In the news

On November 21, 2010, Attorney Grant appeared on the radio show “Money Matters.” It was a half hour interview and the topic was “Litigation 101.”

On October 9, 2009, Attorney Grant appeared on the radio show “Money Matters” to discuss the law.

LAWYERS WEEKLY June 11, 2007

Verdicts and Settlements
Landlord Claims Citations from Fire Department were Unclear — Waiver of Municipal Fines

Attorney: Steven A. Grant, Wilmington (for the plaintiff)
Type of action: Real property
Name of case: Tian v. Somerville Fire Department
Court/Case No.: Somerville District Court, No. 200610-CV-1175
Tried before judge or jury: N/A (settled)
Amount of settlement: N/A (agreement filed, municipal fines waived
Injuries alleged: Wrongful fine

—–In July 2006, the defendant fire department issued to the plaintiff landlord violation notices for failure to keep means of egress clear, failure to maintain fire protection system and failure to abate a dangerous condition.

The violations were issued pursuant to G.L. c. 148A, enacted under the Fire Act of 2004, which was a response to the Station nightclub fire in Rhode Island.

The landlord unsuccessfully appealed the violations before a Somerville municipal hearing officer. He then exercised his right to appeal in District Court.

The statute requires enforcement officers to be specific about what is included on their violation notices. The officer “shall indicate on the notice of violation that the violation is either: (1) a written warning; or (2) a code violation.” The statute also states, “If the notice of violation is for a continuing condition, the code enforcement officer shall indicate that the condition must be corrected within 24 hours of receipt of such notice.”

The landlord claimed that the officer failed to check off the appropriate box indicating whether the notice was indeed a violation and that the officer failed to indicate how much time the landlord had to correct the conditions or whether they should even be corrected. This occurred despite the fact that the officer “returned fewer than 24 hours later to cite the landlord for Failure to Correct Dangerous Condition as Ordered.”

The landlord argued that the fire department misused the form with which it decided to issue notices. Counsel stressed that compliance was crucial because the law intended to make the notices clear to the average recipient and it protected alleged violators like the landlord, whose first language was not English.

The parties filed an agreement by which the fire department promised to withdraw $1,700 in fines if the landlord promised to correct the violations, if any, on the premises by Dec. 15, 2006. Although the landlord had 30 days to correct any violations, the premises passed inspection on that date.


Wakefield Lawyer Teaches Chess at Boys & Girls Club

As an avid chess player, Steven Grant has been playing the game since he was in the sixth grade in the Wakefield Public School System. Now Grant is a regular chess instructor at the Boys & Girls Club of Stoneham.

Still in its early stages of execution, Grant instructs the chess program on Wednesday evenings. At an average chess session, Grant reports that anywhere from 10 to 15 young chess apprentices attend his program and that the number of attendees has been steadily increasing.

“I thought a lot of the kids would think that playing chess was for “nerds” and that they would sort of scoff at the idea but a lot of them have gotten into it. I really think that they enjoy playing the game,” said Grant.

Grant, along with the club’s cultural arts and educational director, Julie Kramer, brainstormed a challenge in which the young players are encouraged to beat Grant at his own game. Those who defeat Grant receive a free snack from the snack bar as a reward. Thus far, two participants have managed to triumph over Grant and won their well-deserved snack-of-choice.

“Usually the [kids] play each other and I’ll walk around and instruct them. They all wait in line to play me next and say “I want to play Steven next, I want to play next.” They all want that free tonic or whatever. That’s how it generally goes,” said Grant.

Aside from volunteering as the chess instructor at the Boys & Girls Club, Grant is a local attorney who operates his general practice where he specializes in litigation, real estate and landlord-tenant law.

Prior to opening his practice, Grant graduated cum laude from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he triple-majored in philosophy, economics and journalism. While at UMass, Grant founded the school’s chess club, and freelanced for the Observer during vacations. After his studies at UMass, Grant went on to receive his Juris Doctor from Suffolk University’s Law School.

With the recent combination of playing chess and practicing law, Grant contrived an interesting comparison between his hobby and his profession.

“Playing chess is a lot like being a lawyer in that both require focus, foresight and psychology. It was kind of cool to notice that observation. They both require very similar ways of thinking. That was my biggest surprise to this while thing,” said Grant.

Grant will continue to instruct chess during the upcoming months and welcomes new participants.