Firm News – Winter 2011

Super Lawyers
Congratulations to Rudolph Friedmann LLP attorneys named to the 2010 Boston Magazine list of Super Lawyers: James S. Singer, James L. Rudolph, Robert H. Shaer and Jonathon D. Friedmann.

Condo Documents Amended
Jay Worthen of Rudolph Friedmann recently amended condominium documents for a commercial condominium in Boston to allow the separation of the parking spaces from the condominium units. In this particular case, the condominium units were created with parking rights that the law refers to as “easements appurtenant” to the related condominium units. That is, each Unit has an appurtenant easement to use a parking space. Generally, such “appurtenant easements”, be they for parking spaces or some other use, cannot be separated or “severed” from the Unit to which they relate. Thus, for example, the owner of Unit X cannot sell Unit X while retaining the parking rights because the appurtenant easement must remain with Unit X. The owner of Unit X could not lease the parking space to a third party on a long-term basis without also leasing Unit X to the lessee because, a long term lease can be deemed to be an attempt to sever the appurtenant easement from its associated unit.

The creative solution that Jay came up with involved three major changes: (1) Modify the Condominium documents to terminate the appurtenant parking easements and create a new Unit comprised of only the parking lot; (2) Create a new limited liability company to own the parking lot; and (3) Convey the newly created Parking Lot Unit to the new LLC. Each member of the LLC is then given the right to use a parking space. Thus, instead of having the parking rights that are appurtenant to the condominium units, the parking spaces are membership rights that go with membership in the new LLC, and because membership interests are fully transferrable, a member of the LLC has the ability to sell his or her parking space simply by selling his or her membership interest in the LLC. This creative approach essentially separated the parking rights and the unit ownership into two separate and distinct properties that can be separately transferred.

$1.7 Million Settlement
Jim Singer of our litigation department recently settled a claim for one of our client’s for over $1.7 million which represented the full amount due for labor and materials supplied to a construction project. RF filed a mechanic’s lien regarding the project, and after 1 1/2 years of litigation, a settlement was finally reached.

We remind our clients as to the value of filing mechanic’s liens early in the construction process given that there are limitations as to what amounts the lien will cover. Generally, liens are limited by the amount due or to become due from owner to general contractor, and in the case of the lower tier subcontractors or suppliers, also the amount due or to be due the general contractor to its first tier subcontractor. Contact Jim Rudolph or Jim Singer if you have any questions about the mechanic’s lien process as it can be a very important tool regarding collections involving construction projects.

RF Files $10 Million Lawsuit
RF has filed a $10 million civil lawsuit in Suffolk Superior Court against the town of Hingham and a handful of its municipal officials, claiming our client was the victim of years of obstruction and fraud in its efforts to gain approval for numerous development projects in the community.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of a longtime Hingham developer alleges over the last few years that the town conducted an ongoing campaign against his company, in which it repeatedly obstructed his development initiatives in a fraudulent and discriminating manner. The lawsuit names as defendants the Town of Hingham, a former Town Administrator, current members of the Board of Selectmen and Planning Board, a former Building Commissioner, and former Town Harbormaster. The lawsuit details scores of what it calls illegal, arbitrary or discriminatory rulings and decisions taken by town officials against Hastings’ numerous development projects in Hingham over the last few years.

Celtics Breakfast
Last year Celtics President, Rich Gotham, spoke to a number of RF clients that we have identified as avid Celtics fans. We intend to have another breakfast this year and have a sports editor from a Boston newspaper speak about the Celtics. Please let us know, by emailing if you would like to be invited this year.


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