Justia Massachusetts Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Articles 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
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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of a single justice denying Petitioner’s petition pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3, holding that the single justice neither erred nor abused his discretion in denying relief. Petitioner, an inmate convicted of murder in the first degree, filed this petition asking the court to compel a judge in the trial court to act on then-pending motions for postconviction relief. Thereafter, the trial judge acted on and denied the postconviction motions. The Supreme Judicial Court held that because the trial court judge had acted on Petitioner’s postconviction motions, his request for relief was moot. View "Tyree v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure
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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the county court denying, without a hearing, Petitioner’s petition for relief under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3, holding that the single justice neither erred nor abused his discretion in denying relief. Petitioner was the defendant in a small claims matter. Petitioner did not request that the matter be transferred to the regular civil docket. A magistrate found for the plaintiff. A judge in the district court also found for the plaintiff. Petitioner did not request that the judge report any questions to the Appellate Division, but instead, filed this petition seeking review of the judge’s decision. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the single justice’s denial of relief, holding that Petitioner had no right to obtain review under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3. View "Aronova v. Mohamed" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure
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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the county court denying Appellant’s petition for relief under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3, holding that the single justice neither erred nor abused his discretion by denying extraordinary relief. Appellant was the plaintiff in two actions against the same defendant in the small claims session of the district court. The clerk-magistrate offered to consolidate the two cases and transfer the to the regular civil docket. Appellant, however, voluntarily dismissed one action and proceeded solely on the other. Appellant prevailed in the surviving action. Thereafter, Appellant filed motions seeking reconsideration in both cases and then filed this petition. The single justice denied relief. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that Appellant was no entitled to invoke this Court’s extraordinary power of general superintendence under the circumstances. View "Taylor-Cameron v. Walcott" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure