Justia Massachusetts Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Civil Procedure
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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of a single justice of the court denying Petitioner's complaint for relief in the nature of mandamus and for extraordinary relief under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3, holding that the single justice did not err or abuse her discretion in denying relief.On March 31, 2017, judgment entered against Petitioner in the underlying superior court case. Petitioner filed a motion to vacate the judgment. After the motion to vacate was denied Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration and a motion to recuse. Both motions were denied. Petitioner then filed her complaint for relief in the nature of mandamus and for extraordinary relief pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3. The single justice denied relief. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that where Petitioner had an adequate alternative avenue to obtain the relief sought - an appeal to the Appeals Court - and chose not to pursue that avenue, Petitioner was not entitled to invoke the extraordinary relief set forth in Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3. View "Harrington v. Deutsche Bank National Trust Co." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the decision of the probate and family court judge's dismissal of Petitioner's third petition for adoption due to lack of jurisdiction, holding that the probate and family court had both subject matter jurisdiction and personal jurisdiction.Petitioner was the biological father of the child at issue and was named as the child's parent on her birth certificate. Petitioner lived outside of the United States with his same-sex partner and the child, where the child was born outside of marriage to a gestational carrier, the child's birth mother, who lived in Massachusetts. Mother signed a surrender form indicating her desire to surrender the child to the care and custody of Father. Thereafter, Father filed three petitions in the probate and family court seeking to establish his status as the child's sole legal parent. Each petition was rejected. Father appealed the denial of his third petition, which was rejected on the basis that the court lacked jurisdiction. The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment, holding that the probate and family court had subject matter jurisdiction under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 210, 1 and personal jurisdiction over the parties in this case. View "In re Adoption of Daphne" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the decision of the single justice of the court denying Petitioner's petition filed pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3 seeking an order requiring a single justice of the appeals court to state findings and more detailed reasons for denying a prior petition for interlocutory review that she had filed pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3, holding that the petition was properly denied.Petitioner sought interlocutory review from a single justice of the appeals court by various orders in a civil action that she had commenced and which was pending in the superior court. Petitioner filed a petition in the appeals court, and the appeals court single justice denied the petition. Petitioner then brought this action. The Supreme Judicial Court denied relief, holding that Petitioner was not entitled to further review of the single justice's order. View "Montanez v. Flahive" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure
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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the county court denying Petitioner's petition for relief under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3, holding that where Petitioner had remedies in the ordinary appellate process, the single justice did not err or abuse her discretion by denying extraordinary relief.Petitioner, the plaintiff in a civil action, sought review of a superior court judge's order requiring service of process on Defendants by certified mail at Petitioner's own expense and requested a waiver of the Appeals Court's filing fee for his single justice petition. After reviewing Petitioner's affidavit of indigency and other information, a single justice ordered that Petitioner pay a significantly reduced filing fee for his petition. Petitioner then filed his Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3 petition arguing that the reduced amount was still too high. A single justice denied relief without holding a hearing. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that Petitioner had an adequate remedy in the ordinary appellate process. View "Negron v. Commissioner of Correction" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure
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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the single justice of the court denying Petitioner's petition pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3 and related motions, holding that the single justice did not err or abuse her discretion in denying relief.In her petition, Petitioner requested an order requiring the superior court judge to recuse himself in civil litigation between herself and Respondent. Petitioner also filed motions in relation to the civil matter. The single justice denied the petition and all other relief sought in Petitioner's motions. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that Petitioner could have sought interlocutory review of the judge's rulings and, as to the motion to recuse, could have directly appealed from the adverse judgment. View "Trahan v. Pelczar" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure
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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of a single justice of the court denying Petitioner's petition for relief in the nature of mandamus, holding that the single justice did not abuse his discretion in denying relief where the record did not demonstrate that alternative avenues of relief were unavailable.Petitioner sought an order requiring the superior court clerk to assemble the record for his appeal in his underlying civil action against Harvard University. The single justice denied relief. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that where Petitioner did not avail himself of several practical and legal steps available to prompt action in the trial court, the single justice was well within his discretion in denying relief. View "Myrick v. Superior Court Department" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure
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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the single justice denying Petitioner's petition for extraordinary relief under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3, holding that Petitioner was not entitled to review pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3 because he had an adequate alternative remedy.The district court issued a one-year harassment prevention order against Petitioner. Petitioner then filed a petition for extraordinary relief in the county court. The single justice denied the petition without holding a hearing, instructing Petitioner that his appeal from the order lay in the appeals court. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that the single justice did not err or abuse her discretion in denying relief. View "A.F. v. D.F." on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure
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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of a single justice denying Petitioner's petition seeking relief in the nature of mandamus and pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3, holding that the single justice did not err or abuse her discretion in denying relief.Petitioner commenced an action in the superior court against Respondent. After the superior court granted Respondent's motion to stay discovery, Petitioner filed a motion for final judgment on the basis that Respondent had failed to respond to the discovery requests. The motion was denied. Petitioner then filed a complaint seeking relief in the nature of mandamus and pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3 asking the Court to order the superior court clerk to enter judgment in Petitioner's favor. The single justice denied the petition without a hearing. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that this was not a situation where extraordinary relief from this Court was required. View "Navom v. Clerk of the Superior Court in Middlesex County" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure
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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of a single justice of the court denying Appellant's complaint for relief in the nature of mandamus or, in the alternative, for relief pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3, holding that the single justice neither erred nor abused his discretion in denying the complaint.Appellant commenced a qui tam action. The case was dismissed, and the appeals court affirmed. Appellant filed a petition for rehearing in the appeals court. A replacement judgment took part in the decision denying the petition for rehearing. Appellant's ensuing motion for recusal of the replacement judge was denied. Appellant then sought relief in the nature of mandamus to compel the replacement judge to demonstrate the basis for his decision not to recuse himself, to order the recusal, and to compel the appeals court to reconsider his petition for rehearing. The Supreme Judicial Court held that the single justice correctly denied relief because Appellant's issues were not the type of action that could be compelled by a complaint for mandamus and that Appellant failed to demonstrate the absence or inadequacy of remedies alternative to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3. View "Chawla v. Appeals Court" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure
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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the county court denying Petitioner’s petition under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3 for relief from a judgment entered in a small claims matter in the district court, holding that extraordinary relief was not warranted in this case.In the small claims matter a clerk-magistrate issued judgment in favor of Barclays Bank of Delaware as to both of Petitioner’s claims and Barclay’s counterclaims. The district court dismissed Petitioner’s claim of appeal. Petitioner moved for reconsideration, but a judge denied the motion. In his petition in the county court Petitioner sought relief from the judge’s denial of relief. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that Petitioner waived his right to appeal and likewise was not entitled to invoke this Court’s extraordinary power of general superintendence in lieu of an appeal that Petitioner was not entitled to extraordinary relief when he failed to request a transfer to the regular civil docket pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 218, 24. View "Mullane v. Barclays Bank Delaware" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure