on public construction projects in Massachusetts.  The case was a matter of first impression in Massachusetts courts.  

Airbnb Hosts Beware: City of Boston Proposes Regulations on Short Term Rental Industry

By on February 5, 2018

Boston Mayor, Marty Walsh, recently proposed a citywide ordinance that will, if adopted by City Council, subject short-term rentals – such as those advertised through the popular home-sharing website, Airbnb – to regulations and reporting requirements.

The proposed ordinance requires that all short-term-rentals register with the city and pay an annual fee based on a tiered rental classification system. The classification system additionally dictates how many days per year various properties may be rented and the maximum number of guests per night. The ordinance also imposes a room occupancy excise tax on all short-term rentals. Short-term-rentals that are noncompliant with city codes will be ineligible for registration. Further, beyond requiring individual owner/host compliance, the ordinance also places reporting requirements on the booking companies themselves. 

Specifically, the ordinance classifies three types of short-term rental units:

  1. Limited Share Units
  2. Home Share Units; and
  3. Investor Units

Limited Share Units are rentals that are the host’s primary residence such that the host is present through the duration of the short-term rental. Limited Share Units may be offered for short-term rent 365 days of the year and will be subject to an annual $25.00 registration fee.

Home Share Units are also rentals that are the host’s primary residence that may be offered for short-term rent 365 days of the year. The host, however, need not be present through the duration of the short-term rentals, so long as the number of days booked for rental when the host is not present does not exceed 90 (consecutive or nonconsecutive) per year. Home Share Units will be subject to an annual $100.00 registration fee.

Investor Units are rentals that are not the host’s primary residence. Investor Units may be offered for short-term rental for up to 90 days (consecutive or nonconsecutive) per year and will be subject to an annual $500.00 registration fee.

Boston residents who participate in the short-term-rental economy are well advised to understand, and keep an eye on, proposed changes in housing law as regulations begin to promulgate in response to a growing industry.

Christopher Strang Selected as 2017 Super Lawyer

By on December 12, 2017

Strang Scott is honored to announce the selection of Christopher Strang as a 2017 Super Lawyer by the Massachusetts edition of Super Lawyers. Mr. Strang has been recognized for his outstanding work in construction litigation for the ninth consecutive year, first as a Rising Star and then as a Super Lawyer. 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.

Landlord’s Security Deposit Violation Does Not Warrant Triple Damages

By on October 26, 2017

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) recently addressed the scope and interpretation of the Massachusetts Security Deposit Act, MGL c. 186, § 15B, in Phillips v. Equity Residential Management, LLCStrang Scott previously discussed the implications of landlords’ failure to comply with MGL c. 186 (“the Act”).  

The dispute centered around four different provisions of the Act.

  • First, Section 15B(4)(iii) requires landlords seeking to retain all or a portion of a security deposit to submit a written itemized list of damages to the rental unit, including precise detail of the nature of the damage and the necessary repairs and copies of estimates, bills, invoices, receipts, or other evidence to validate the amount deducted, sworn to by the landlord under the pains and penalties of perjury.  Failure to comply with the requirements of Section 15B(4)(iii) forfeits the landlord’s right to deduct any amount from the security deposit for damage or repairs.
  • Second, Section 15B(6)(b) states that a landlord loses its right to retain any portion of the deposit for any reason, if the landlord fails to furnish the itemized list of damages in compliance with the requirements of the Act. 
  • Third, Section 15B(6)(e) states that a landlord cannot retain any portion of the deposit for any reason if the landlord fails to return the deposit, or any balance after deductions, within 30 days after termination of the tenancy. 
  • Finally, Section 15B(7) provides triple damages, interest, court costs, and attorneys’ fees to successful tenants where their landlord violated Section 15B(6)(a), (d), or (e).

The Federal District Court of Massachusetts awarded the tenant damages in the amount of his security deposit under Sections 15B(4)(iii) and 15B(6)(b), but denied an award of triple damages. On appeal, the First Circuit Court of Appeals submitted a certified question to the SJC, requesting clarification on the treble damages provision under Section 15B and whether a landlord’s violation of the itemized list requirement, which forfeits the landlord’s right to retain any portion of the deposit for any reason, also constitutes a violation of the Act.

The SJC answered “no” to the Circuit Court’s question. In its decision, the SJC ruled that the triple damages provision under Section 15B(7) does not apply to claims for violation of the itemized list requirement of Section 15B(4)(iii) or to forfeiture of the deposit under Section 15B(6)(b). The SJC did find, however, that improper deductions under the first sentence of Section 15B(4), or the failure to return a deposit or account for any portion within 30 days, would constitute violations entitling a tenant to an award of triple damages and attorneys’ fees.

If you have questions regarding whether your security deposit practices comply with Massachusetts law, contact experienced landlord counsel to evaluate your practices and to limit your exposure.