Justia Massachusetts Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Civil Procedure
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The Supreme Judicial Court held that the doctrine of present execution does not permit an interlocutory appeal from a superior court judge's order denying a motion to enforce an alleged settlement agreement.Plaintiff filed this action asserting claims for summary process eviction and breach of contract regarding Defendant's lease of office space. The parties' counsel engaged in settlement negotiations via e-mail. Thereafter, Defendant moved to enforce what it asserted was a binding settlement agreement. After the motion judge denied the motion Defendant filed a petition for interlocutory review asserting that its interlocutory appeal was proper under the doctrine of present execution. A single justice presented questions for appellate review. The Supreme Judicial Court dismissed the appeal, holding that Defendant was not entitled to an interlocutory appeal under the doctrine of present execution. View "CP 200 State, LLC v. CIEE, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the single justice of the court denying Petitioner's petition for relief pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3, holding that the single justice did not err or abuse the justice's discretion in denying relief.In his petition, Petitioner sought interlocutory relief from "undue delays" and "unreasonable decision[s]" by superior court judges in two civil cases in which he was a plaintiff and then requested that action on his petition be postponed due to circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The single justice denied the petition. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that Petitioner failed to establish why the trial court's decision could not adequately be obtained on appeal or by other available means. View "Negron v. Turco" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure
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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court recognizing an Israeli judgment under the Massachusetts Uniform Foreign Money-Judgments Recognition Act, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 235, 23A, thus allowing the foreign money judgment to be enforced, holding that the superior court did not err.Defendant failed to pay Plaintiff, an Israeli law firm, its agreed-upon fees, and an Israeli court held Defendant liable for the debt. Thereafter, Plaintiff brought this action seeking to recognize the Israeli judgment under the recognition act. The judge recognized the judgment, allowing it to be enforced. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding (1) the recognition act does not require compliance with Mass. R. Civ. P. 4(d), as amended, but is best understood as requiring the same level of notice as required by due process; and (2) the Israeli judgment was not repugnant and did not offend public policy. View "Cassouto-Noff & Co. v. Diamond" 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 filed under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3, holding that Petitioner's petition failed because of adequate alternative remedies.Petitioner asked the county court to order the clerk of the superior court to enter a final judgment in certain proceedings in that court. The judge denied the motion, concluding that the petition failed because there existed an adequate alternative remedy. Petitioner then filed his current petition asking the court to direct the trial court to either enter judgment or schedule a trial. A single justice denied relief. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that Petitioner's petition failed because of an adequate alternative remedy. View "Bishay v. Superior Court Department of the Trial Court" 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 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 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 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