If You Own a Corporation or LLC, You Must Be Represented By An Attorney In Court

judge_robeOften, and particularly in landlord tenant matters, business owners will try to represent themselves in Court. In the legal world, we call this pro se representation, and it is usually driven by the cost of hiring an attorney. While individuals are allowed to represent themselves in court, corporations or limited liability companies cannot do so, except in small claims cases. See Varney Enterprises, Inc. v. WMF, Inc., 402 Mass. 79, 79 (1988). If a corporation or limited liability company owner tries to appear in court on behalf of their company, the company can be defaulted.

As a practical matter, this means that if you are a landlord, but your business is run through a corporation or limited liability company, you must hire an attorney to pursue an eviction or respoind to a lawsuit. Likewise, if a customer or vendor sues your company, you must hire an attorney to represent the corporation or limited liability company or you risk a default. If the court defaults you, it means the other party has won the case. A default can subject you or your company to monetary damages.

If you do get defaulted, you should seek an experienced attorney immediately. It may be possible to get the default removed and the case reinstated, but this requires quick action by competent counsel. In fact, the best legal advice anyone can give you is to retain competent legal counsel whenever you interact with the legal system. While it may seem expensive at first, in the long run a good attorney will save you headaches, financial pitfalls, and allow you more time to focus on what you do best.

Attorney Kevin DeMello Offers Expertise in Personal Injury, Real Estate, and Business Law

portraitAfter announcing the launch of my new law firm, KPDM Law, LLC, I have received a great outpouring of support from clients, friends, and family. I thank you all for your support. I have been asked frequently why my firm specializes in the areas of personal injury, real estate, and business law. The answer is that these are all areas that I have developed expertise in my ten-plus years of practice.

In the personal injury area, I have represented hundreds of people who were injured as a result of another’s negligence. These cases include car and truck accidents, slip and fall, construction site and industrial accidents. I have represented clients at the highest levels, including before the Massachusetts and Rhode Island Superior Courts, and appeals courts. Please click on the representative cases link on my web site for examples, but I have achieved results for my clients that include six and seven figure settlements and awards.

For the past two years, I have represented banks and fortune 500 companies in real estate litigation and transactions involving residential mortgages, purchases, and sales. I have expertise in foreclosure defense, mortgage law, title issues, and all manner of residential and commercial real estate disputes. I represent both people and businesses in real estate matters ranging from closings to leasing, title problems, and property disputes.

Given my experience representing people and businesses in complex civil litigation, I have a unique perspective that I can draw on to advise small and medium-sized businesses in issues such as leases, contracts, corporate, and employment issues. I have represented both plaintiffs and defendants in Massachusetts and Rhode Island consumer protection violations, employment matters, and contract disputes. I bring this expertise to my business clients to help them navigate the complex waters of the business legal landscape.

Again, thanks for your support, and I look forward to helping you if you ever have need of my services.

Why the Tom Brady Appeals Court Decision Matters for Everyone in Labor

footballsWhile the recent decision to reinstate Tom Brady’s appeal may seem like a distant drama of the sports world involving billionaire owners and millionaire players, the appeals court decision has impacts for both employers and employees in labor unions. The Brady case is now Federal precedent, and that precedent holds that an employer’s arbitrator has a tremendous amount of power to decide labor disputes without being subject to court review. See NFL v. Brady, Docket No. 15-2801, (2nd Cir., 2016).

For employers, this means that there is yet another precedent strengthening the already high burden that employees face in overturning an arbitrator’s decision. Employers know that arbitration is an excellent way to keep legal costs down and to resolve labor disputes far more quickly than resorting to the court system. Although an employee can try to attack an arbitrator’s decision in court, the Brady case demonstrates that doing so is a difficult proposition even when the arbitrator’s decision appears to be very controversial.

For employees, the Brady decision underscores that employees may be giving up significant legal rights when agreeing to arbitration. The Brady decision stresses the importance of bargaining for guarantees in that an arbitration will be fair. In Brady’s case, the NFL collective bargaining agreement gives the commissioner a tremendous amount of latitude and discretion, which is a key point the Court relied on in making its decision. Had the collective bargaining agreement been drafted differently, Brady may have had a much better shot at his appeal. Employees and labor unions should take note and understand just what they are agreeing to when they consider arbitration clauses in contracts.

Do I Need an Attorney When I Sell My House?

When you sell your home, you are probably selling your biggest financial asset. It is important breach_contractto not only understand the process, but to understand the legal ramifications of your actions. Advice from a good attorney can help you avoid expensive mistakes.

In Massachusetts, buyers will deliver written offers to purchase to the seller. Once the seller accepts a written offer, usually by signing the offer, the offer to purchase itself becomes a binding contract. In Tobin v. McCarthy, the Massachusetts Appeals Court held that a seller was obligated to sell his home to the buyer even though the parties never signed a purchase and sale agreement. The Court held that the written offer itself was sufficient to bind the parties. See Tobin v. McCarthy, 44 Mass. App. Ct. 274 (1997).

Sellers often find themselves considering and accepting offers, and thereby binding themselves to contracts, before they ever consult an attorney or start working on the purchase and sale agreement. Often times buyers will put conditions and other language in the offers to purchase that could have consequences for the entire transaction. Consulting an attorney early in the process can help facilitate a more smooth transaction, avoid potential problems, and ultimately save the seller money.

Another benefit of involving a good attorney early in the process is avoiding or minimizing the chance of litigation later. No one wants to contemplate getting sued, but it can happen if the sale of your house goes wrong. A good attorney will add language to written offers to purchase and purchase and sales agreements that will protect a seller in the event that a buyer defaults, makes unreasonable demands during the negotiation process, or in case something goes wrong. For all these reasons, it makes a lot of sense to spend a little money now to avoid big potential problems later.