Thursday, September 1, 2011

Irene’s Aftermath: Your Legal Rights When Your Neighbor’s Tree Causes Property Damage or Personal Injury

In the wake of Irene’s path of destruction, you may be wondering what your legal rights are if your neighbor’s tree fell onto your property causing personal injury or property damage. The New Hampshire Supreme Court recently provided some guidance on this issue. The Court held that a landowner who knows or should know that his tree is decayed or defective and who fails to reasonably maintain the tree is liable for the resulting damages even when the harm occurs outside his property line. The court however made it clear that for liability to arise, the decay and disease of the tree must be readily apparent thereby legally requiring the landowner to take reasonable steps to prevent damages and injury before they occur. On the other hand, if the neighbor’s tree was perfectly healthy before falling, he will not be held responsible for any resulting damage or injuries.

Submitted By Elizabeth M. Leonard, Esq.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Attention parents: Summer day camp expenses may be a tax credit

I thought this may be of interest to parents out there with children at day camp this summer:,,id=172245,00.html

Submitted By Andrea Labonte, Esq.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

NH Circuit Courts begin operation July 1, 2011

New Hampshire District, Probate, and Family Division Courts merge into one Court system, to be known as the New Hampshire Circuit Court, effective July 1, 2011.

The N.H. Circuit Court will have ten circuits, one for each county. Current District, Probate and Family Division court locations remain the same. Hillsborough County will be the 9th Circuit and have the following Court locations:

Manchester-District and Family Divisions
Merrimack-District and Family Divisions
Milford-District Division
Goffstown-District and Family Divisons
Nashua-District Division (Walnut Street)
Nashua-Probate Division (Spring Street)

For more information on this major restructuring of the New Hampshire court system, go to the New Hampshire Judicial Branch website at

To view the legislation which created the circuit court, go to

Submitted By Andrea Labonte, Esq.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Modification of an existing parenting plan becomes a little easier beginning August 13, 2011

On June 14, 2011, the New Hampshire legislature approved House Bill 52 which allows a Court to modify permanent parenting plans if there are minimal or no changes in the allocation of parenting time. For example, this will allow a Court to modify minor changes to pick up or drop off times based on changes to the parties’ or child’s schedules or a change in which weeknight a parent has parenting time with his/her child based on the best interest of the child.

The New Hampshire Supreme had previously interpreted RSA 461-A:11 to allow for modification of final parenting plans in only certain limited circumstances absent an agreement of the parties. See In Re Muchmore, 159 N.H. 470 (2009)

HB 52 also allows for other modifications of permanent parenting plans other than to the parenting schedule and requests for relocation based on the best interest of the child standard.

HB 52 becomes effective August 13, 2011. For the text of the bill go to

Submitted By Andrea Labonte, Esq.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Plaintiff’s ‘Private’ Social Networking Postings No Longer Really ‘Private’

Complete Facebook and MySpace History Can (and Should!) be Obtained in Discovery

Investigation into the publicly accessible postings of a plaintiff or claimant on social networking websites such as Facebook and MySpace has long been an important part of routine discovery practice. Though ethical considerations prohibit defense counsel from soliciting increased access to a plaintiff’s social networking pages through “friend requests” or other similar means, material that a plaintiff has made publicly available to all on the internet is fair game. Until recently, the publicly available postings of a plaintiff were all that were generally available to the defense. A recent decision from a trial court in New York and a resulting software change made by Facebook in response to that decision may, however, give defendants access to a personal injury plaintiff’s complete Facebook history.

In Romano v. Steelcase, Inc., 907 N.Y.S.2d 650 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2010), a personal injury case in which the plaintiff was claiming to have suffered loss of enjoyment of life and permanent injuries, the court found that production of the plaintiff’s entries on her Facebook and MySpace accounts “would not be violative of her right to privacy” and that when the plaintiff created her Facebook and MySpace accounts, “she consented to the fact that her personal information would be shared with others.” Id. at 657. In so holding, the court noted that such sharing “is the very nature and purpose of these social networking sites else they would cease to exist.” Id. (emphasis added). The court ultimately granted defendant’s motion to compel and ordered the plaintiff to give the defendant access to her “current and historical Facebook and MySpace pages and accounts, including all deleted pages and related information.” Id. at 657.

Largely in response to the court’s order in Romano, Facebook recently implemented a change in its software that makes accessing one’s current and historical Facebook pages and accounts a very simple process – through a few clicks, a user can obtain, via email, a link to a .ZIP file containing everything that the user has ever posted to Facebook or has had posted on his or her “wall.” This file contains a user’s complete Facebook history and it can be very easily transferred to a disc, sent via email, or posted to a large-file transfer site.

Learn more about the Romano decision and about obtaining this .ZIP file through discovery by reading a more complete article on the issue here. You can also contact the author directly at or by phone at 603-629-4575.

-Submitted By Adam Mordecai, Esq.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Business Resolutions

From the Union Leader to the Boston Globe to the Wall Street Journal, business writers and analysts are predicting a general increase in hiring for 2011. Early economic indicators, including the Dow edging tantalizingly towards 12,000, suggest consumer confidence is returning to a level not seen for several years. This is welcome news after countless reports of layoffs, work force reductions, and hiring freezes.

Is your business ready to add new employees? Talking to business associates has revealed an understandable but dangerous tendency to let hiring procedures, company policies and employee handbooks unattended during this recent negative economic cycle. With many companies experiencing a downturn in earnings, it was hard to justify added expense in reviewing these types of materials. Now, however, with news that the recession is “officially over” and publication of positive predictions, this may be a good time to revisit company procedures and update policies, manuals, and forms. Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have about the best manner in which to do this; or call Meredith Cook at 629-4511 to discuss updating your employment policies; or, call Mona Movafaghi at 629-4523 to discuss immigration issues. This is an opportune time to revamp employer policies and hiring information, and place your company in a good position to expand your work force as, hopefully, it and the economy grows again.

-Submitted By Christopher Pyles, Esq.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Thanks for reading . . . and a New Year’s Resolution

Thank you for reading the blog over the past year. There has been a lot of great feedback, and I appreciate the responses, comments and emails.

Blogs are one effective way to update clients and interested people in new developments, and certainly technology makes it easier to share such information. As one of my 2011 resolutions, however, I hope to use technology less and meet with people more. It may be old fashioned in an era of social media, but if there is a blog entry that interested you and that you would like to discuss, or if you have some ideas about a blog posting you would like to see, feel free to give me a call and we can discuss it over coffee or lunch. Sometimes blogs get in the way of meeting people in person, and hopefully 2011 will give me an opportunity to meet more of you face to face.

-Submitted By Christopher Pyles, Esq.