Section Review

Section Review

The Business Litigation Session 2003 year in review: Holding sophisticated parties to the terms of their agreements

A strict approach to contractual interpretation brings uniformity and predictability to commercial disputes and is especially appropriate in situations where both parties to the negotiations possess equal bargaining power or sophistication. Unlike many consumer-business transactions where the parties stand on different footing, the commercial contract disputes most often filed in the Business Litigation Session consist generally of disputes between two sophisticated parties, knowledgeable in business and in the art of negotiation. Accordingly, equitable principles and broad contract interpretation seem to play a more limited role in the Business Litigation Session than in the general Superior Court sessions.

Tort claims for injuries to animals: A new frontier

What, if any, remedies are available to the owners of animals that are seriously injured or killed? This question has been raised recently following the death and serious injury of several dogs that suffered shocks from electrical currents on Boston streets and sidewalks. Currently, whoever wrongfully kills, maims or carries away a domesticated animal is liable in tort to its owners for punitive damages equal to three times its value.

Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act: A better child custody jurisdiction law for Massachusetts

Prior to 1968, state courts throughout the United States could exercise subject matter jurisdiction in a child custody case based on the physical in-state presence of the child. Because the United States Supreme Court had never ruled that states must grant full faith and credit to the custody determinations of sister states, many states freely modified other states' custody determinations. This legal climate advantaged the parent in actual possession of the child. It encouraged forum shopping and child abduction.
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