Commercial tenants who are unable to pay their rent as a result of COVID-19 shutdown and capacity-limit orders have, thus far, found little relief from courts, who have by and large rejected their common law defenses seeking a discharge of lease obligations. One recent Massachusetts case, however, sides with a commercial tenant, albeit under narrow circumstances, approving of the often-unsuccessful “frustration of purpose” defense.
Continue Reading Massachusetts Court: COVID-19 Closure Order Partially Discharges Commercial Rent Obligation Under “Frustration of Purpose” Doctrine

On September 10, 2020, the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts issued a Memorandum and Order granting summary judgment in favor of a franchisor in response to claims by a purported class of franchisees that they were not truly independent contractors, but employees of the franchisor.
Continue Reading Massachusetts District Court Rejects Employee Classification for Franchisees

According to U.S. Census Bureau estimates, retail sales plummeted 16.4% in April 2020. As state and local governments across the country begin to lift or ease Stay at Home Orders and business closures, retailers reopening their doors are grappling with how to protect their employees’ health and reassure customers that it is safe to shop.
Continue Reading Cash or Credit? State and City Bans on Cashless Retailers Are on the Rise

As reported on the Hunton Employment & Labor Perspectives Blog on May 14, 2019, Massachusetts’ highest court, The Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”), recently issued its long awaited decision in Sullivan v. Sleepy’s LLC, SJC-12542, in which the SJC responded to certified questions of first impression from the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
Continue Reading Massachusetts Retail and Inside Salespersons Are Now Entitled to Overtime and Sunday Premium Pay

Retail stores and businesses are generally free to develop their own policies regarding acceptance or non-acceptance of certain forms of payment. For years, many small businesses have refused credit card payments entirely or credit card payments for transactions under a certain amount due to high transaction costs. Smaller retailers may also refuse certain brands of credit cards. However, a different trend has emerged in recent years as an increasing number of retailers are refusing to accept cash and instead accepting only credit/debit and smartphone payments.
Continue Reading Your Cash is Not Welcome Here