Justia Massachusetts Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed Defendant's convictions entered upon his conditional guilty plea to the charges of possession of a firearm without a license and possession of a large capacity feeding device, holding that the superior court did not err in denying Defendant's motion to suppress.On appeal, Defendant argued that the officers that stopped him after a routine traffic stop and then conducted a pat frisk did not have reasonable suspicion that he might be armed and dangerous. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the order denying Defendant's motion to suppress, holding that the facts, when taken together, warranted a reasonably prudent person's belief that Defendant was armed and dangerous. View "Commonwealth v. Sweeting-Bailey" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court reversed the decision of the superior court allowing Employer's motion to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint, holding that an employer cannot terminate an at-will employee for exercising the right to file a rebuttal to be included in the employee's personnel file, as provided by Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 149, 52C.After protesting his termination, Plaintiff brought this complaint alleging wrongful discharge in violation of public policy. The superior court allowed Plaintiff's motion to dismiss, concluding that the right to submit a rebuttal was not a sufficiently important public policy to support Plaintiff's claim for wrongful discharge. The Supreme Judicial Court reversed, holding that termination of an at-will employee simply for filing a rebuttal expressly authorized by Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 249, 52C constitutes a wrongful discharge in violation of public policy. View "Meehan v. Medical Information Technology, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the order of a single justice denying Petitioner's petition for extraordinary relief pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3 and under the doctrine of present execution, holding that Petitioner failed to demonstrate an appropriate occasion for exercise of the extraordinary power of general superintendence.Respondent filed a complaint against Petitioner, her insurer, alleging, among other things, that Petitioner violated Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 93A and Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 176D (count three). The district court granted summary judgment for Respondent on all counts except for count three. Petitioner brought this petition arguing that requiring it to go forward on count three compelled it to engage in frivolous litigation. The single justice denied relief. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that relief was not appropriate under the facts of this case. View "Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. v. Salaman" on Justia Law

Posted in: Insurance Law
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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of a single justice of the court denying Petitioner's petition filed pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3, holding that the single justice did not err or abuse her discretion in denying relief.After the registry of motor vehicles notified Petitioner that it was suspending his driver's license on the basis that his driver's license in New Hampshire had been suspended. The decision was upheld on appeal. Thereafter, Petitioner brought an action in the superior court seeking judicial review. The Board filed a motion to stay on the basis that the New Hampshire suspension was still pending. The judge allowed the motion to stay. After Petitioner unsuccessfully filed a petition for interlocutory review with a single justice of the appeals court Petitioner filed his Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3 seeking relief from the trial court rulings. The single justice denied the petition. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that the single justice did not err or abuse her discretion in denying relief. View "Isijola v. Board of Appeal on Motor Vehicle Liability Policies & Bonds" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the superior court judge's directed verdict in favor of DACA Delaware Dissolution Trust (DACA Trust) and Stebbins Duffy, a manufacturer's representative of Daikin Industries' products, on Ofer Nemirovsky's claims for breach of the implied warranty of merchantability and vacated the judgment entered against Daikin North America, LLC (Daikin NA), holding that the court erred in part.The trial judge declined to apply the "component parts doctrine" to the nondefective component distributed by Daikin NA because the component was not itself a "standalone" product and was designed specifically for use in the integrated product. The judge then granted directed verdict for Defendants on Nemirovsky's claims for breach of the implied warranty of merchantability against the original sellers of the HVAC system. The Supreme Judicial Court (1) vacated the judgment entered against Daikin NA, holding that the component parts doctrine precluded liability; and (2) affirmed the judge's directed verdict for Defendants on Nemirovsky's claims for breach of the implied warranty of merchantability against the original sellers of the HVAC system, holding that the claims were time barred. View "Nemirovsky v. Daikin North America, LLC" on Justia Law

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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 did not err or abuse any discretion in denying relief.Petitioner was a defendant in a summary process action commenced by his landlord. The trial judge awarded possession to the later. When Petitioner appealed the trial judge set an appeal bond and ordered Petitioner to make use and occupancy payments. The appeals court affirmed the appeal bond. Petitioner then filed his Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3 petition. A single justice denied relief on the ground that Petitioner had an adequate alternative remedy. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that Petitioner had an alternative means to seek a stay pending appeal, and therefore, relief was properly denied. View "Scott v. WM Oak Grove Village, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the order of the superior court allowing summary judgment in favor of Credico (USA), LLC in this labor dispute, holding that the independent contractor statute, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 149, 148B, does not establish the standard to determine whether an entity is that individual's joint employer for purposes of the minimum wage and overtime statutes, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 151, 1 and 1A.Plaintiffs were salespersons directly retained by DFW Consultants, Inc. (DFW), an entity with which Credico subcontracted to provide regional direct sales services for its national clients. Plaintiffs brought this complaint against Credico alleging that Credico was their joint employer and violated the independent contractor statutes and Massachusetts wage laws by misclassifying them as independent contractors rather than employees. The trial court granted summary judgment to Credico on the ground that Credico was not Plaintiffs' joint employer. The Supreme Court affirmed after borrowing the test applied under the Fair Labor Standards Act to determine joint employer status, holding that the record did not support Plaintiffs' contention that they had a reasonable expectation of proving that Credico exercised the type of control over their employment necessary to conclude it was their joint employer. View "Jinks v. Credico (USA) LLC" 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 Defendant's conviction of felony-murder in the first degree with aggravated rape as the predicate offense, holding that there was no prejudicial error in the proceedings below and that the trial court did not err in denying Defendant's motion for a new trial.Specifically, the Supreme Judicial Court held (1) there was sufficient evidence to support the conviction; (2) the trial judge did not err in not giving a consciousness of guilt instruction; (3) the prosecutor did not argue facts not in evidence during closing argument; (4) the trial judge properly denied Defendant's motion for a mistrial after the jurors inadvertently were exposed to inadmissible evidence; and (5) there was no reason to reduce the verdict pursuant to G. L. c. 278, § 33E. View "Commonwealth v. Paige" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the order of the superior court judge dismissing Plaintiff's civil action against the Appeals Court alleging various claims relating to property situated at 44 Chestnut Street in Wakefield, holding that there was no error.Plaintiff brought this action against multiple defendants, including the Appeals Court, claiming violations of various federal rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983 and violations of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. 12131 et seq. The superior court dismissed the claims against all defendants through a series of rulings. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that Plaintiff's section 1983 claims were barred by sovereign immunity and that Plaintiff's ADA claims were barred by absolute judicial immunity. View "Bostwick v. 44 Chestnut Street, Wakefield, Mass." on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Rights