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In Mutual Life Insurance Company v. Hillmon, the Supreme Court rendered a famous and controversial judgement concerning the admissibility of a person’s out-of-court statement. Rule 803(3) of the Federal Rules of Evidence deals with the famous Hillmon case, but it restricts its applicability. In Hillmon, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed evidence of person A’s statement of his intention to travel and, here is the controversial part, with person B. Perhaps, that... Read More
I have been struck by how eager jurors are to serve. Jurors are engaged. They make eye contact with the attorneys during opening statements. When a witness is on the stand, they look at the witness and listen to his or her words. I have also noticed that jurors seem especially intrigued by visual aids. At the trial of one case, the prosecutor was standing at the witness box asking the witness some foundational... Read More
Having employed law students and new lawyers for almost thirty years, I find their perceptions worth sharing for what it says about the practice of law as opposed to their expectations. At the outset, let me point out that these are talented and earnest people.
In general, civil litigation is not what they expected after law school. It seems that practical issues come as a bit of a shock to rising or newly... Read More
New lawyers are equipped with legal research and writing skill. The question becomes, however, how does that translate into writing the memoranda or other document in the real life world of advocacy? Something like an offer of proof for court, a brief in the discovery process, or certainly a demand letter to a tortfeasor’s insurer can require different skills than writing formal legal papers in a classroom. The classroom requires much more focus on case law. Perhaps the... Read More
An issue that frequently surprises new lawyers or non-lawyers to civil litigation is how various documents are obtained and then used during the pre-discovery phase and beyond. Often, a litigator obtains certain documents at the outset of a claim, such as medical records of the claimant, in order to assess immediately the scope of the damages. They can then be summarized and presented to the insurer, so that early-on the other side can see the severity of the case.Read More
During the jury impanelment stage of both civil and criminal trials, there are inevitably some prospective jurors who raise their hands when asked whether service would impose an extreme and unusual hardship. Generally, those jurors are excused.
However, there are times when a jury pool is so limited that there is no other option but to seat any juror who is eligible, regardless of his... Read More
Personal injury cases are the most common form of lawsuits in the United States. You can suffer injuries at work or at play. You may suffer serious injury in a car accident, or you may slip and fall on your way to a movie at the mall. Your child may suffer a dog bite while out at the park.
If you suffer an injury due to the wrongdoing of another party, you can seek compensation for damages under Massachusetts law. What you can and do collect depends on the... Read More
Pedestrians in Massachusetts need to be particularly vigilant after the clocks are turned back in autumn for daylight saving time. Not only do the hours of darkness increase, but drivers—and pedestrians—appear to suffer from sleep deprivation when clocks are readjusted. This translates into a higher number of traffic accidents, including pedestrian accidents. One study reported a 186 percent increase in fatal pedestrian accidents between the end of October and beginning of... Read More