Update on Courts; RLA Offers No-Charge, Confidential Consultation on Business Disputes

March 30, 2020 – To all my friends and colleagues in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, below are some important state court links concerning the status of our courts during the pandemic.  The bottom line: courts are continuing to conduct business, but in a vastly different way, severely restricting in-person appearances and moving certain other matters to teleconference where possible.

https://www.mass.gov/guides/court-system-response-to-covid-19

https://www.mass.gov/news/trial-court-departments-issue-new-standing-orders-to-address-emergency-matters

https://www.mass.gov/supreme-judicial-court-rules/supreme-judicial-court-order-limiting-in-person-appearances-in-state

The altered schedule is likely the best course health-wise, and should be applauded, but is far from optimal for individuals and the businesses they run under our current circumstances where access to the courts will become crucial.  Still, although justice is moving on a modified schedule, it moves nonetheless.

The massive shock to the economy will hit small business hard despite everyone’s best efforts.  This much seems inevitable.  As a result, commercial disputes—breaches of contract, defaulted loan agreements, threatened evictions from store-fronts or offices—are also inevitable.  Long-standing business relationships will be examined in a harsh new light, given the lack of cash flow.

The current crisis reminds me in some ways of 2007, when I began handling a significant case load related primarily to problems resulting from the economic meltdown.  Those cases had me arguing in courts throughout the Commonwealth, whether Worcester, Essex, or Franklin Superior Courts; Boston Municipal Court or Wrentham District Court.  Back then, businesses were hit hard and litigation was often the only option.  I advocated for and defended against emergency injunctive relief on multiple occasions and sometimes those hearings could turn into mini-trials where emotions ran very high.  Those cases were hard, but they taught me a lot.  And they all had their nexus in the economic meltdown of 2007-2008.

This crisis threatens to be worse, because the economic shock could be even more widespread.

Unfortunately for most, litigation seems — and all too often is — prohibitively expensive as an option.  RLA was established to focus on individuals and their businesses and provide effective, intelligent advocacy with integrity, at a reasonable cost.  You need to know where you stand and what you can do when faced with potentially crippling contract breaches or coming loan defaults.  If you need to litigate, RLA is there for you.

To do its small part, RLA will provide up to an hour of no-charge, confidential, consultation time for those who are, or think they may be, facing a commercial dispute in the Commonwealth.  Often, such consultations can provide needed clarity in the decision-making process.  Sometimes, litigation is necessary, and other times it is not.  Please feel free to take advantage of this opportunity by reaching out either via www.ryan-litigation.com, or calling 617-694-3567, to schedule a phone or web-based consultation.

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