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Barbara L. Horan

Barbara Horan’s Answers

135 total

  • How can I find an attorney who would represent a Plaintiff in a civil RICO/civil conspiracy case?

    Barbara’s Answer

    The LRS are free services so you can go back for another referral if you don't get an attorney that wil take your case or that you are not comfortable with. Be as specific as you can when you call the LRS -- tell them you want a civil RICO attorney.

  • If I have a Plaintiff civll RICO suit and an Office of the AG investigated and sent it on to a US Attorney, is it a good suit?

    Barbara’s Answer

    Check with the Massachusetts Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service,, and/or Boston Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service, -- tell them your interest in conferring with a civil RICO attorney. These are free referral services. Run your case by an experienced civil RICO attorney and get a good sense of the strength of your claim and ask whether the attorney would be willing to take the case on a contingency basis.

  • Does a civil RICO suit need to be filed in federal court?

    Barbara’s Answer

    I agree with Attorney Holland, there probably would be a lot of attorney interest in the case as civil RICO suits can command multiple damages and attorneys fees. However, they are difficult to win and often are dismissed before they really get started because the essential elements of a civil RICO violation have not been properly (ie specifically) pled. See, e.g.,

    Check with the Massachusetts Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service,, and/or Boston Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service, -- tell them your interest in conferring with a civil RICO attorney. These are free referral services. Run your case by an experienced civil RICO attorney and get a good sense of the strength of your claim and ask whether the attorney would be willing to take the case on a contingency basis. So much else is involved -- statute of limitations, jurisdiction, amount in controversy -- Attorney Holland is correct that you will need to give anyone considering representation more information to enable them to make a reasonable decision. Good luck!

  • I received a motion to dismiss. Talked with the atty she agreed to allow more time but won't put it in writing?

    Barbara’s Answer

    YOU should put it in writing, you have an agreement, now you should memorialize it so that she cannot complain when you take the extra time she agreed you can have. I like to send an email that states, "This email memorializes our agreement, reached by telephone on [DATE] that I may have until [DATE] to mail my opposition to [NAME]'s motion to dismiss."

  • Can i change locks at my apartment after attempted burglary ?

    Barbara’s Answer

    It depends on what you lease says, if you have one, but generally landlords do not permit tenants to change locks (landlord may need to enter for emergency repairs, etc). BUT you can and SHOULD contact your landlord right away, explain the attempted burglary, and request that the LANDLORD change the locks. Security of residential dwelling units is part of the warranty of habitability.

  • I took my car I took off the road and a family member got into a accident

    Barbara’s Answer

    Well, it sounds like THEY are trying to collect from the wrong person. You owned the vehicle and it probably it still had tags on it so that's how they traced it to you. But if you cancelled the insurance and can prove it, then it is an UNINSURED vehicle and the remedy for the other person who was in the accident is to go to THEIR OWN insurer and make a claim under THEIR OWN AUTO INSURANCE POLICY for unisurance coverage. It sounds like the insurance company is trying to take the easy way out and shake you down for the $7k. Write a letter to insurance adjuster who wrote you the letter (telephone call is not going to do it), make sure to include the CLAIM NUMBER, and tell them that the vehicle was taken off the road and was uninsured and that it was used without your knowledge or permission. They should do the right thing and pay from THEIR policy for the damages.
    Don't let them shine you on. Then remove the license plates and hide the keys!

  • Can I as my company ( MA corporation) officer, sue another Ma corporation in MA Small Claims Court for less than $5000.00 ?

    Barbara’s Answer

    Yes, you certainly can sue in Massachusetts Small Claims Court. As a MA corporation you are a legal entity (person) with an actionable claim (breach of contract) and damages (non-payment).

    The small claims courts handle cases with damages less than $7,000. They are designed for fast resolution of disputes such as yours. Find the small claims court in your town or in the city/town that handles legal issues where your company is located (the small claims court will be part of the District Court that handles cases in your town). You must obtain an ORIGINAL small claims complaint from the civil clerk's office, fill it out, pay the fee (prorated based on how much damages you assert). Sign and date the complaint and turn it into the clerk's office. The clerk's office does the rest! They serve the complaint on the business, they schedule the hearing. The magistrate conducts the hearing and issues an order (judgment). Then you can use the supplementary process procedure to collect, but it sounds like just a judgment will provide the motivation needed to pay the balance of the debt owed. The magistrates are very busy, handle almost all pro se parties, so do the magistrate a favor and bring the P&S, the payment history and a statement or spreadsheet showing the balance due.

  • I am wondering what type of Lawyer I need and possible recommendations on local lawyers?

    Barbara’s Answer

    I agree with Attys Kraft and Coyne, whose answers are excellent. I am writing just to emphasize that the resolution of this dispute will turn on what the "offer" and "acceptance" actually said. For example, some contracts say that in the event of non-payment, costs and legal fees to collect the debt will be added to the debt itself. Also, the agreement may or may not have provided for reduction in your charge for non-conforming goods (you produced items with "some issues"), and may have said what your construction had to conform to. Contract law governs such disputes. Also, under contract law you have to be given the opportunity to "cure" the defects.

    Have you considered a claim under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 93A for unfair business practices? As a business-to-business dispute, a demand letter is not required, but it is often a good way to get the issues out there for discussion.

    One other issue I see is that Massachusetts courts cannot reach New York residents unless suit is brought in federal court, but you must have $75,000 in controversy to get your case into federal court. And although Ch 93A awards multiple (double or treble) damages + attorneys fees, the federal court considers only single damages in calculating amount in controversy. So in addition to finding a contract attorney, I would say you need to find a contract attorney licensed to practice in New York.

    The Massachusetts Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service is free and with a phone call from you will put you in touch with a NY licensed atty (usually licensed in MA too) you can discuss this with (Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.) at (617) 654-0400 or (866) 627-7577. Boston Bar Association also has a referral service (617) 742-0625 9 am - 5 pm, Mon - Fri. You should tell them you need to collect an unpaid debt from a New York business who hired your Massachusetts business to do work for it.

  • In Massachusetts what are the acceptable means of serving opposing counsel.?

    Barbara’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    I agree with Attorney Szaksk. But your question is a bit vague, so I will elaborate on his answer a bit.

    Atty Szalsk is describing service under Mass R Civ P 4. This is the Rule that governs service of summons and complaint and that is so important it is generally done by a sheriff or constable or special process server who then files his or her own attestation with the court that service was properly made (and Rule 4 says what that means).

    When serving a document on opposing counsel, Mass R Civ P 5 governs. Rule 5 allows service by hand or by mail. Every document served must contain a "Certificate of Service" at the end that states "I [NAME] hereby certify that on [DATE] I served [NAME OF DOCUMENT] upon [NAME OF OPPOSING COUNSEL] by [HAND]/by [FIRST CLASS MAIL]. That statement is regarded as being made under oath, and so the certificate of service you include at the end of your document IS proof of service on that person on that date by that means.

    Plus, you will always keep an exact copy of whatever you send out.

    In the situation you describe, it is hard to say what happened, eg. whether you made the mistake or they did. Really the only thing you can do is send it out again with the appropriate certificate of service. One thing I like to do with important documents that I need to prove I served (mailed) is to use USPS Priority 2-day Mail. This is a relatively inexpensive service ($6.50? for a 9 x 12 mailer with whatever you can fit in there) AND it comes with at TRACKING NUMBER and the post office tells you when it has been delivered. I like the electronic version available at because then the USPS sends me an electronic mail confirmation that I can print out to show the judge when the document was delivered. You can get the USPS mailers for free at your local post office. The USPS offers 1 day (Express) delivery as well, it's a bit more expensive ($13.95?) but if you need it, you need it. If you don't want to create an account with a credit card, you can just go to you local post office, complete the address form (also free) and pay at the counter.

  • Is there a way to seek leave from the court add a claim to an existing civil complaint w/o amending the complaint?

    Barbara’s Answer

    You can ask the judge for relief from a ruling or, for reconsideration of the ruling. This is done by motion (eg, "Motion for Leave to File Third Amended Complaint" or "Motion for Reconsideration of Order Denying Leave to Amend Complaint" or "Motion For Amendment to Agreement to Withdraw Amended Complaint." The other side may (likely will) oppose, and the judge may not grant the motion, but you have the right to ask.

    The Rule that governs amending complaints is Mass R Civ P 15. It is a very generous rule and recommends that leave to amend a complaint be freely given where justice requires. You can sometimes amend a complaint after the Rule 15 deadline in the tracking order (case schedule) if the amendment is important enough.

    There are many cases that discuss the reasons why amending the complaint after the deadline should not be allowed (things like bad faith, lack of diligence in prosecuting the case, previous amendments that did not succeed, undue delay, etc.) Go on the internet to, which is a public site where you can search SJC and Mass Appeals Court cases. Type "Rule 15 amend complaint" in the search by subject box and you will find cases discussing situations like yours. You can make the
    argument that your motion to amend should not be denied because it doesn't do any of the things that keep such motions from being allowed.