Statutes of limitations are a lawbreaker’s best friend. Last month, an amendment to the Massachusetts Zoning Act took effect, making its statute of limitations even friendlier for owners of buildings that violate zoning laws.
Law students studying real property law encounter the doctrine of adverse possession. According to this doctrine, known colloquially as “squatter’s rights,” if a person holds open, continuous, exclusive, adverse and notorious possession of land for several years, that person becomes the legal owner of the land, without a written deed from the record owner.
Massachusetts voters legalized medical marijuana in a 2012 referendum. Next month voters will consider another referendum which would legalize recreational marijuana use, as Colorado and Washington have already done. Federal and state marijuana laws are newsworthy as election day draws near.
After years of litigation, last April a group of Martha’s Vineyard property owners learned in Kitras v. Town of Aquinnah that Massachusetts courts will not help them secure access to their landlocked properties
Last month’s Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision in Picard v. Westminster Zoning Board of Appeals exemplifies how difficult it has become for dissatisfied neighbors to appeal zoning decisions by local boards, even for neighbors that directly abut a proposed development.
The Massachusetts Endangered Species Act (MESA) was enacted in 1990 to protect at-risk wildlife. Like many statutes, MESA authorizes an administrative agency (the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife) to issue regulations furthering the statute’s goals. Questions often arise about whether administrative agencies overstep their delegated authority. Pepin v. Division of Fisheries & Wildlife, decided by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court last year, shows how courts handle challenges to agencies’ authority.