Lawyers e-Journal

Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012
Image for HOD
Top (left to right): Massachusetts Medical Society President Lynda Young, MD; MBA Vice President Jeffrey N. Catalano; MMS Past President Alan C. Woodward; and MMS Vice President and General Counsel Charles Alagero.

Bottom: MBA President Dick Campbell addresses the delegates.

Photos by Tricia Oliver.

HOD discusses mandatory CLE and foreclosure mediation

A lively discussion on the practitioners' views of  mandatory minimum CLE and debate over legislation to draft mandatory mediation prior to foreclosures were among the topics deliberated at the Massachusetts Bar Association's Jan. 19 House of Delegates meeting at UMass Medical School in Worcester.

The first topic of the meeting, fittingly, was improving health care quality as it relates to medical errors. "As a patient advocate I am always open to listening to means to address this crisis," said MBA Vice President Jeffrey N. Catalano, who specializes in medical malpractice. Dr. Alan Woodward, an emergency physician, consultant and former president of the Massachusetts Medical Society, presented a detailed power-point on the subject of transforming medical liability and improving patient safety in Massachusetts.

HOD voted to support in principle a report of the Foreclosure Task Force presented by Robert Cannon, which outlined draft legislation to create a mandatory mediation procedure prior to foreclose on residential properties in Massachusetts. The task force originally presented the matter to HOD in November, but it was tabled. The legislation calls for face-to-face mediation within 90 days, said Cannon, who described the process as creating predictability. Real Estate Bar Association of Massachusetts President Christopher S. Pitt reported that REBA does not support the bill as drafted, but does not oppose mediation in principle. MBA Civil Litigation Section Chair Raymond P. Ausrotas said the section also does not support the legislation as drafted. 

A  vote of approval by HOD was given to a resolution from the American Bar Association that grants United States magistrate judges the power to conduct any and all proceedings in a jury or non-jury civil matter in federal court.

HOD voted unanimously to express opposition to provisions contained in the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2012 that concern detention, interrogation and prosecuted of suspected terrorists. MBA member Michael Mone Jr., son of MBA past president Michael Mone, presented the matter to HOD.

The MBA's Mandatory Minimum CLE Task Force, co-chaired by MBA Vice President Marsha V. Kazarosian and Christopher A. Kenney, a region 10, Worcester County delegate, provided an overview of its report. The seven-member task force, created in September, met with and sought input from MBA members, affiliated bars, MCLE, the Board of Bar Overseers and Minnesota Continuing Legal Education.  "The message was Massachusetts lawyers are a very self-motivated group," Kazarosian said. "Many are not against CLE, just the mandatory aspect of it."

MBA Treasurer Douglas K. Sheff gave an positive report, noting the MBA is operating with a profit in the first quarter of its fiscal year, new members have increased 10 percent over the same time period last year and CLE has grossed more than anticipated in part due to the success of the MUPC series.

Catalano alerted HOD that he is now forming a committee to decide how to distribute funds collected for the Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. Scholarship, which was created with money raised above the amount needed for last year's Centennial Celebration.

For more information, look in the February Lawyers Journal.

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