NH Law Blog has Moved
We've moved the Blog. These posts will still be around for a while...But. The new address for the Blog is:
Same Great Content. See you there.
Immediate License suspension saves lives.
From over in the Washington DC area from a personal injury blog there, I found this entry on a study that shows that when a driver's license is suspended right away, (that is as soon as he or she fails a breathalyser test) that this actually has an effect on other drivers.
So a regular guy fears immediate lose of a license, but does not fear lose of license only if convicted.
The fact that the lose is immediate is estimated to prevent drunk driving accidents and save at least 800 lives a year. Wow.
Here's the abstract results section from the study.
Administrative or preconviction drivers license suspension policies have statistically significant and substantively important effects in reducing alcohol-related fatal crash involvement by 5%, representing at least 800 lives saved per year in the United States. Moreover, these laws have similar effects on drivers at all drinking levels—from lower-risk drivers below the legal alcohol limit to drivers at extreme levels of intoxication. In clear contrast, postconviction license suspension policies have no discernable effects.
Auto Manufacturer Liable for Purchase Price for Lemon, not Dealer's Inflated Price
The New Hampshire Supreme Court recently ruled that Daimler Chrysler was not liable for the price on the retail installment contract for a lemon sold to a consumer, but only for the actual purchase price. (Click here to read decision.) The car had oil leaking into the cooling system, and was not working properly even after three repair attempts.
The amount on the retail installment contract was artificially high because the dealer added the difference between the amount paid for the trade-in and the amount still owed for the financing on the trade-in vehicle. This technique was apparently used to allow the financing for the new vehicle to cover the amount remaining due on the old vehicle, after the trade-in allowance was applied.
The Court held that that applicable law did not allow the consumer to recover the inflated price listed on the installment contract because, in essence, the consumer never actually paid that amount.
Landlord to Pay $1,000.00 Per Day in Damages
The New Hampshire Supreme Court has held that a landlord who interfered with a Tenant's access to the rented premises was subject to a $1,000.00 per day damage provision under RSA 540-A. In the case of Simpson v. Young, the Court determined that the landlord had interfered with the tenant's access to the premises for 34 days, and, therefore, may be entitled to $34,000.00 in damages.
The law cited by the Court states, in part, "Each day that a violation continues shall constitute a second violation." Because RSA 540-A violations incorporate the remedies in RSA 358-A, the Consumer Protection Act, the Court used the $1,000.00 damage amount established in RSA 358-A:10.
Both landlords and tenants should be familiar with these NH laws. Clearly, there are substantial possible consequences which should be carefully considered before landlords or tenants take certain actions related to the tenancy.
U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Workers' Rights
The United States Supreme Court recently held that, under certain circumstances, employees who complain about sexual harassment and other discrimination may be awarded damages if their employers punish them for doing so, according to the Washinton Post. (Click here to read article.)
This is an important decision for workers who might otherwise be fearful or hesitant to complain about harassment or discrimination due to the possibility of punishment by an employer for doing so. The Court made it clearer what actions by an employer amount to retaliation against an employee, and appeared to make it easier for workers to vindicate their rights in court.
NH Supreme Court Overturns Malpractice Case
The New Hampshire Supreme Court has reversed a $2.3 million jury decision in a "wrongful birth"malpractice case against Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, ruling that the hospital sufficiently informed a couple about the potential for their unborn son to have significant birth defects.
The full article follows in the extended body of this post.
Source: Someone emailed this to me, but I believe it came from the Valley News
Consumer Protection Act Protects Individuals and Small Businesses
In New Hampshire, individuals and small businesses are fortunate to have an important law protecting them from unfair and deceptive trade practices by unscrupulous people and businesses. The NH Consumer Protection Act prohibits unfair and deceptive actions and provides consumers with remedies which are more substantial than might otherwise be available.
For example, RSA 358-A:10 allows consumers the right to seek damages awards for each violation of the law, and to have their attorney's fees paid by the other party if they prevail. If the other party is determined by a court to have violated the law wilfully or knowingly, then the court must award "as much as 3 times, but not less than 2 times" the damages.
Foreclosure - Homeowners may be Targets
There are many reasons why a borrower might be unable to make loan payments on a mortgage. Anyone can lose a job, become disabled or just make a mistake on a budget plan. Sometimes, lenders are willing to work with borrowers to solve the problems and avoid foreclosure.
Sometimes, though, the lender does decide to foreclose. And there are people watching the newspapers and other sources to find out who is being foreclosed upon. These people (or companies) may try to contact borrowers and offer to help, and they may even offer to stop the foreclosure. But there are strings attached, so beware.
One Legislator Wants to Usurp Court's Traditional Role
One legislator has sponsored a proposed Constitutional Amendment this year (2006) to give the legislature the power to override the rules that govern court procedures. CACR 0036 was introduced this session by Rep. J. Wheeler, and it is introduced as a Consitutional Amendment instead of a bill because any bill trying to change the checks and balances of our government so radically would violate our state constitution.
Trail Groomers Seek Immunity For Their Negligence
HB 1402, being introduced during the 2006 New Hampshire legislative session, is intended to relieve trail groomers from any duty to use reasonable care when constructing, maintaining or improving any trails for public use. (Click here to view HB 1402.) (Click here to view the law it will change.)
If the bill is enacted, it will expand immunity from liability far beyond the current law which protects landowers, lessees and occupants from liability when they allow others to use their premises for free. If the occupant charges a fee for use of the premises, they do not get the immunity.
Under the new law, trail groomers will be not be required to give anything in return for their immunity, and they will not be accountable for any negligence on their part that results in injuries to people using the trails. This will be true whether they are grooming trails voluntarily, or making money. This new law is being proposed due to a case against a trail groomer brought by the estate of a deceased snowmobiler who crashed into a grooming machine. (Click here to read that case.)
If you're a snowmobiler, and you cross a faulty bridge, or are hurt by a poorly placed wire you don't see, you will have no legal recourse, and you will be responsible for your own medical bills, lost wages and all other losses. The person who negligently built the bridge or placed the wire in your path will not be accountable.