The Massachusetts Bar
Association has a vigorous legislative agenda containing reforms in virtually
all areas of practice. The MBA bill filings for the 2009-10 legislative session reflect the high interest and activity levels of our
All of the filings are
reflective of the association’s desire to benefit consumers and citizens across
the commonwealth. The measures contain fixed strategic legislative cures along
with broad measures to ensure access to the courts and the effective
administration of justice.
Act Relative to Immunity
Provides for qualified immunity
for health care providers who administer public health vaccinations.
An Act Granting Discretion to the Superior Court to Allocate Certain Settlement
Grants to the Superior
Court the power to apportion liens in third party workers compensation actions
in response to Rhode v. Beacon Sales.
Act Relative to the Liability of Certain Non-Profit Corporations
Raises the present
$20,000 charitable immunity cap provided to hospitals to the sum of $500,000.
Act Providing for the Equitable Apportionment of Certain Liens
Apportions the expense of
attorney’s fees and costs incurred in personal injury actions among all medical
provider lien holders in response to Pierce v. Christmas Tree Shops
Act Improving the Workers’ Compensation System
Addresses the inequity
caused by a recent decision by the Division of Industrial Accident’s which held
that an injured worker who returned to work on a part-time basis following an
industrial accident, and then was subsequently re-injured, would only receive
benefits based on the average weekly wage of the part-time employment. The legislation
would also allow for attorney’s fees and costs in instances when insurers
withdraw motions to discontinue workers benefits.
Act Relative to Impartial Medical Examiners
impartial examinations in workers’ compensation cases and allow parties to
enter into evidence their own doctor’s report and records by removing the
current barriers on the introduction of evidence.
Act Relative to Workers’ Compensation Benefits
conflicts regarding attorney’s fees in workers’ compensation cases. The
legislation would also allow parties to agree to matters, short of lump summing
a case, without the need for litigation. In addition, the legislation would
provide for a minimum compensation rate for workers.
Act Relative to Injured Workers
Eliminates in workers’
compensation cases the utilization review mandate and streamlines workers’
benefits. The legislation would also eliminate the current cap on partial
benefits and remove the arbitrary caps on the number of weeks an employee may
collect partial benefits.
Act Relative to Divorce Procedure and Judgment of Divorce NISI*
and streamlines the procedural time periods in divorce actions under G.L. c.
208 s. 1A and s. 1B.
Act Relative to the Removal Statute
Provides that a child
could only be removed from the state with the consent of both parents or by
court order. Also, it would amend the removal statute to apply the statute to
divorcing parents; currently it only applies to divorced parents.
Act Relative to the Durable Power of Attorney Act
Updates the statute
regarding the durable power of attorney.
Act Relative to Establishing Paternity
Codifies the SJC decision in Paternity
of Cheryl establishing paternity guidelines.
Act Allowing a Court to Appoint Counsel before Imposition of a Jail Sentence
Provides that counsel be
provided to indigent persons before the probate and family court in a contempt
proceeding before the court imposes a jail sentence.
Act Relative to the Uniform Child-Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act
Creates uniform guidelines for child
custody jurisdiction and enforcement.
Act Improving the Spousal Elective Share
Rewrites the existing
statutory law on forced elective share by significantly increasing the size of
the elective estate and clarifying procedures necessary to the election of the
Act to Prohibit the Use of Certain Liability Waivers As Against Public Policy
Under this amendment,
employers would not be required or permitted to require employees to sign third
party waivers, releasing third parties from liability for claims
which might be brought as workers compensation claims.
Act Establishing a Parent Child Testimonial Privilege
Establishes a parent-child
privilege stating that a parent cannot be compelled to testify against an unemanicipated, minor child unless the crime is against a
family member or the parent possesses exculpatory information.
Act Calling for the Accountability of the Commissioner of Insurance by
Converting the Position to an Elected Office
Requires that the
Commissioner of Insurance be an elected position that would come up for
re-election every four years.
Act to Clarify the Terms of Motor Vehicle Liability Bonds and Policies (duty to
Restores coverage protection for motor vehicle insurance
policy holders that was removed in a Jan. 1, 1993 “policy change” by the
commissioner of insurance, this requiring insurers to continue to defend their
insureds even after the policy limits have been paid.
Act Relative to Uninsured Motorist Coverage Benefits (Alguilla/Pascar bill)
automobile insurance law where there are multiple parties injured in an
accident where there is only a single bodily injury policy available to
Act Relative to Uninsured Motorist Coverage (trigger bill)
Removes the so-called
“trigger” from underinsured motorist coverage.
Act to Protect Consumers in the Issuance of Automobile Insurance Policies and Bonds
(policy changes bill)
Benefits all purchasers
of automobile insurance by providing consumer input into the process by which
the Commissioner of Insurance approves changes to the terms and conditions of
the automobile insurance policy.
Act Relative to the Antenuptial Statute
Removes antiquated language requiring a party from doing a
recording if they want to record a notice of an agreement relative to land.
Act Relative to Long Term Care Insurance
Requires long-term care
insurers to include at home care and limited “waiting periods” provisions in
all long-term care policies.
Act Relative to Allocation of State Pension Benefits Upon Divorce
The proposed amendments
to M.G.L. chapter 32, section 12, cure present problems in allocating state
pension benefits upon a divorce.
Act to Increase Flexibility in Alimony Orders
decisions imply that trial courts have the authority to determine the amount of
alimony, but not the duration contrary to the intent of the statute. This
legislation would clarify the statute granting discretion to judges in
determining the duration of alimony.
in conjunction with the Boston Bar Association.