Two recently reported decisions of the superior court bear mentioning briefly.
In Hultberg v. Carey, Docket No. 06-1137 (Nov. 30, 2009), the Worcester Superior Court addressed the question of when a deed can be reformed. According to the deed, the plaintiff transferred the property at issue from herself individually to herself and her late husband as tenants in common. The plaintiff argues that this deed was in error, and that she and her late husband were to hold the property either as joint tenants or tenants by the entirety, each with rights of survivorship.
The court explained that in order for a deed to be reformed because of a mistake, the mistake must have been mutual and must be proven by clear and convincing evidence. Here, the court held that the plaintiff failed to meet her burden of proving mutual mistake. Interestingly, despite the insufficient evidence of mutual mistake, the court stated in dicta that the plaintiff apparently never owned any interest in the property to convey to herself and her late husband because the property was held in a trust, and so the question of whether or not the deed could be reformed may be irrelevant for title purposes. The court was not asked to settle issues relating to title to the property, however, and thus the court limited its decision to denying the requested reformation.
In Rutledge v. Chaprales, Docket No. 09-2953, 2009 Mass. Super. LEXIS 367 (Dec. 2, 2009), the Middlesex Superior Court addressed a jurisdictional question. The plaintiff, in his capacity as personal representative of an estate, sought equitable relief in the form of a declaration that certain real property is property of the estate, an accounting of funds collected in connection with the property, and an order that all funds identified in the accounting be paid over to the estate. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the probate court has exclusive subject matter jurisdiction over the matter. The superior court denied the motion, holding that the superior court has concurrent subject matter jurisdiction with the probate court and the Supreme Judicial Court over matters of equity relative to the administration of estates of deceased persons pursuant to G. L. c. 215, § 6, and that the superior court also has subject matter jurisdiction to issue a declaratory judgment pursuant to G.L. c. 231A, § 1.
Day Pitney Newsletter
Clifford Nichols wrote an article, "When Addressing Cybersecurity and Data Breach, Don't Forget eDiscovery," for New Jersey Law Journal. The article is about how companies should consider eDiscovery and litigation response issues when making policy or infrastructure changes to address cybersecurity and data breach risks.
Day Pitney Press Release
Rick Sanders is quoted in an article, "Business Groups Encouraged by Legislators," in NJBIZ, which addresses political activity behind a bill to phase out New Jersey's estate tax. Under the bipartisan bill, the estate tax, which currently applies to inheritances valued at $675,000 or more, would be eliminated gradually over a five-year period. "It affects such a small part of the population," Sanders said. "It just strikes me as unusual that all of a sudden, this bill came. I think it's not coincidental that the governor was campaigning for president at the time he called for the repeal. For years and years, there's been proposals to increase the exemption to $1 million and it never got any traction in New Jersey."
Boston, Mass., January 20, 2016 – Day Pitney is pleased to announce Jillian Hirsch, a partner in Day Pitney’s Litigation Practice, has been selected as one of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly’s 2015 Lawyers of the Year. Honorees were nominated by their colleagues, clients and other legal professionals for their outstanding professional accomplishments.
Boston, Mass. November 11, 2015 – Day Pitney is pleased to announce Leiha Macauley, a partner in Day Pitney’s Individual Clients Practice, has been selected as a 2015 Boston Rising Star by The National Law Journal.
Jillian Hirsch was quoted in an article, "Trust divisible in divorce despite possible new beneficiaries," in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. In the article, Hirsch, who represented the wife in the matter, explains why the Appeals Court's decision of Pfannenstiehl v. Pfannenstiehl is significant.
"It confirmed that an interest in a trust with an ascertainable standard--specifically one with a history of distributions woven into the fabric of the marriage--is a vested, presently enforceable interest and therefore properly included in a marital estate for purposes of equitable division of property in a divorce," she said.