Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Non-Traditional Injury Cases: the Non-Auto Accident Personal Injuries

                Most injury cases that are handled by personal injury lawyers are auto accident cases. Auto accidents are by far the most common, as driving a car comes with significant inherent risks. However, there are many other types of cases like slip and falls, trip and falls, dog bites, and other incidents that lead to injuries.

                While we have addressed slip and falls and our strategy in approaching them, the trip and fall case is often confused with a slip and fall. A trip and fall generally comes as a result of some unknown invisible object that causes a person to trip and fall, or dangerously constructed stair way or walkway. In order to property handle such cases, it is very important to first focus on building codes. This involves a very specific way of discovering the date the building where the incident was built, the date any modifications were approved, and the building codes in effect at the time of the fall. Other factors to look at include site views, pictures of the scene of the fall, and checking out whether past injuries have occurred there.

                Another type of premises liability case we handle is mold exposure injuries. It is rare that mold exposure gets so bad as to cause physical injury, but it does happen and the injuries can be severe. The most important things to focus on in mold exposure cases is the source of the exposure, and documenting that any injuries or illness from the mold are accounted for in the victim’s medical records. These are notoriously difficult cases, so professional representation is always recommended.

                At Parnell & McKay, we handle all forms of personal injury cases. Often, we are required to use our extensive combined experience to pursue these claims in an efficient and knowledgeable manner. It is important that if you find yourself experienced counsel to handle your injury cases, so contact us today and put our advanced knowledge to use. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


            The most common problem we run into for our clients who are landlords is where a landlord is confused, or not aware of, the strict eviction process required in the State of New Hampshire. They end up attempting to evict a tenant in the wrong way, which causes them to open themselves up to liability to the tenant, their own attorney’s fees, the tenant’s attorney’s fees, and costs that they did not anticipate. The question is always asked, in the future, how do I avoid this problem?
            First, it is important to understand the nature of a tenancy. There are three general forms of tenancies that we should start with. The first is when a tenant has a written lease with a landlord for a term of time. Often, this is for a year. The second is a “month to month” tenant who generally does not have a written lease, but pays their rent at the same time each month and contacts the landlord if problems need to be addressed. The third is called a “holdover tenant”. This is the tenant who stays beyond the time agreed to with the landlord, and effectively overstays their welcome. This holdover tenant is often the one that needs to be evicted.
            Second, the most important step is to terminate the tenancy. This is often forgotten by landlords, or confused with evicting tenants. In order to terminate the tenancy, you need to provide written notice that the tenancy has been terminated. This is generally done by email or letter, but either way it is important to keep a dated copy. Termination of a tenancy with a lease must be done thirty (30) days prior to the expiration of a lease. For example, a lease that runs from January 1st, 2012, through January 1st, 2013, requires a written notice of the intent to not renew the lease (and thereby terminate the tenancy) no later than November 30th, 2012. In a month to month arrangement, the termination is fairly similar, but a landlord must know the date rent is received. At least thirty (30) days’ notice is again required. So, for example, a month to month tenant that pays on the 15th of every month requires written notice of the termination of tenancy no later than the 14th of the month before the landlord wants the tenant to leave. In this example, if a landlord wants someone out by April 15th, they need to provide the written notice of termination no later than March 14th of the month prior. A holdover tenant usually has the tenancy already terminated, so often additional written notice is not required. Make sure to consult with an attorney prior to assuming how much time you have to give to provide proper notice to a tenant to terminate their tenancy.
            Once the tenancy is terminated, it gives the landlord the right to evict the tenant. For a renter, this involves posting an eviction notice on the door of the tenant’s home that provides seven (7) days for the tenant to leave. If the tenant does not leave after the seven days, the landlord then has the right to file a Landlord and Tenant Writ with the Court. The landlord and tenant writ requests an order from the Court granting the landlord physical possession of the property. Once granted, a copy of this is provided to the local sheriff’s office, and then on the first Tuesday of every month they enforce these writs and physically eject the tenant from the premises. Before you post an eviction notice, or file an action in court, it is best to consult with an attorney to assure all necessary steps have been complied with.

            Landlord Tenant law is wrought with minefields that, if a landlord isn’t careful, can create substantial liability to the tenant. It is strongly encouraged that if you need help with an eviction, or even just a better understanding of the process, that you meet with an experienced lawyer at Parnell & McKay that can help guide you through the process. If you find yourself in need of assistance, contact our office and put our experience to use.  

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


                In family law, litigation can have very negative effects on the familial relationships. In divorce, it causes parties to become entrenched in their positions, and they end up spending thousands upon thousands of dollars fighting in Court. Often, we have family law clients in divorce cases that don’t want to ratchet up the emotions by pursuing litigation, and ask about alternative options that do not involve going to Court.
                The best option available is Collaborative Divorce. It is a process that removes a lot of the stress, time and money spent on litigation. Instead, parties go through a series of meetings until the process is concluded with a final agreement. The first step is agreeing to do collaborative law in the first place. At Parnell & McKay, we often recommend collaborative divorce to clients as a non-litigious option. In order to do a divorce collaboratively, there are specific steps that must be taken.
                First, the parties must agree to a collaborative process. Each party must have a collaborative lawyer to represent them. Once each party has a collaborative lawyer, the parties and their attorney’s meet to go over the collaborative process and sign an agreement. The most important part of this agreement to understand is that if the collaborative process fails, then neither party’s attorney can represent them in any future litigation around that family case. For example, if a person hires Cathy McKay as a collaborative attorney, and then decides they would rather do litigation, Cathy McKay cannot represent that person in the litigation process. The person must get a new lawyer at a different law firm. This helps parties remain invested in the process and coming to an agreement.
                There are also additional benefits to the process besides just avoiding litigation. A mental health professional can be involved to help people through the significant emotional issues a divorce can bring. A financial specialist can also be involved to help parties understand the financial decisions that must be made in a divorce. Both professionals help facilitate the collaborative process by allowing both parties equal access to these individuals to get questions answered, and their needs addressed.
                The parties then hold as many meetings as necessary to come to an agreement. This can sometimes happen quickly, and other times in more complex cases it can take additional meetings. Yet, throughout the process, it is designed to be non-adversarial, and to avoid the stress and emotion involved with litigation.

                Collaborative law is a wonderful development, and Catherine McKay is at the forefront of its establishment and continued popularity in New Hampshire. If you find yourself looking at litigation and would prefer to avoid it by participating in the collaborative process, contact our office today to see how we can help you move forward as amicably as possible.  To read more about collaborative law, click here