A biker was killed on Thursday near the Sullivan Square MBTA Station in Charlestown, Massachusetts, after he was struck by what witnesses described as a white sanitation truck with black lettering. The hit-and-run accident happened at the busy intersection of Cambridge Street and Spice Street at about 1:40 pm, on Thursday, April 3, 2014.
Police later identified Ricky Prezioso of Swampscott as the driver who left the scene of the accident. Prezioso’s arraignment was sheduled to be held Friday morning in Chelsea District Court for leaving the scene of an accident after causing death. If found guilty, Prezioso could face imprisonment for 2 1/2 to 10 years and fines between $1,000 – $5,000.
In addition to the driver facing criminal responsibility, the owner of the commercial truck involved could face civil liability to the victim’s family. Under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Reguldations, owners of certain types of commercial trucks that are used in the course of trade or commerce must ensure that their trucks meet minimum safety standards, are inspected regularly and that their drivers have ongoing training. Any misstep by an owner of a commercial truck could trigger tremendous exposure to the owner’s business.
According to the Boston Globe, this is the first bicycle fatality of the year in Boston. There were five other bicycle deaths in Boston in 2012. There was no accurate data for bicycle deaths in 2013 according to the news report.
MassBike, an advocacy group dedicated to promoting a bicycling friendly environment and encouraging bicycling fun, fitness and transportation, supported two pieces of legislation in 2013 to increase safety for bicyclists and other “vulnerable users.” The legislation identifies vulnerable users as bicyclists, pedestrians, wheel chair users and other non-motorized road users.
Phillips & Garcia, P.C. of Dartmouth, MA has filed a lawsuit in Massachusetts Superior Court against Tractor Supply Company of Tennessee for failing to pay full time workers time and a half on Veteran’s Day and Columbus Day and for failing to pay part time workers time and a half for hours worked on all Massachusetts holidays. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of a Pittsfield employee, seeks a change in Tractor Supply Company’s policies and procedures, as well as the payment of three times the unpaid wages. Tractor Supply Company has 14 stores in Massachusetts.
Under the Massachusetts Wage Act, Massachusetts law mandates that employees who work on a Massachusetts recognized holiday be paid “premium pay” of one and a half times their regular pay. In Massachusetts, employers must pay time and a half to all employees, regardless of whether they are full time or part time employees, for hours worked on the following Massachusetts legal holidays: New Year’s Day, Columbus Day, Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day and Independence Day.
If you were not paid “premium pay” on a Massachusetts recognized holiday, you can fill out a contact form here to make a Wage Act complaint to Phillips & Garcia, P.C. or simply call us at 508-998-0800.
Alleged Drunk Driver Involved in Road Rage Accident in Plymouth, Massachusetts May Have Caused Similar Accident in Marion
A Woods Hole, Massachusetts was charged by Plymouth Police on Saturday with driving under the influence of alcohol, leaving the scene of an accident and failure to yield after crashing into a car on Red Brook Road and Packard Street according to a report in the “Wicked Local Plymouth.” A Police Captain said that after crashing into the other car, the suspect allegedly staggered out of his vehicle and began yelling at the other driver.
Before police arrived, the suspect fled the scene. While the police were investigating the accident, they learned that the same driver and vehicle were involved in a car crash in Marion, Massachusetts after which he was charged with drunken driving.
In Massachusetts, driving under the influence is not only illegal, it can be very costly for a drunken driver who is also hurt. Read more about how an auto insurance company can refuse to pay medical bills for a driver who is caught driving drunk here.
Rhode Island Boy, 10, Calls Police Reporting Father Driving Drunk on Route 95, Threatens to Jump to Safety
A Rhode Island boy of 10 called State Police to report that his father was driving drunk on Route 95 South into Connecticut and that he was considering jumping out of the Mercedes Benz because he was worried they were going to crash according to stories from CBS News and Yahoo News. The 49 year old Warwick, R.I. father was driving with his 10 year old son and 12 year old daughter.
Sure enough after the desperate 911 call, the father slammed into a Jeep Cherokee in Stonington, Connecticut causing it to flip over news reports say. The driver of the Jeep was treated for non-life threatening injuries. Fortunately, the children were only treated for lacerations.
Connecticut police arrested the father after he allegedly failed a field sobriety test. At an arraignment for a variety of charges including reckless driving, operating under the influence and endangering a child, a New London judge reportedly told the father that he “behaved horribly and should feel blessed his children are safe.” The father was released on $35,000 bond posted by his parents.
In Massachusetts, if a driver is charged with operating under the influence and there is a child under 14 in the car, that driver can also be charged with child endangerment while operating under the influence. A first-time conviction of this law carries with it a fine of between $1,000-$5,000, a possible jail term of no less than 90 days and up to 2 1/2 years, and a license suspension of 1 year.
To read the article, click here.
A pregnant woman was walking with her 11 year old son on a Stoughton sidewalk this past weekend, when she was struck by an out of control car being driven in reverse. The mother was able to save her 11 year old by telling him to run to safety according to a story in the EnterpriseNews.com.
The driver of the car that careened in reverse across the street was arrested Sunday night by Stoughton police after she allegedly failed field sobriety tests. The driver has pleaded “not guilty” to five counts including motor vehicle homocide while under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
Following her arraignment in Stoughton District Court on Monday, the accused driver was held on $500,000 cash bail.
A Cambridge, Massachusetts man is being held without bail today on charges for a car accident that left one pedestrian dead and four others injured in a seven car pile-up outside a Chatham ice cream parlor. According to reports in the Boston Herald, the accused pleaded not guilty to charges of drunk driving, assault with a dangerous weapon, failure to stop for police, speeding, operating an unregistered vehicle and driving without a license. He is being held without bail pending a “dangerousness hearing” to take place on Wednesday.
In the same Herald report, the accused license had been suspended by the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles in 2009 after being deemed an “immediate threat.” According to the RMV’s website, a driver’s license can be suspended if the Register determines that the driver poses an “immediate threat” to public safety.
Harwich police reported that the accused led them on a wild chase through two Cape towns. The chase ended in a seven car pile up outside a popular Chatham ice cream parlor that tragically resulted in the death of a pedestrian.
The accused driver apparently had a history of car chases as he had led police through 12 Cape Cod towns in a high-speed chase back in 2001.
In a landmark decision, hailed by equal rights advocates all over the country, a divided U.S. Supreme Court struck down a section of DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act) that denied legally married same-sex couples the same federal benefits that are provided to heterosexual spouses. Prior to the Court’s ruling, DOMA defined marriage as only between a man and a woman.
“Although Congress has great authority to design laws to fit its own conception of sound national policy, it cannot deny the liberty protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment,” said Justice Anthony Kennedy. Kennedy was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.
The case before the Court examined whether the federal government could deny heath, tax and pension benefits to same-sex couples in states where they can legally marry. For example, in Massachusetts same-sex couples can be lawfully married, but before yesterday’s ruling their marriage wasn’t recognized by the federal government under the DOMA. Now, the federal government will have to recognize same-sex marriages from other states like Massachusetts and provide equal benefits to all.
In the Court’s written opinion, Justice Kennedy affirmed the rights of same-sex couples by recognizing that for those who “wished to be married, the state [of New York] acted to give their lawful conduct a lawful status. This status is a far-reaching legal acknowledgment of the intimate relationship between two people, a relationship deemed by the state worthy of dignity in the community equal with all other marriages…DOMA seeks to injure the very class New York seeks to protect.”
While the decision is seemingly sweeping in scope, it is limited to providing federal benefits to those who are lawfully married in states that recognize same-sex marriage. Currently thirty-five states have laws that ban same-sex marriage according to a report on CNN.com.
A Fall River driver was arrested by police and charged with leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death for the fatal hit and run accident of a Somerset man using a motorized wheelchair last week. Police had been searching for the driver of the Avalon since responding to the accident. According to a report in Boston.com, police acted on a reverse 911 call from the driver’s wife who was calling to report that her father-in-law owned a car matching the description that police were looking for.
According to police, the driver told them that on the night of the fatality, he was returning home after watching a Bruins’ game. He initially stopped at the scene after hitting the man in the wheelchair and spoke with the occupants of a car behind him that had also stopped. He then fled the scene.
The conviction for leaving the scene of an accident that results in death, can result in a jail sentence of no less than 2 1/2 years with a maximum of 10 years and a fine of between $1,000 to $5,000. The survivors of someone killed in a hit-and-run accident may also have civil claims against the driver that are separate from the criminal claims brought by the state.
Independent Foreclosure Review Shows Banks Lied About Foreclosing on Military Families; Massachusetts Servicemen Retain All Their Legal Rights
We have been receiving an increase in calls and contacts from military servicemen and women whose homes were foreclosed on by banks while they were on active military duty. This practice is the lowest of the low. While these servicemen and women were putting their lives on the line for their Country, opportunistic banks seized their homes, threw out their possessions and sold off their homes at auction prices.
Foreclosing on an active duty member of the military without a court order is a violation of the federal law known as the Servicemember’s Civil Relief Act (SCRA). Banks even need a court order in states where “non-judicial” foreclosures are allowed.
We now know that many banks lied about the number of illegal military foreclosures when the issue first became news at the height of the foreclosure crisis. A document posted on the Federal Reserve’s website called “Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement Details” indicates that the 11 biggest mortgage servicers foreclosed on 1,082 active duty military families and attempted to foreclose on another 116. The number of actual foreclosures is much higher than previously reported. It is evident that these big bank servicers lacked procedures for complying with the SCRA.
Many servicemen and woman are now being notified of their eligibility for payments from the national mortgage settlement. The settlement damage matrix indicates that military families are entitled to $125,000 from the settlement fund. Depending on your circumstances, a $125,000 payment may be fair. In many cases, particularly where possessions were removed from a home and thrown out, $125,000 may not even come close to the amount of money necessary to fairly compensate a military family.
The good news is that servicemen and women do not waive or release any legal claims they have against the banks and their servicers. They can accept the payment from the settlement and still pursue legal action against the bank and its servicer. In states that have long statutes of limitation, evaluating your legal claims is a good idea. For example, Massachusetts has a consumer protection statute with a four year statute of limitations that allows for double or triple damages for unfair and deceptive business acts and practices, with a violation of the SCRA creating a per se violation of the Massachusetts consumer protection statute. Other states may have similar laws, including punitive damages. The bottom is military families who receive a payment under the national mortgage settlement may be entitled to even more damages in court.
The real unanswered question is whether the banks and their servicers have changed their policies and practices when foreclosing on military families. Or will they continue with their “Shoot First, Ask Questions Later” culture which led directly to mortgage meltdown in the first place.
More more on Independent Foreclosure Review, go to http://www.federalreserve.gov/consumerinfo/independent-foreclosure-review-payment-agreement-faqs.htm