TJL News Clippings
Amie DiGiampaolo, Senior Associate Attorney at The Jacobs Law LLC is Team Captain of “Amie’s Angels” for the Boston Walk Like MADD & MADD Dash 5k 2021
In June 2000, Amie was seriously injured when a drunk driver struck the vehicle in which she was a passenger. She supports Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (“MADD”) and participates in events like “Walk Like MADD” to raise mission critical funds for MADD to put an end to the 100 percent preventable crime of drunk driving. Walk Like MADD provides an outlet for those impacted by drunk driving to channel their grief into hope and healing and provides communities the chance to surround and support those hurting by taking action to prevent others from suffering because of drunk driving. The Jacobs Law LLC is proud to support Amie in this endeavor and encourages others to do so the same – you can support Amie’s Angels by clicking here.
Travis Jacobs, Managing Partner of The Jacobs Law LLC, Quoted in “New England In-House”
The article related to a May 2019 US Federal District Court (Mass.) decision in Valle v. Powertech Industrial Co Ltd et al (Case No: 17-cv-10196-DJC). In the case, a Massachusetts resident who provided outside sales services to a Taiwanese manufacturer alleged he was misclassified as an independent contractor and entitled to Wage Act protections. The facts included that Valle owned and operated a sales business, initiated contact with the Taiwanese company, Powertech, and proposed a potential deal between Powertech and a US purchaser. The parties signed 1 or 2 contracts over the term of their relationship. Valle was an entirely outside sales agent paid on a commission-only basis in exchange for generating orders for Powertech’s products from U.S. companies. A dispute over the amount of those commissions and Valle brought a claim against Powertech alleging he was misclassified as an independent contractor (i.e. should have been classified as an employee) and that Powertech’s failure to pay him the ‘wages’ he felt he was entitled to was a violation of the Massachusetts Wage Act. Powertech argued that Valle was not an employee because his sales services were outside the usual course of the company’s manufacturing business. Ultimately, Court ruled in favor of Valle. The Court’s decision seemed to turn on 1 key fact – because Powertech also employed in-house sales representatives to perform roughly the same or substantially similar types of sales services that Valle performed, Powertech could not satisfy prong 2 of the Massachusetts Independent Contractor statute and therefore was, in fact, misclassified as an independent contractor.
This is the ‘3 Prong Test’ of the Massachusetts Independent Contractor Statute, MGL c.149, § 148B: (1) the individual is free from control and direction in connection with the performance of the service, both under his contract for the performance of service and in fact; and (2) the service is performed outside the usual course of the business of the employer; and (3) the individual is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, profession or business of the same nature as that involved in the service performed.
Attorney Jacobs was quoted in the May 28, 2019 article as stating: “Unfortunately, the Massachusetts independent contractor statute has taken on a life of its own and the judge was boxed in, literally, by the letter of the law and precedent that gets ever-broader in scope.”
Travis Jacobs, Managing Partner of The Jacobs Law LLC, Elected to President of “Starting Out Solo”
In December 2019, Managing Partner, Travis J. Jacobs, was elected President of the nationally recognized, quasi bar organization “Starting Out Solo” (SOS). www.startingoutsolo.org.
Travis Jacobs, Managing Partner of The Jacobs Law LLC, Elected to Executive Board of “Starting Out Solo”
In December 2014, Managing Partner, Travis J. Jacobs, was elected to the Board of Directors of the nationally recognized group “Starting Out Solo” (SOS). Eligibility for SOS membership requires that prospective members go into solo practice directly out of law school and passing the bar exam. Members who later develop and grow their practice retain eligibility. SOS members assist each other with advice on everything from ethics issues to renting office space to marketing and advertising. It is a valuable resource for new attorneys who take the exceptional step of hanging their own shingle.
Attorney Eric J. Moreno, Associate at The Jacobs Law LLC joins the Massachusetts Bar Association’s Law Practice Management Council 2015-2016.
For the 2015-2016 session, Eric J. Moreno, Associate Attorney with The Jacobs Law LLC, joined the Massachusetts Bar Association’s Law Practice Management Council. The Law Practice Management Section provides practical education, tools and assistance to lawyers in the business of practicing law. The Section focuses on law office marketing, budgeting and finance, management and use of technology.
The Jacobs Law LLC Succeeds on Appeal of Case Before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
In Commonwealth v. Dagraca-Teixeira (and a companion case) (Docket No. SJC-11754) (March 16, 2015), the Defendant had been convicted of possession of drugs found in a bedroom as well possession of a firearm and ammunition found in an attic crawl space. Travis J. Jacobs, Managing Partner of The Jacobs Law LLC, argued for the Defendant before the Massachusetts Appeals Court and Supreme Judicial Court. Attorney Jacobs demonstrated that the facts presented to the jury at trial were insufficient to prove constructive possession.
In reversing the conviction on possession of the firearm and ammunition, the Court reasoned:
“Because they [the defendants] had access to the attic, it reasonably can be inferred that the defendants had the ‘ability’ to exercise control over items located there. … The dispositive question, however, is whether the Commonwealth provided sufficient evidence of their ‘knowledge’ of the concealed firearms and ‘intention’ to exercise such control. … The mere fact that the attic was above the bedrooms, without any evidence that it was directly accessible through the bedrooms, was insufficient, without more, to support an inference that the defendants had the requisite knowledge of the contents of the attic and an intention to exercise control of the contents.
The attic was equally accessible to all occupants of the apartment, and not uniquely accessible to the occupants of the bedrooms…None of the evidence presented showed a connection between the defendants and anything in the attic, let alone to the firearms and ammunition concealed there. Conversely, the search of the bedrooms and the common living areas uncovered nothing establishing the defendants’ connection to the weapons. … No known possessions of the defendants were found in the attic; indeed, there was no evidence that the defendants had ever been in the attic.
There was also no evidence that police officers observed the defendants engaged in any suspicious activity relating to firearms and ammunition, and no evidence that any other firearms, ammunition, or gun paraphernalia were found in the bedrooms or common living areas of the apartment. Nor was there any suggestion that the defendants displayed any consciousness of guilt in reaction to the search of the attic. … Thus, the evidence was insufficient to support a conclusion beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendants constructively possessed the firearms and ammunition concealed in the attic.” (emphasis added)
Travis Jacobs, Managing Partner of The Jacobs Law LLC Quoted in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly Article on Case Involving Failure to Disclose Action on Behalf of LLC
The District Court’s Appellate Division reversed a $60,000 verdict ruling that the failure of owners of an LLC to disclose that they were acting as the LLC’s agents when they negotiated the sale of a purebred dog barred them from recovering damages for breach of contract. The November 2014 Article in MA Lawyers Weekly stated:
Travis J. Jacobs, a business and corporate law attorney in Boston, said Keane also shows the need for an attorney to be involved in some capacity when a new business is started, regardless of its size.
All too often, Jacobs said, he sees entrepreneurs who just want the legal papers registering their business organization filed without the added value of critical legal advice.
“You have these online websites that will complete your paperwork and file it for a cheap amount, but they give you no counsel on how you need to run your entity and what you need to do in order to protect yourself from personal liability,” he said.
And that can be a big mistake, Jacobs said.
“Business owners really need to ask themselves whether an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” he said. “For just a few hundred dollars up front for an hour of a lawyer’s time, you can get an outline of what you need to do to protect yourself. That few hundred dollars up front can help you avoid thousands of dollars in litigation fees and judgments.”
Whether the Emergency Aid Exception to the Warrant Requirement Extends to Police Rendering Emergency Aid to Animals, Argued by Travis J. Jacobs Before the Supreme Judicial Court
Commonwealth v. Duncan (Docket No. SJC-11373) (April 11, 2014) was a case that received national attention, with amicus briefs filed by numerous animal rights groups in favor of the Commonwealth and extension of the emergency aid exception to the warrant requirement to police conduct exercised in rendering aid to animals. Attorney Jacobs argued that extension of the exception to animals was inconsistent with the U.S. and state constitutions, and could be used as subterfuge to justify otherwise unlawful warrantless searches and seizures.
The Supreme Judicial Court disagreed, and concluded that extending the emergency aid exception to police conduct in rendering aid to animals was consistent with public policy concerns with minimizing animal suffering in a variety of contexts.
In light of the public policy in favor of minimizing animal suffering in a wide variety of contexts, permitting warrantless searches to protect nonhuman animal life fits coherently within the existing emergency aid exception to the warrant requirement, intended to facilitate official response to an ‘immediate need for assistance for the protection of life or property’ (emphasis supplied) (citations omitted). It is therefore reasonable ‘to render aid to relatively vulnerable and helpless animals when faced with people willing or even anxious to mistreat them.’ …
We therefore conclude that our prior formulations of the emergency aid exception encompass warrantless searches to protect nonhuman animal life. Thus, under both the Fourth Amendment and art. 14, the exception permits the police in certain circumstances ‘to enter a home without a warrant when they have an objectively reasonable basis to believe that there may be [an animal] inside who is injured or in imminent danger of physical harm.’ …
In an effort to appeal the ruling to the United States Supreme Court, Attorney Jacobs filed a Writ of Certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court. However, the writ was withdrawn after the underlying criminal action was disposed of by agreement.
Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly recognized The Jacobs Law LLC for a $1M dollar bench award. The bench award of $1M dollars was one of the highest in 2011. TJL obtained the judgment against the operator of a motor vehicle in a multi-vehicle crash that caused the death of the husband of TJL’s client.
The Jacobs Law LLC Succeeds in Reversing Conviction in an ‘Dookhan Defendant’ Case
The Jacobs Law LLC represented a ‘Dookhan Defendant’ on appeal arising out of the Annie Dookhan JP drug lab scandal. The Defendant had been convicted of distribution of cocaine in a school zone. The cocaine had been tested by Annie Dookhan, who had been accused of mishandling drug evidence samples and altering test substances to obtain a positive result. The Defendant appealed the convictions, which were reversed and remanded.
The Jacobs Law LLC Wins Appeal Re Constitutionality of Stop for Obfuscating “Spirit of America” on MA License Plate
Managing Partner, Travis J. Jacobs, was successful on appeal (and the Commonwealth’s Request for Further Appellate Review to the Supreme Judicial Court denied) involving a traffic stop for no reason except that a rear-view camera partially obscured the phrase “Sprit of America” on the vehicle’s Massachusetts license plate.
Associate Eric J. Moreno chairs the Massachusetts Bar Association’s 2015 Mock Interview program
The Massachusetts Bar Association’s Law Practice Management Section sought volunteer members for its 2015 Mock Interview Program. The program helps law students and recent graduates develop interview skills that are important to professional development and obtaining prospective employment. Attorney Moreno assisted in expanding the program to all nine area law schools.
The Article addresses the serious risks faced by any business doing business in Massachusetts. Far too many businesses are sued under the Massachusetts Wage Act, Independent Contractor Statute, and related regulations. These statutes mandate triple damages, award of attorneys’ fees and costs and provide for personal liability on business owners and managers responsible for the payment of wages. Any business that has workers that work overtime or that uses independent contractors should retain a Business Lawyer to review the arrangement, contracts and policies applicable to those workers and contractors. An ounce of prevention can be worth a TON of cure when it comes to wage and salary and independent contractor risks in Massachusetts.