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Wanda M. Milik

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David S. Fox

Construction, Criminal, Consumer Protection, Bankruptcy
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LEGAL TERMS

ESCHEAT

The forfeit of all property to the state when a person dies without heirs.

INCIDENTS OF OWNERSHIP

Any control over property. If you give away property but keep an incident of ownership--for example, you give away an apartment building but retain the right to... (more...)
Any control over property. If you give away property but keep an incident of ownership--for example, you give away an apartment building but retain the right to receive rent--then legally, no gift has been made. This distinction can be important if you're making large gifts to reduce your eventual estate tax.

EXCULPATORY CLAUSE

A provision in a lease that absolves the landlord from responsibility for all damages, injuries or losses occurring on the property, including those caused by t... (more...)
A provision in a lease that absolves the landlord from responsibility for all damages, injuries or losses occurring on the property, including those caused by the landlord's actions. Most states have laws that void exculpatory clauses in rental agreements, which means that a court will not enforce them.

ARBITRATION

A non-court procedure for resolving disputes using one or more neutral third parties -- called the arbitrator or arbitration panel. Arbitration uses rules of ev... (more...)
A non-court procedure for resolving disputes using one or more neutral third parties -- called the arbitrator or arbitration panel. Arbitration uses rules of evidence and procedure that are less formal than those followed in trial courts, which usually leads to a faster, less-expensive resolution. There are many types of arbitration in common use: Binding arbitration is similar to a court proceeding in that the arbitrator has the power to impose a decision, although this is sometimes limited by agreement -- for example, in 'hi-lo arbitration' the parties may agree in advance to a maximum and minimum award. In non-binding arbitration, the arbitrator can recommend but not impose a decision. Many contracts -- including those imposed on customers by many financial and healthcare organizations -- require mandatory arbitration in the event of a dispute. This may be reasonable when the arbitrator really is neutral, but is justifiably criticized when the large company that writes the contract is able to influence the choice of the arbitrator.

YELLOW-DOG CONTRACT

An employment contract in which the employer forbids the employee to join a labor union. Yellow-dog contracts are not legally enforceable.

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

The legally prescribed time limit in which a lawsuit must be filed. Statutes of limitation differ depending on the type of legal claim, and often the state. For... (more...)
The legally prescribed time limit in which a lawsuit must be filed. Statutes of limitation differ depending on the type of legal claim, and often the state. For example, many states require that a personal injury lawsuit be filed within one year from the date of injury -- or in some instances, from the date when it should reasonably have been discovered -- but some allow two years. Similarly, claims based on a written contract must be filed in court within four years from the date the contract was broken in some states and five years in others. Statute of limitations rules apply to cases filed in all courts, including federal court.

ELEMENTS (OF A CASE)

The component parts of a legal claim or cause of action. To win a lawsuit, a plaintiff must prove every element of a legal claim. For example, here are the elem... (more...)
The component parts of a legal claim or cause of action. To win a lawsuit, a plaintiff must prove every element of a legal claim. For example, here are the elements of a breach of contract claim: There was a valid contract. The plaintiff performed as specified by the contract. The defendant failed to perform as specified by the contract. The plaintiff suffered an economic loss as a result of the defendant's breach of contract.

OFFENSIVE COLLATERAL ESTOPPEL

A doctrine that prevents a defendant from re-litigating an issue after it has been lost. For example, if your neighbor sues you for putting up a fence on his la... (more...)
A doctrine that prevents a defendant from re-litigating an issue after it has been lost. For example, if your neighbor sues you for putting up a fence on his land and the court rules that your fence extends beyond your property line, you can't later file your own lawsuit seeking a declaration that the property line is incorrectly drawn.

MORTGAGE

A loan in which the borrower puts up the title to real estate as security (collateral) for a loan. If the borrower doesn't pay back the debt on time, the lender... (more...)
A loan in which the borrower puts up the title to real estate as security (collateral) for a loan. If the borrower doesn't pay back the debt on time, the lender can foreclose on the real estate and have it sold to pay off the loan.

SAMPLE LEGAL CASES

SMYRNA REBAR, INC. v. MODERN CONTINENTAL CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, INC.

75 Mass. App. Ct. 1103 (2009). SMYRNA REBAR, INC. v. MODERN CONTINENTAL CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, INC., & others. No. 08-P-59. Appeals Court of Massachusetts. September 11, 2009. Decision Pursuant to Rule 1:28. Judgments affirmed.

DiFiore v. American Airlines, Inc.

... was correct. [10]. 2. Discussion. The question before us is one of statutory construction. Where the meaning of a statute is not plain from its language, familiar principles of statutory construction guide our interpretation. We look ...

Wheatley v. Massachusetts Insurers Insolvency Fund

... Moreover, the issue in this case is one of statutory construction, which we also review de novo. Commerce Ins. Co. v. Commissioner of Ins., 447 Mass. 478, 481 (2006). ... [13]. Other rules of statutory construction are operative in this case. ...