Categories for Small Businesses

When Can My Business Reopen? Massachusetts Guidelines for the COVID-19 Pandemic

June 12, 2020 12:00 pm Published by Paul C. Foley

One of the states most hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, Massachusetts has chosen to use public health data to formulate all phases of its reopening plan for businesses and other organizations. As fewer people test positive for the virus, as fewer die of COVID-19, more businesses will be allowed to reopen. If those numbers begin to rise again, however, restrictions will be reimposed.

Here are the key things you need to know about the Commonwealth’s plans for phased reopening:

Testing and Contact Tracing Are Key to Timing of Each Phase

Massachusetts has adopted one of the most aggressive testing protocols in the country and has established a national model for contact tracing, in collaboration with Partners in ...

7 Resolutions to Get Your Legal House in Order for a Great 2020

January 17, 2020 12:10 pm Published by Mountain, Dearborn & Whiting LLP

Welcome to a brand-new decade! It’s halfway through January, and we hope you’ve already made progress on your life-changing resolutions for the coming year. Here are a few recommendations from our colleagues at Mountain, Dearborn & Whiting for law-related resolutions that you can add to your list—now, or anytime this year:

1. Katherine Bagdis, Partner, Litigation and Family Law: If you “popped the question” over the holidays, now is a good time to consider whether you and your soon-to-be spouse should execute a prenuptial agreement prior to the wedding.

2. Robin DeAugustinis, Partner, Commercial Lending and Real Estate Law: If you haven’t already done so, please execute and record a Declaration of Homestead ...

Tiptoe Through the Orchard: What You Should Know About the Massachusetts Pick-Your-Own Law

June 13, 2019 8:48 am Published by Robin A. DeAugustinis

Trees are in full leaf, flowers are blooming, and the Commonwealth’s orchards will soon bear fruit. It’s almost time to visit a pick-your-own produce farm for berries and peaches this summer. The pick-your-own season stretches well into the fall, with harvests of apples and pumpkins, and, for some, holiday trees as winter nears. After such a rainy spring, it’s a welcomed pleasure, at last, not only to enjoy the seasonal weather, but also to select your own produce in a natural setting.

As much fun as an outing to the orchard can be, however, it’s important to be considerate guests—treating the grounds, plants, and people with respect for their wellbeing—and to be alert to risks of accidents. The ground ...

Deadline for 2017 Real Estate Tax Abatement Applications Is February 1

January 25, 2017 10:28 am Published by Patricia Finnegan Gates

Property owners: Don’t miss the filing deadline for your real estate Tax Abatement Application. If you believe that your real estate valuation and tax bills are too high, you must file an Abatement Application with your city or town on or before the last day for payment of the first installment of the tax bill due as shown on the “Actual” (as opposed to the “Preliminary”) tax bill.

For Worcester properties, the Fiscal Year 2017 Actual tax bills were mailed on January 1, 2017, and the payment is due February 1, 2017. You must file your Abatement Application on or before Wednesday, February 1. You must pay your real estate taxes on time to be ...

Close Corporations: A Cautionary Tale of Misplaced Trust and Fiduciary Failings

September 23, 2016 8:52 am Published by James D. O'Brien, Jr.

Worcester made its mark in the 19th and 20th centuries as a manufacturing center, giving rise to industrial giants such as Norton Company and Wyman Gordon, many of which were owned for generations by small family groups. Home to inventors and entrepreneurs, our city has also fostered many smaller businesses, founded and operated by families or friends.

Oftentimes the stockholders, directors and officers in these “close” corporations are the same two or three people, each one performing multiple roles simultaneously in the corporate structure. Such companies play a significant role in the Commonwealth’s economy, but their very smallness creates a unique set of risks for the owners.

Close Corporation Defined

In Donahue v. Rodd Electrotype of New England, ...

Protect Your Business from a Data Breach

October 8, 2015 11:45 am Published by Paul C. Foley

Businesses of all sizes wrestle with the complex interplay of privacy rights and data security in the workplace. If you aren’t wrestling with it, then you may have already been pinned. Let’s get you up off the mat.

To illustrate the issue, let’s take an everyday situation. Suppose that a local landscaping company (“the Company”) has recently experienced a welcomed growth spurt. In response, the Company has increased its field staff and its office staff. The office staff, a total of four employees, are assigned workplaces with computers connected to a local server, with a central database of customers, scheduling, payment information, and other sensitive data.

As in many workplaces, the office is adjacent to the crew areas, and ...