New MA Legislation Offers Limited Relief from Evictions for Small Business Tenants

On April 20th, Governor Baker signed into law an eviction moratorium bill (H 4647) that benefits certain commercial tenants.  While the new law grants extensive relief to homeowners from mortgage debt and foreclosures, and to residential tenants from evictions, it provides no relief from mortgage debt to commercial property owners, and limited relief to certain commercial tenants.  This article addresses the limited relief provided by the legislation to commercial tenants. read more

IP Considerations During COVID-19

Current economic and logistical realities of the COVID-19 pandemic are challenging IP rights holders in new ways. Should the filing strategies companies pursued prior to the onset of the crisis continue? Should enforcement be curtailed or stepped up? How should rights holders approach the acquisition of IP given the economic fallout caused by COVID-19? How might the crisis influence litigation strategies?  Here are some observations and key takeaways regarding COVID-19 considerations for IP matters: read more

Co-Parenting Considerations for April “Vacation”

There is little differentiation between weekends and weekdays in this remote-work, socially-distant world we’re living in. The “Boys of Summer” have not yet returned home to Fenway Park. The Boston Marathon has been postponed. Under these circumstances, it’s easy to forget that Massachusetts schools would traditionally be “on vacation” next week. For children in intact families, this may have little meaning or impact, but for children with separated or divorced parents this often is a week of great significance, as many parenting plans allocate the February school vacation week to one parent and the April school vacation to the other. In those situations, the February parent would have already enjoyed his or her school vacation time with the children, before the country shut down in mid-March. What happens now, in the midst of this pandemic?  Here are five key considerations. read more

Governor Baker's Response to Suit Regarding Recreational Marijuana Shutdown

Massachusetts Governor Charles Baker, in a response to the suit that was brought against him last week in connection with his decision to designate recreational marijuana businesses as “non-essential,” filed an “Opposition to Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction” on Monday, April 13, 2020. The filing seeks to rebut the plaintiffs’ claims by offering counterarguments to their pleading for relief from the Governor’s executive orders that effectively shut down the recreational cannabis industry in the Commonwealth. The main thrust of the Governor’s argument is that the plaintiffs have failed to show a likelihood of success on the merits of their claims and, therefore, should be denied the injunctive relief they so seek.  Below are some of the key takeaways from the response. read more

Who will Take Care of Your Children If You Fall Ill To COVID-19

As we face the increasing spread of COVID-19, many parents are considering the possible impact of the pandemic on our abilities to care for our children, and how best to prepare. In Massachusetts, there are several options to appoint an alternative guardian in the event that we are temporarily or permanently unable to care for minors due to COVID-19 (or any other debilitating illness), or in the event of our deaths. A person may become a guardian of a minor by appointment by parent or guardian or upon appointment by the court. (G.L. c. 190B, § 5-201). Although the courts are currently closed, if a guardianship is needed due to an emergency, the court will typically hold a telephonic hearing and may appoint a temporary guardian. A parent or guardian may also appoint a temporary agent to whom he or she delegates his or her powers regarding the care, custody or property of a minor, in which case the appointment may continue for a period not exceeding 60 days. (G.L. c. 190B, § 5-103). read more

Rent Considerations – Forbearance Agreement or Lease Amendment?

The general economy continues to struggle due to COVID-19 closures and related effects, and the real estate market is no exception. Landlords are receiving requests from tenants for rent reductions, deferrals, abatements and other concessions. Although the terms of agreement vary, there are two common approaches to documenting these alternative arrangements, forbearance agreements and lease amendments. read more

Cannabis, COVID-19, and Cashless Transactions

In certain states (not currently including Massachusetts), cannabis-related businesses have been deemed “essential” businesses by local governments. In those states, medical and/or adult-use programs have continued to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, cannabis business operators have had to quickly adapt to the changing environment and implement new safety protocols, including limiting the number of patients and customers in retail shops at one time, and providing new online and telephone ordering channels for products that can now be delivered and/or picked up curbside. Changes to standard operating procedures bring new challenges to the industry, including how to accept payment for purchased products. read more