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A harassment protection order was brought against me and it was denied because the petitioning accuser was lying, can I get the record of it expunged?

26 March 2017 Answer: Maybe, but it is unlikely due to the standard that must be met. It is a common occurrence; a harassment protection order is issued ex parte (without notice or the presence of the opposing side) and the defendant is served with it.  The required hearing is scheduled in 10 days from […]

I am pro se in a civil action in Massachusetts and the other side has sent me Interrogatories, do I have to answer them?

12 February 2017 Answer: If you want to have avoid possibly losing your case you have to answer and/or object properly. Knowledge of the basics of the rules of civil procedure is necessary to either defending or pursuing a civil case.  One basic idea is to understand that for almost all cases not filed in […]

Should I grant a deed to my children or other family member and not tell them?

31 December 2016 Probably not. The legal books are filled with instances where people grant deeds and make gifts to family members and do not tell them of the gift before it transfers or even well after.  This is usually a big mistake because there is not consideration that the asset given could be taken […]

A person sent a letter to me threatening a lawsuit that was defamatory, do I have a legal claim for defamation?

3 November 2016 Answer:  Probably not. There are many pitfalls and obstacles to a defamation claim, but even before addressing those, you must meet the initial elements of the claim.  One of those elements is that the defamatory subject matter be published, that means communicated to a third party.  In the above example, it appears […]

Do I have to make all my post-petition mortgage payments to my bank during a chapter 13 case to receive my discharge?

1 October 2016 Answer:  When you are curing an arrearage on your mortgage through your chapter 13 plan, probably. Initially, one needs to understand the basics.  Many people file a chapter 13 plan to “cure” an arrearage (the amount a homeowner is behind) on their mortgage and save their home.  A debtor in a chapter […]

How to draft a complaint to file in the Massachusetts district court.

7 September 2016 There are many considerations and requirements when drafting a complaint.  (Keep in mind, we are discussing the district court, not small claims.)  Some are very basic, such as using a legal caption, numbered paragraphs, an acceptable font size, and a logical format.  The order typically goes: an introduction (optional), followed by the […]

Will the restrictions in my non-compete agreement be dischargeable in bankruptcy?

20 August 2016 Answer:  Maybe, it depends on the language of the agreement and the judge deciding the issue. Initially, one needs to understand the basics, which is that rights against others are generally either equitable on the one hand, or legal (or at law) on the other.  Roughly speaking, equitable rights are those which […]

If I am accused of some wrong doing, especially a crime, or something that is not true and hurtful to my reputation, should I deny it or should I simply not say anything?

4 July 2016 Answer:  This brings into play the evidentiary idea of admission by silence, which in criminal law parlance is known as pre-arrest silence, and falls under the evidentiary topic known as prior inconsistent statement.  It also can arise in civil contexts, especially defamation cases, when a defendant raises a defense that the statement […]

Can I exempt my house in bankruptcy if I pay for it but it is in someone else’s name?

1 July 2016 Answer:  Maybe, if the facts are right and you are willing to accept some risk. Recently in the case of In re Sullivan a debtor was successful in claiming the Massachusetts homestead for a condo that was in her family member’s name.  In re Sullivan, Case No. 15-30544, (Bankr. Mass. May 2, […]

Should I attempt to make an offer of settlement under Rule 68 of the Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure?

22 June 2016 Answer:  An offer of settlement under Rule 68 is a tool to consider using, however, if you do considering using it be very careful you understand it very well because you may be stuck paying a settlement amount you thought you did not offer. For example, recently in the federal case of […]