I have spent much of my professional life dealing with the
adverse consequences of drinking and driving. When the
crashworthiness doctrine took hold across the nation after the U.S.
Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit issued its decision in
Larsen v. General Motors1 in 1968, individuals
involved in high kinetic energy collisions began filing lawsuits
against motor vehicle manufacturers in significant numbers. Since I
represent motor vehicle manufacturers, I defended many, many
lawsuits where the injured persons were occupants of vehicles
operated recklessly by impaired drivers. Drunk drivers can do great
damage to themselves and to others.
On Thurs., Dec. 22, 2011, the House passed a bill extending the
effective date of the Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code (MUPC) to
March 31, 2012. At press time, the extension bill awaits action by
the Senate. The MUPC was set to go into effect on Jan. 2, 2012.
Six months since its official launch, the Massachusetts Bar
Association's Pro Bono Prescription program has attracted dozens of
volunteers and begun the next phase of its mission: assigning cases
to participating attorneys.
The program, a collaboration between the MBA and the
Massachusetts Medical-Legal Partnership network, helps low-income
residents across the state get help for their legal needs, many of
which are impacting their health. A doctor in the emergency room
can treat a child's respiratory troubles, for example, but a lawyer
is instrumental in ensuring that the landlord removes the mold that
triggered the illness.
The MBA's past presidents and the current slate of officers
gathered this year for the annual Past Presidents Dinner at the
University of Massachusetts Club in Boston on Nov. 17. As part of
the speaking portion of the event, Appeals Court Associate Justice
Peter W. Agnes Jr. addressed the group. Agnes' appointment to the
Appeals Court was approved by the Governor's Council in September,
following his 11 years of service as a Superior Court judge and
nine years on the District Court bench.
To read an excerpt from Agnes' remarks, see Viewpoint on page 3.
To read his entire speech, go to www.massbar.org/agnes.