COVID-19 Moratorium on Evictions and Foreclosures

Extended through October 17, 2020 On July 21, 2020, in an effort to “provide residents of the Commonwealth with continued housing security as businesses cautiously re-open, more people return to work, and we collectively move toward a ‘new normal,’” Governor Baker issued an extension through October 17, 2020, of the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures during the COVID-19 Emergency (the “Moratorium) first enacted on April 20, 2020. (See Cain Hibbard alert posted May 12, 2020.) The Moratorium will continue to provide significant protections to certain renters against evictions and mortgagors against foreclosures. Eviction and Rent Provisions: The Moratorium only protects tenants of residential units and “small business premises units.” A “small business premises unit” is defined as premises occupied by a tenant for commercial purposes, whether for-profit or not-for-profit, unless the tenant, or a party that controls, is controlled by or is in common control with the tenant: (i) operates multi-state; (ii) operates multi-nationally; (iii) is publicly traded; or (iv) has 150 or more full-time equivalent employees. The protections also apply only to “non-essential evictions.” Evictions for non-payment of rent or resulting from a foreclosure fall within the definition of non-essential evictions and so are subject to the Moratorium. The...

Cain Hibbard’s response to call to action of Supreme Judicial Court

The Supreme Judicial Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts took an extraordinary step last week, issuing a public letter to members of the Judiciary and the Bar acknowledging that African-American lives are often not treated “with the dignity and respect accorded to white lives” in the U.S., and proposing strong action by judges and lawyers to create a “just, fair and peaceful society.” The letter, signed by all seven justices, specifically called for judges to look anew at what they are doing – or failing to do – to root out any conscious or unconscious bias in the courtroom, to “create in our courtrooms, our corner of the world, a place where all are truly equal.” Lawyers, too, were urged to take strong action. Those front-line members of the legal system were urged to examine their own efforts – or lack thereof – to provide legal assistance to those who cannot afford it, and to “diminish the economic and environmental inequalities rising from race,” along with ensuring that law offices not only hire attorneys of color, but also truly welcome them into the legal community. The Court did not stop with calls for change in individual courtrooms, minds and law...

Diane DeGiacomo speaks about Family Law Issues at upcoming Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education Conference, March 5, Northampton, MA.

Diane DeGiacomo, chair of the firm’s litigation department will serve as a featured speaker at “Cutting Edge Issues in Western Massachusetts Family Law Practice”, along with distinguished family law lawyers and judges from the four western Massachusetts counties. Diane will present arguments based on complex fact patterns, focusing on contested custody issues in families with substance abuse concerns. For more details and registration information, please visit: https://www.mcle.org/product/catalog/code/2200140P01