Tag: Massachusetts

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COVID-19: Emergency Regulations Do Not Pass Constitutional Muster
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COVID-19: Massachusetts Joins the Five Other New England States in Temporarily Permitting Remote Notarization
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COVID-19: The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office Issues Emergency Regulations Significantly Limiting Debt Collection in Massachusetts During Pandemic
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COVID-19: New England States Embrace Remote Notarization as Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont Temporarily Eliminate “In-Person” Requirements
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COVID-19: Defending Class Actions in Massachusetts in the Wake of COVID-19
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COVID-19: Impact on Consumer Financial Service Providers
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The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Considers the Effect of a State-Mandated Default Notice on the Validity of Non-Judicial Foreclosures
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Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Holds Passive Debt Buyers Are Not Debt Collectors Under Massachusetts Law
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Massachusetts issues guidelines for using third-party robo-advisers
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A Guaranty Is Only As Good As The Person Who Signs It: Enforcing Commercial Lending Guaranties In Massachusetts

COVID-19: Emergency Regulations Do Not Pass Constitutional Muster

Federal Judge Enjoins Enforcement of Massachusetts Attorney General’s Debt Collection Ban Under First Amendment

By Sean R. HigginsJohn ReVeal, and Hollee M. Boudreau

In response to the COVID-19 emergency, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office (“AGO”) issued a set of emergency regulations [1] intended to broadly prohibit certain debt collection activities in Massachusetts, including prohibitions against initiating debt collection calls or lawsuits, during the pendency of the COVID-19 emergency. [2] On May 6, 2020, U.S. District Judge Richard Stearns enjoined the AGO’s enforcement of those regulations as an unconstitutional restraint on commercial free speech. The court found that the AGO’s broad prohibitions violated the constitutional rights of creditors and debt collectors in Massachusetts without providing any meaningful protections to consumers greater than those afforded by existing state and federal consumer protection laws. [3] Read More

COVID-19: Massachusetts Joins the Five Other New England States in Temporarily Permitting Remote Notarization

By Lindsay Sampson BishopAbigail P. HemnesChristopher J. Valente, and R. Nicholas Perkins

On 27 April 2020, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed Senate Bill 2645, “An Act Providing for Virtual Notarization to Address Challenges Related to COVID-19” (the Act) into law. With the enactment of this law, Massachusetts joins the other five New England states—Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont—in temporarily permitting remote notarization through the use of videoconferencing technology [1]. Like the remote notarization provisions in effect across the region, the Act allows individuals and businesses to get documents notarized while complying with social distancing and other health and safety guidelines.

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COVID-19: The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office Issues Emergency Regulations Significantly Limiting Debt Collection in Massachusetts During Pandemic

By Sean R. HigginsJohn ReVeal, and Hollee M. Boudreau

The rapid spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (“COVID-19”) has caused unprecedented disruptions to the U.S. economy, both at the state and national levels.

On March 10, 2020, the Governor of Massachusetts declared a State of Emergency, imposed stringent social distancing measures, and ordered all “non-essential” businesses to cease in-person operations.[1] While these measures were intended to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, they also have caused many Massachusetts residents to experience significant financial hardships.

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COVID-19: New England States Embrace Remote Notarization as Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont Temporarily Eliminate “In-Person” Requirements

By Lindsay Sampson BishopAbigail P. HemnesChristopher J. Valente, and R. Nicholas Perkins

Among the dilemmas facing companies trying to conduct business through the COVID-19 crisis is the question of how to notarize documents while complying with social-distancing guidelines. As offices adapt to remote work and businesses are ordered to reduce person-to-person contact wherever possible, documents must still be notarized for many traditional commercial activities to continue. In response to COVID-19 and related governmental actions, some states are temporarily easing their notarization requirements to permit remote notarization through the use of videoconferencing technology. Consequently, individuals seeking to have a document notarized no longer need to appear in person before a notary in these states for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis.

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COVID-19: Defending Class Actions in Massachusetts in the Wake of COVID-19

By Brian M. ForbesRobert W. Sparkes, III, and Michael R. Creta

The novel coronavirus (“COVID-19”) has caused severe business disruptions throughout Massachusetts. Many companies doing business in Massachusetts have been forced to indefinitely shut their doors, while others are facing supply problems or decreased product demand. In addition to navigating these choppy economic waters, business leaders must also consider the risks likely to follow the current crisis.

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COVID-19: Impact on Consumer Financial Service Providers

A Summary of Federal and State Statutes, Rules and Orders

By David E. FialkowBrian M. Forbes, and Jeffrey S. Patterson

The coronavirus (“COVID-19”) pandemic has been and will continue to be a major business disrupter that will have a substantial impact on the consumer financial services industry in the weeks and months to come. Notably, federal, state and local governments and agencies are acting swiftly and changing the rules by which consumer financial services companies are to do business in the short and long term. K&L Gates LLP (“K&L Gates”) has developed a COVID-19 Task Force to closely monitor these developments and is tracking them in several jurisdictions across the firm’s footprint. Below is a summary, current as of March 30, 2020, of key new and proposed statutes, rules, and orders that are likely to impact consumer financial services companies. Keeping track of these almost daily developments to foreclosure, eviction, debt collection, student loans and other business lines, which vary state to state, is critical for consumer financial services companies to respond to their customers. As with previous nationwide crises, how these companies implement and apply these changes will have a substantial impact on post-pandemic compliance, litigation, and risks. K&L Gates has team members assigned to each of the states listed below who are able to help answer your questions and help companies address ongoing issues associated with the pandemic. Please click on a jurisdiction below for more information:

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The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Considers the Effect of a State-Mandated Default Notice on the Validity of Non-Judicial Foreclosures

By Andrew C. GlassGregory N. BlaseJeremy M. McLaughlin, and Hollee M. Boudreau

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) heard argument on February 13, 2020, on whether compliance with a state-mandated default notice could, nevertheless, void foreclosure sales in Massachusetts. Specifically, the SJC examined whether the provision of the state-mandated notice has the potential to deceive a borrower where it describes a period for reinstating a loan that varies (to the benefit of the borrower) from the period contained in the mortgage.

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Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Holds Passive Debt Buyers Are Not Debt Collectors Under Massachusetts Law

By: Sean R. Higgins and Matthew N. Lowe

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recently held in Dorrian v. LVNV Funding, LLC,[1] that “passive debt buyers” are not “debt collectors” required to be licensed under the Massachusetts Fair Debt Collection Practices Act[2] (“MDCPA”).

Dorrian is a class action lawsuit filed by borrowers in default who alleged that defendant LVNV Funding, LLC (“LVNV”) was operating as a debt collector without being licensed under the MDCPA.[3]  Notably, the plaintiffs did not sue the third-party LVNV contracted with to handle all collection and servicing, which was licensed as a debt collector under the MDCPA.  The trial court certified the class and granted summary judgment in the borrowers’ favor on their claims that LVNV violated the MDCPA by operating as an unlicensed debt collector.[4]

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Massachusetts issues guidelines for using third-party robo-advisers

By Susan P. Altman and C. Todd Gibson

In April 2016, the Massachusetts Securities Division issued a policy statement with respect to the fiduciary obligations of state-registered advisers providing robo-advice. The MSD has now issued further regulatory guidance in a new Policy Statement with respect to the use of third-party robo-advisers by state-registered investment advisers. The MSD noted the significant growth in popularity of third-party robo-advisers and the increasing number of state-registered investment advisers working with third-party robo-advisers.

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A Guaranty Is Only As Good As The Person Who Signs It: Enforcing Commercial Lending Guaranties In Massachusetts

By: Robert W. Sparkes, III and David A. Mawhinney

Guaranties are common practice in the commercial lending industry. Typically, the borrower is a small corporation, limited liability company, or similar entity that is thinly capitalized with few (likely encumbered) assets. Under these circumstances, the borrower’s promise to pay a debt is cold comfort to a commercial lender in the event of a default, where its only source of recovery is likely to be the collateral it holds. For this reason, commercial lenders often condition loans not only on a security interest in the borrower’s property, but also on a separate, individual guaranty agreement executed by a third party, usually the principals of the corporate borrower. Such guaranties provide another avenue through which commercial lenders may recover loan amounts and damages due to the borrower’s default.

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