Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Wishing Harm To A Person Does Not Warrant The Issuance Of A Domestic Violence Restraining Order

In order to receive a domestic violence restraining order under NH RSA 173: B, the person seeking the restraining order must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that he/she was abused. In Hurley v. Hurley, an ex-wife sought a restraining order against her ex-husband, predicated on the ex-husband's text message. In the text message, the ex-husband stated "wish you would die in a fiery crash". Recognizing that the ex-husband's text message may well be regarded as reprehensible, the New Hampshire Supreme Court ultimately concluded that the text message did not constitute abuse as defined by the Statute and ruled that the ex-wife was not entitled to a domestic violence restraining order.

While the Supreme Court's decision is instructive as to what constitutes abuse, it is important for parents to understand that such improper communication with their ex-spouse could have other consequences. By way of example, continued inappropriate communications such as indicated in this decision could result in the divorce court from issuing a martial restraining order under NH RSA 458 or put further restrictions on parenting in order to address the improper communications. It is essential in raising children post-divorce/separation that the parents learn to communicate effectively and in the children's best interest. The harm from such communication is far reaching, not only to the person to whom the communication is directed, but to the children as well.

If you have any questions regarding post-divorce/separation communications, please do not hesitate to contact an attorney at Hamblett & Kerrigan to discuss. The attorneys at Hamblett & Kerrigan have experience in handling such situations. Let Hamblett & Kerrigan use their experience to your advantage.

Kevin P. Rauseo is a director at Hamblett & Kerrigan P.A. He concentrates his practice in the areas of family and divorce law, Collaborative law, child custody and visitation, child support and alimony, personal injury, insurance defense, slip and fall accidents, automobile and truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, premises liability, dog bites and civil litigation. He is a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professional and serves on the Professional Development Committee and has previously served on the Public Education Advisory Panel of the Academy. He also is a member of the Collaborative Law Alliance of New Hampshire. AV Preeminent Rated by Martindale-Hubbell. Recipient of the 2014 Nationally Ranked Top 10 Attorney Award from the National Academy of Family Law Attorneys (NAFLA). You can reach Attorney Rauseo at krauseo@nashualaw.com.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Attorney Kevin P. Rauseo has Achieved the AV Preeminent® Rating - the Highest Possible Rating from Martindale-Hubbell®

Kevin P. Rauseo, a lawyer based in Nashua, NH whose primary area of practice is Divorce, Family and Civil Litigation, has earned the AV Preeminent® rating from Martindale-Hubbell®

Nashua, NH (PR Newswire) July 2, 2014 - Martindale-Hubbell® has confirmed that attorney Kevin P. Rauseo still maintains the AV Preeminent Rating, Martindale-Hubbell's highest possible rating for both ethical standards and legal ability, even after first achieving this rating in 2010.

For more than 130 years, lawyers have relied on the Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent® rating while searching for their own expert attorneys. Now anyone can make use of this trusted rating by looking up a lawyer's rating on Lawyers.com or martindale.com. The Martindale-Hubbell® AV Preeminent® rating is the highest possible rating for an attorney for both ethical standards and legal ability. This rating represents the pinnacle of professional excellence. It is achieved only after an attorney has been reviewed and recommended by their peers - members of the bar and the judiciary. Congratulations go to Kevin P. Rauseo who has achieved the AV Preeminent® Rating from Martindale-Hubbell®.

Kevin P. Rauseo commented on the recognition: "The Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Rating is a credential highly valued and sought after in the legal world. It used to be a sort of secret among attorneys who used the rating as a first screen when they needed to hire a lawyer they did not personally know. Now, thanks to the Internet, the Rating is a great way for anyone – lawyers or lay people - to use to screen lawyers. I am thankful to my peers who nominated me for this distinction, and proud to have earned this, the highest possible Martindale-Hubbell rating."

About Kevin P. Rauseo: a short profile by and about the honoree:

Attorney Rauseo's work is concentrated on civil litigation with a particular focus on collaborative law, divorce and personal injury and insurance defense. He is skilled in Alternative Dispute Resolution both within the formal litigation process and pre-suit. He also provides legal counsel and advocacy for clients in the area of family law and insurance defense.

The plaque shown here commemorates Kevin P. Rauseo's recognition.

To find out more or to contact Kevin P. Rauseo of Nashua, NH, call 603-883-5501, or visit http://www.nashualaw.com.

As a result of this honor, American Registry LLC, has added Kevin P. Rauseo to The Registry™ of Business and Professional Excellence. For more information, search The Registry™ at http://www.americanregistry.com.

This press release was written by American Registry, LLC, with approval by Martindale-Hubbell as well as approval and/or contributions from Kevin P. Rauseo; it was distributed by PR Newswire, a subsidiary of UBM plc.

Contact Information: Kevin P. Rauseo Phone: 603-883-5501 Email Address: krauseo@hamker.com Website: http://www.nashualaw.com

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Cell Phone Privacy

As discussed in detail in last week’s Telegraph article (click here to access), the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Riley v. California on cell phone privacy provides a clear indication that the highest court of this nation deems cell phone privacy worthy of substantial legal protection. Basically, the Court held that police generally may not, without a search warrant, search the digital information on cell phones from an individual who has been arrested.

That decision will have little direct impact in the employer / employee relations, particularly as to private employers, yet it gives a clear signal that the Supreme Court recognizes that an individual’s digital personal information needs to be protected. With that said, in litigation between employers and employees, the digital information within a cell phone is often discoverable. By way of example, in a sexual harassment case, the texts between the accuser and the accused along with texts from both of them to their respective friends can also provide compelling evidence supporting, or contradicting, the claims.

For an employer that knows a claim is going to be made against it, it should communicate with its attorney about the obligation and procedure to preserve all possibly relevant information including such texts that might be on the employee’s cell phone. If electronic information on a cell phone or elsewhere is available at the time that a claim is known, and it is later destroyed so that it does not become discoverable by the other side, the Court may issue sanctions against the party that allowed the electronic information to be destroyed including, but not limited to, allowing the jury to draw a negative inference that the destroyed information would be hurtful to the party that allowed it to be destroyed or possibly even ruling in the favor of the party that did not destroy the evidence.

It is very important to keep in mind that judges in this electronic age expect both the employer and the employee bringing the claim to keep and preserve its discoverable evidence including, but not limited to, electronic information such as emails and texts. For employees, this includes their social media pages. For example, employees who clean up their Facebook or other social media account to remove information that could detract from their claim that someone harassed them at work, that they are sensitive to sexually explicit comments, or that they are currently suffering emotional distress, could subsequently in their law suit face sanctions for spoliation of evidence from a judge. Deleting electronic information is akin to shredding documents, although some deleted of electronic information a good forensic expert may be able to retrieve.

J. Daniel Marr is a Director and Shareholder at Hamblett & Kerrigan, P.A. His legal practice includes counseling businesses and individuals on a variety of legal issues and advocating on their behalf. Attorney Marr is licensed and practices in both New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Attorney Marr can be reached at dmarr@nashualaw.com.

Monday, July 7, 2014

NEW HAMPSHIRE SUPREME COURT ISSUES ORDER REGARDING INCARCERATION AND CHILD SUPPORT MODIFICATION

On June 13, 2014, the New Hampshire Supreme Court issued an opinion that stated that an obligor’s incarceration makes him/her ineligible for a reduction in child support. In the case of In re: Lounder, the child support obligor was incarcerated in February 2013 after he committed arson. At the time of his incarceration, he was ordered to pay $109.00 per week in child support. The obligor moved to modify his child support obligation arguing his incarceration cost him his job and therefore his job loss constituted a substantial change of circumstances. The trial court ruled that the obligor was not eligible for a child support modification because his incarceration constituted voluntary underemployment.

The Supreme Court reversed stating that under New Hampshire case law, when a person is terminated from their employment because of their own malfeasance that termination does not constitute voluntary underemployment. In short, unless it can be shown that the obligor intentionally committed a crime to escape his child support obligation, he would be entitled to a child support modification.

This opinion is not an isolated decision, but instead is consistent with a series of Supreme Court decisions in which obligors who lost their jobs after committing any number of wrongful acts (such as having inappropriate relationships with a co-worker) were still entitled to receive a child support modification. It seems counterintuitive for an obligor to be rewarded with a child support reduction after committing criminal or other inappropriate acts that resulted in a job loss. Therefore, in responding to a request for modify child support based upon an alleged job loss, the obligee should consult with an attorney who can investigate not only the reasons for the obligor’s job loss, but also investigate the obligor’s subsequent attempts to find employment. While the job loss may result in a temporary reduction in child support, if the obligor then fails to aggressively and sincerely seek work while he or she has the ability to do so, the court may still make a finding of voluntary underemployment after some period of time.

Andrew J. Piela is a Director at Hamblett & Kerrigan, P.A. Mr. Piela concentrates his practice in civil litigation, family law, probate and land use litigation. You can reach Attorney Piela by e-mail at apiela@nashualaw.com.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

EX-GIRLFRIEND FOUND NOT CIVILLY LIABLE FOR HER ESTRANGED BOYFRIEND’S ATTACK ON HER HOUSE GUEST

In the June 18, 2014 opinion of England v. Brianas, the New Hampshire Supreme Court held that an attack by a woman’s estranged boyfriend upon her new companion does not necessarily expose her to civil liability.

In the England case, Ms. Brianas had a former boyfriend who was demonstrating signs of jealously and instability. For example, he would leave abrasive and angry messages on her telephone, argued, and used profanities while she was in a public place, and may have even been stalking her. However, the estranged boyfriend at no time threatened Ms. Brianas or any third party with physical harm.

Ms. Brianas met the plaintiff and invited him to her home. Unbeknownst to Ms. Brianas or the plaintiff, the estranged boyfriend had broken into the house and was waiting for her in the basement. When Ms. Brianas and the plaintiff arrived home, the estranged boyfriend attacked the plaintiff and stabbed him.

The plaintiff sued Ms. Brianas alleging that her knowledge of the estranged boyfriend’s instability imposed an obligation on her to warn him of the situation. The Supreme Court disagreed and held that because Ms. Brianas did not have any idea that the boyfriend had broken into her house or that he would become physically violent, there was no liability. The Supreme Court, however, left open the question of whether liability could be imposed if Ms. Brianas knew the boyfriend was at the home when she invited the plaintiff in or knew that the boyfriend had threatened her or others with physical violence.

Andrew J. Piela is a Director at Hamblett & Kerrigan, P.A. Mr. Piela concentrates his practice in civil litigation, family law, probate and land use litigation. You can reach Attorney Piela by e-mail at apiela@nashualaw.com.