Victory in Eminent Domain Case

union_sqI’m happy to report that the Massachusetts Superior Court rendered a favorable decision based on a brief that I wrote in an eminent domain case. This eminent domain case involved the Somerville Redevelopment Authority’s takings of multiple parcels of real property in the Union Square area. The City of Somerville made the takings in connection with an expansion of the MBTA’s Green Line, as well as a redevelopment of the Union Square area.

The owners of the parcels, one of whom I represented, disputed the amount that the City of Somerville tendered when the City took the properties by eminent domain. The City of Somerville argued that based on the “project influence rule,” the value of the properties should be determined based on valuations in 2003, when the project to revitalize Union Square was first announced. The City sought to exclude any evidence of valuations of the property after 2003. That interpretation of the project influence rule would essentially freeze the property values at 2003 levels.

I, along with attorney John S. Leonard, drafted briefs opposing the City’s interpretation of the project influence rule. The court denied the City’s motion, and agreed with our interpretation of the project influence rule. The Court ruled that our client’s evidence regarding the value of the properties at the time of the taking was admissible, and could be considered along with the City’s evidence. That meant that our clients could argue that the properties taken by the City should be valued closer to their current values, not their 2003 values.

The full text of the court’s decision is available here.

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.

Grand Opening of KPDM Law LLC, a Personal Injury, Real Estate, and Business Law Firm

kpdm law blue bgKPDM Law, LLC is a law firm founded on the concept that the client’s interest, not billable hours or settlement numbers, comes first. What matters to you, matters to us. While our firm believes that putting our client’s interests first is the best way for us to grow as a firm, we also believe that it is the right thing to do. 

My name is Kevin DeMello, and I founded KPDM Law, LLC. I am an attorney with over a decade of experience in the practice of law in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. I have led litigation teams in high-stakes litigation in matters involving personal injury, real estate, and business litigation. Take a look at these representative cases for some examples of the results I have obtained for my clients.

I became an attorney because I wanted to help people. For that reason, integrity is the foundation of my practice. When I take on a case, my commitment is to do everything in my power to advance your cause. If you have been injured in an accident, have a real estate issue, or just need legal advice, please call me. I would love to help.

Appeals Court Victory in Quiet Title Action

I am pleased to announce that my client obtained a victory in Appeals Court this week. In Golrick vs. U.S. Bank, National Association, the Massachusetts Appeals Court upheld a trial court decision appeals-courtroom-019-463x347on a quiet title action filed by the former owner of the property, Jeanne Golrick. Golrick claimed that there were issues with the foreclosure performed by my client, U.S. Bank, and  that vested title with her. My firm successfully defended this quiet title claim at trial, and Golrick appealed.

I drafted the appeal brief, and the Court agreed with my client that Golrick’s claims lacked merit and that title should be vested with U.S. Bank. The text of the opinion can be found here: Golrick v. United States Bank Nat’l Ass’n, 2016 Mass. App. Unpub. LEXIS 441 (Mass. App. Ct. Apr. 22, 2016).

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.

Supreme Judicial Court Issues Decision Strengthening Rights of Condominium Associations in Condo Fee Collection Actions

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has just issued a decision that will serve to strengthen the already favorable statutory scheme that allows condominium associations to Appeals Courtobtain priority liens in condo fee collection cases. The decision in Drummer Boy Homes Association, Inc. vs. Britton, SJC-11969, decided March 29, 2016, relies heavily on the Court’s interpretation of the Legislature’s intent in the condominium statute, Massachusetts General Laws chapter 183. According to the SJC, that intent was to provide condo associations with the necessary tools to ensure that condo fees are recovered so that associations can maintain properties and prevent community blight.

The dispute in Drummer Boy centers on the nature of the priority lien provided by Massachusetts G.L. c. 183 s. 6. That statute allows condo associations to file an action and obtain a priority lien for the prior six months of unpaid condo fees. The priority lien takes precedence over most others on title, including mortgages. Since the statute only provides this lien priority for the prior six months of dues, the common practice was for condo associations to file successive actions every six months to obtain priority liens for continuing unpaid dues.

In Drummer Boy, the Defendant challenged the condo fee’s right under the statute to bring these successive actions. Although the Massachusetts Appeals Court agreed with the Defendant, the Supreme Judicial Court overturned the Appeals Court and decided that a condominium association may file successive actions to create priority liens for continuing unpaid dues after the first six months.

The Drummer Boy decision means that condominium associations continue to retain powerful tools to collect unpaid dues, including the power to obtain priority liens on the unit for all unpaid dues.  The Drummer Boy decision also affirmed the condominium association’s rights to obtain all legal fees expended in collecting condominium fees. Condominium associations facing members who fail to pay dues should not hesitate to contact an attorney to seek collection of unpaid dues.