Breakstone, White & Gluck is open. Here is our latest update on how we are serving clients during the COVID-19 crisis: www.bwglaw.com/covid-19.
We all want to get through the COVID-19 crisis. The best way to make a positive impact is to stay home as much as possible. As you wait it out, remember you are living with temporary restrictions. But there are still some important steps you can take to help yourself, your family, community and local businesses now and in the weeks to come.
Wash Your Hands. This is a critical step, especially now. Read the CDC’s page, “When and How to Wash Your Hands.”
Protect Your Home and Family Members. The CDC has published an easy-to-print COVID-19 household checklist. Put this on your refrigerator or somewhere visible so everyone in your family can see it. Check out these other CDC advisories too: cleaning and protecting your home and managing stress and anxiety. Share these with family members so you can help each other keep up a routine, along with regular exercise and proper rest.
Social Distancing. Stay home as much as you can. If you have to go out, stay at least six feet away from others. Don’t shake hands, hug or make physical contact.
Look for COVID-19 Messages on Business Websites. Look for COVID-19 messages on websites – before you visit the grocery store, pharmacy or any business. Many businesses are closed due to Gov. Charlie Baker’s “Stay-at-Home” – Essential Services Only order. Grocery stores and pharmacies remain open as essential services. Do your part as a customer and follow their guidelines to protect their hardworking employees and the public.
Connect. Stay connected to friends and family, especially older adults who live alone. Not just by social media or text messaging. Make regular contact by phone or even better, through a video chat tool. This way you can really see and hear how your loved ones are doing – and if they need your help in some way.
Follow State and Local Orders and Updates. As a Massachusetts resident, the best way to to stay informed is to watch the daily briefings from Gov. Charlie Baker. You can follow the Massachusetts state briefings on TV or online (www.mass.gov/covid19). You can also sign up for text messages (COVIDMA to 888-777). Another resource is the Massachusetts 211 website or you can call 2-1-1.
Also follow your town, city or child’s school on Facebook and local websites. Sign up for email newsletters. If you have an older parent – or a grown child living away from home – sign up for alerts about their community as well. Mention these notices to them and ask if they need help following the orders.
Housing. You should not have to move during this time. Landlords should not pursue evictions. The Housing Court has rescheduled all non-emergency matters until April 21, 2020 or later. The court vacated all default judgments entered between March 1 and April 21.
Everyone is struggling right now. Keep your cool, but also keep good records. Ask your landlord to put any instruction or request in writing even if that’s not your normal practice. Digitally file all e-mails or letters by date so you can easily access them (save them as PDF files). Still take photos and report serious safety violations so you are safe staying in your apartment.
Encourage family members who rent to keep neat files too – and ask them to share communications with their landlords with you as they come in. This way, you will know if they are safe, if you need to help and you won’t have to play catch up learning what happened.
This is also a stressful time for homeowners. Again, take a deep breath and remember you have legal rights. In Massachusetts, to start foreclosure, a mortgage lender must issue a homeowner a default notice and a 90-day “right-to-cure” period, during which you must make all your missed payments. Homeowners can also use this time to apply for a loan modification.
Legal Assistance. Breakstone, White & Gluck may be able to assist you with an injury claim. But there are many issues arising during the COVID-19 outbreak – about unemployment, housing, health insurance and other public benefits. During the COVID-19 outbreak, the best way to solve your problem is to look online first. If you have a question, visit the Massachusetts Legal Answers website, operated by the American Bar Association, or the Massachusetts Bar Association website. Find online resources and look for “Dial-A-Lawyer” dates, where you can call in and speak to a lawyer who practices here in Massachusetts. These resources can help you gain a few insights about Massachusetts law. With that knowledge, some good record keeping and a commitment to be patient, you may be able to handle your problem without a lawyer.
Another resource is Attorney General Maura Healey’s office, which accepts consumer complaints and can help explain your legal rights. Having trouble with a certain company? Call and ask how many others have lodged the same complaint and what steps you can take.
Donate Blood. The American Red Cross is looking for healthy individuals to donate blood or platelets.
You can help by making an appointment to donate. Visit the American Red Cross website and search for blood drives in your area. Be prepared to be flexible and schedule an appointment a few days or weeks out due to the emergency situation. The American Red Cross has outlined safety protocols for collecting blood during the COVID-19 crisis. It also offers American Red Cross mobile apps to help you track blood donation appointments and follow other relief work.
Make a Financial Donation. We understand there is great financial uncertainty right now. But if you can, consider these funds and organizations which are helping Massachusetts residents. If you can’t donate, visit their websites and keep their work in mind.
You can read about more organizations in this Boston Globe article.
About Breakstone, White & Gluck
Our Boston personal injury lawyers have over 100 years combined experience representing those injured by the negligence of others. Recognized by Top 100 New England Super Lawyers, Breakstone, White & Gluck specializes in all areas of personal injury law, including medical malpractice, car accidents, pedestrian accidents, bicycle accidents, traumatic brain injuries, product liability, premises liability, construction accidents, chemical exposure and gas explosions.
Our attorneys are committed to serving our existing clients and new clients remotely during the COVID-19 state of emergency in Massachusetts. For a free legal consultation, please call 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676. You can also use our contact form.
Our attorneys participated in the Equal Justice Coalition’s Walk to the Hill this morning at the Massachusetts State House. Marc L. Breakstone, David W. White, Ronald E. Gluck and Reza Breakstone joined hundreds of other attorneys in urging state lawmakers to raise state funding for civil legal aid.
Last week, Gov. Charlie Baker released his FY2021 budget and proposed a level budget of $24 million for civil legal aid. The Equal Justice Coalition, the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation and supporters are seeking a $5 million increase and that’s why our attorneys participated today. Civil legal aid provides legal assistance to low-income Massachusetts residents who need help with housing, employment, medical care, immigration matters and domestic abuse. It is the last resort for many families, children and the elderly. Advocates say it’s life-changing for people, creating stability and opportunity to stay in their homes and keep working.
The Equal Justice Coalition says civil legal aid organizations are being forced to turn away many Massachusetts residents in need due to funding.
For the fifth year, Somerville 5th graders have met our challenge. Our lawyers are pleased to send 370 students into summer with a free bicycle helmet from Project KidSafe, our campaign to encourage safe cycling and prevent head injuries.
The students earned the helmets by completing the CYCLE Kids curriculum, which teaches bicycle safety fundamentals. CYCLE Kids is offered as part of physical education classes at Somerville public schools. Through CYCLE Kids, some students in Somerville learn how to ride a bicycle for the first time. Others gain valuable experience or take other cycling firsts – such as riding with friends for the first time or their first ride on the Somerville Community Path.
One of our favorite events is Boston’s National Bike to Work Festival, when cyclists ride into City Hall Plaza in convoys, bright and early, ready to start a fun morning. Breakstone, White & Gluck is pleased to participate again this Friday morning. Our attorneys will be out at our Project KidSafe tent, greeting cyclists and workers who come out to celebrate and learn about cycling in Boston.
Please come say hello. Our attorneys can inspect your bike helmet and we are offering our Project KidSafe helmets free to cyclists who need one (available on a first-come basis, while supplies last). In addition, cyclists can sign up for free breakfast and other freebies, plus learn more about the new Blue Bikes.
Boston’s Bike to Work Festival Details: Register by Wednesday, May 16th
If you are interested, please read the City of Boston’s e-mail announcement. Cyclists can sign up to ride into the festival on one of the many convoys coming in from all over the area or just ride in on your own. You must register by Wednesday to receive an event t-shirt and take advantage of the free offerings.
WHAT: Boston’s Bike to Work Day Festival
DATE: Friday, May 18
TIME: 7 a.m.- 9 a.m.
WHERE: Boston City Hall Plaza
LEARN MORE: www.boston.gov/bike-to-work-day
Bike Activities in May
Before we continue, we want to mention all the activities being offered to cyclists this week and month. May is National Bike Month, sponsored by the American League of Bicyclists. As part of National Bike Month, National Bike to Work Day will be celebrated in Boston and communities across the U.S. Here in Massachusetts, MassBike is also presenting Bay State Bike Week from May 12th to May 20th. Check out the Bay State Bike Week calendar and the MassCommute Bicycling Challenge 2018.
Expect to see lots of blue as the City of Boston celebrates the rebranding of the public bike share system at Friday’s event. The metro-Boston’s public bike share system is owned by the municipalities of Boston, Brookline, Cambridge and Somerville and operated by Motivate. The green Hubway bikes will be phased out, as Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts becomes the new title sponsor.
New Balance was the original title sponsor for the system, which launched back in 2011 with 600 bikes. The system has since tripled in size. Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans further expansion, and the system could reach 3,000 bikes by year’s end.
According to the City of Boston, Blue Cross and Blue Shield will offer free rentals on Friday. Read this announcement to learn more. You can also visit www.bluebikes.com and download the app if you are interested.
About Breakstone, White & Gluck and Project KidSafe: Over 20,000 Bicycle Helmets for Children
Breakstone, White & Gluck is a Boston personal injury and medical malpractice law firm representing plaintiffs. With more than 100 years combined experience, our lawyers fight for justice for those who have been injured by the negligence or wrongdoing of others.
Our law firm is committed to bike safety and preventing head injuries through our Project KidSafe campaign. Wearing a helmet is required by law for cyclists who are 16 and younger in Massachusetts, though it is critical for cyclists of all ages. Please commit to wear a helmet every time you ride.
Over the past six years, Breakstone, White & Gluck has donated over 20,000 bicycle helmets to children, families and other cyclists through our Project KidSafe campaign. We partner with local bike committees, police departments, schools and non-profit organizations to make these donations, including these organizations in Boston:
- City of Boston, Boston Bikes Roll It Forward
- City of Boston, Youth Cycling Program
- Boston Police Department
- Massachusetts Safe Routes to School Partnership
- CommonWheels Bicycle Collective
- Boston Cyclists Union
- Bikes Not Bombs
- Bicyclecentro of East Boston
- Mattapan on Wheels
- Tierney Learning Center of South Boston
- The Home for Little Wanderers
(June 29, 2017) Attorney David W. White was interviewed by NBC Boston on the potential legal options ahead for buyers of condos destroyed by a massive blaze in Dorchester. The fire went up on Wednesday, just a day before a fire inspection was reportedly scheduled.
The six-story Treadmark building had 83 units, including 32 for home ownership and 51 for affordable rentals. It was located in the Ashmont section of Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood.
The Massachusetts Bar Association (MBA) has announced it will honor Attorney David W. White with the MBA President’s Award at its May 4th Annual Dinner. The President’s Award is bestowed upon those individuals who have made a significant contribution to the work of the MBA, to the preservation of MBA values, to the success of MBA initiatives and to the promotion of the MBA’s leadership role within the legal community of Massachusetts.
Attorney White is a past president of the MBA from 2007-2008. While serving as MBA president from 2007-08, White formed the Drug Policy Task Force, which made numerous recommendations for criminal sentencing reform and drug treatment in Massachusetts. He also led the Lawyers’ Eco-Challenge, encouraging law firms to fight global warming by changing their office energy use and recycling practices. He has been involved in several MBA section councils, educational programs and annual conferences.
Attorney White was also recognized for his community service beyond the MBA. Since serving as MBA president, he has been active in building Breakstone, White & Gluck’s Project KidSafe campaign, which donates bicycle helmets to children to prevent head injuries. Founded in 2013, the safety campaign has now distributed more than 15,000 bicycle helmets in Massachusetts.
Driving on U.S. roads became more dangerous in 2016. Preliminary data from the National Safety Council shows more than 40,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes last year, a 6 percent increase from 2015.
- This was the first year more than 40,000 people have died in traffic accidents since 2007.
- According to The New York Times, 2015 and 2016 saw a 14 percent increase in traffic deaths, the largest two-year increase in more than half a century.
We had a great day in Westborough last weekend: Two fun community events, great weather and we handed out 160 free bicycle helmets to children. For this, we partnered up with the Westborough Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee and the Boroughs Family Branch of the YMCA of Central Massachusetts.
Breakstone, White & Gluck donated the bicycle helmets as part of our Project KidSafe outreach. Attorney David W. White helped distribute the free helmets at Westborough’s Spring Festival, an event featuring just about everything which is hosted by the Rotary Club of Westborough. In addition to bicycle helmets, there was an amateur dog show, children’s carnival, road race, food vendors and the list goes on.
Attorney White and Bruce Tretter, chairman of the Westborough Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, then went to hand out helmets at the Boroughs Family Branch of the YMCA of Central, which is nearby in Westborough.
“We had a lot of fun, though at times it was a little hectic because so many people were anxious to get helmets for their kids,” attorney David White said. He added, “Wearing a bicycle helmet is the most important step you can take to protect yourself as a cyclist and I hope the children and families left with new helmets and a new commitment to wear them every time they ride.”
Breakstone, White & Gluck donated these bike helmets through our Project KidSafe initiative. We have donated over 3,500 helmets to children in Massachusetts since 2013. By year’s end, we expect to have donated 6,000 helmets. Read more about our Project KidSafe outreach or our bicycle safety tips.
Photo: Attorney David W. White of Breakstone, White & Gluck helping a child at the Boroughs Family Branch of the YMCA of Central Massachusetts in Westborough.
Photo: From left in back: Bruce Tretter, Chairman of the Westborough Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee; Betsy Moquin, Director of Marketing & Advancement of the Boroughs Family Branch of the YMCA of Central Massachusetts; and Attorney David W. White of Breakstone, White & Gluck.
Photo: Bruce Tretter, Chairman of the Westborough Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, helps a child find a helmet.
Last week we learned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued Honda Motor Co. two safety fines totaling $70 million. The fines were announced last week but had been issued before the New Year. These are the largest penalties the NHTSA could impose. With them, automakers finish the year paying $126 million in civil penalties, the most ever for one year. The amount also exceeds the total amount collected in all 43 years of the NHTSA’s operation.
- Honda was fined $35 million for failure to report submit early warning reports (EWR reports) identifying potential or actually safety issues. The company failed to report 1,729 death and injury claims between 2003 and 2014.
- Honda was fined a second $35 million for failure to report certain warranty claims and claims related to its customer satisfaction campaigns, in which a manufacturer quietly agrees to fix defects on cars even beyond the normal warranty period.
Honda was ordered to submit injury reports as part of the NHTSA’s investigation on defective Takata airbags last year. Some of the drivers who died as a result of the Takata airbag defects were driving Honda vehicles. The airbag defects are linked to at least five deaths and dozens of injuries in the U.S. Automakers have recalled nearly 14 million cars with these airbags worldwide. Takata, a Japanese company, has limited its recalls to Florida, Hawaii and other warm weather states, despite pressure from the NHTSA to expand the recall nationwide.
Other Companies Which Were Fined
Among the companies the NHTSA fined last year: Gwinnett Place Nissan, Ferrari S.p.A. and Ferrari North America, Chapman Chevrolet LLC, Hyundai Motor America, General Motors Company and Prevost and Southern Honda Powersports.
Then of course there was General Motors, which was fined $35 million for how it handled a recall of more than 2 million vehicles with ignition switch problems. It also paid a separate $441,000 fine for failure to fully respond to a special order by a specified due date.
Toyota is not on the list of companies which paid civil penalties in 2014. But it paid the U.S. government a $1.2 billion criminal fine for it actions during a safety investigation.
Proposed Safety Changes for 2015
In the New Year, the U.S. Department of Transportation and NHTSA are proposing to increase the maximum fine for auto safety violations from $35 million to $300 million. The agencies also want the NHTSA to have additional authority to compel companies to recall unsafe products.
U.S. Department of Transportation Fines Honda $70 Million for Failing to Comply with Laws That Safeguard the Public, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.