In a Rule 1:28 decision applying New Hampshire law, the Appeals Court affirmed the entry of summary judgment dismissing a doctor’s suit accusing her professional liability insurer of improper settlement of a claim without her consent. Johnson v. Proselect Ins. Co., 17-P-109.

The underlying trial had resulted in a $5 million judgment against

The scope of an insurer’s right to control the defense of an insured is an underdeveloped issue in Massachusetts case law, which the Appeals Court recently addressed in OneBeacon America Ins. Co. v. Celanese Corp., No. 16-P-203 (Oct. 16, 2017). The decision helps clarify the rights of an insurer when it has offered

Appellate lawyers are constantly asked (and asking themselves) some variant of the same question: “How long until we get a decision?” The reality is that it’s hard to know. Nevertheless, most will, after being pressed, venture a guess based on their informed experience.

To supplement our informed experience, we conducted an analysis of twenty-one recent

In April 2017, the Appeals Court launched an oral argument pilot program that staggers attorney appearance times. This means that the “old days” of arriving at oral argument before 9:30 a.m. and waiting through a series of arguments before your case is called may soon be history. The pilot program organizes the oral arguments in

On November 7, 2016, the Appeals Court heard oral argument for Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Company v. Ryan Casey & Another (16-P-32).  Defendants Ryan Casey and Evan Williams appealed a Superior Court’s summary judgment decision in favor of Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Company (“Liberty Mutual”) that concluded that the insured, Casey, expected or intended to cause William’s bodily injury as a matter of law. The Superior Court held that Liberty Mutual had no duty to defend or indemnify Casey or pay William’s medical expenses due to an exclusion in the policy for bodily injury “which is expected or intended by the insured.” The Appeals Court upheld the Superior Court’s decision on March 29, 2017.

William and Casey got into an altercation in a remote location. Casey punched and kicked Williams numerous times, leaving him seriously injured. Casey was indicted for the attacks and pled guilty to assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon and assault and battery causing serious bodily harm. He was sentenced to a house of correction for 2 ½ years and probation.  Williams made a claim under Casey’s parent’s homeowner’s insurance policy with Liberty Mutual. The policy contained certain exclusions that stated that certain coverages did not apply to “’bodily injury’…[w]hich is expected or intended by the ‘insured’, even if the resulting ‘bodily injury’ . . . is of a different kind, quality, or degree than initially expected or intended.” It is that clause that the Superior Court judge determined excluded coverage for Casey and Williams.
Continue Reading Intent to Injure Can Be Inferred as a Matter of Law Barring Coverage Under a Homeowner’s Policy for Bodily Injury Expected or Intended by an Insured

The Massachusetts Appeals Court recently decided two issues of first impression in a case arising out of a mediated settlement gone bad. See ZVI Construction Co. v. Levy, 90 Mass. App. Ct. 412 (2016) (“ZVI”). The court determined that there was no fraud exception to a written mediation confidentiality agreement, and that one party in a joint representation cannot unilaterally waive the attorney-client privilege.  An issue that received less acclaim, but which is essential to any practitioner considering an appeal, was the court’s discussion of the timeliness of a notice of appeal under Massachusetts Rule of Appellate Procedure 4.

In ZVI, the appellant filed a noticed of appeal after all claims against the primary defendants were dismissed.  However, claims against other defendants remained, meaning that final judgment had not entered. Accordingly, ZVI’s notice of appeal was premature. This procedural defect came to light when the Appeals Court raised the issue at oral argument. The court allowed the parties to return to Superior Court to file a joint motion for entry of separate and final judgment under Mass. R. Civ. P. 54(b).  After separate and final judgment entered, ZVI should have filed a new notice of appeal; it did not. The Appeals Court noted that ZVI failed to make good on its second chance by not filing a new notice of appeal after separate and final judgment entered. Therefore, the case was not properly before the court. Nonetheless, the Appeals Court chose to breathe life back into the procedurally deficient appeal to resolve the important and fully briefed issues.


Continue Reading Not Quite a Final Judgment: Steering Clear of the Perils in Filing a Notice of Appeal

On June 7, 2016, the Appeals Court heard oral argument for Harvard Climate Justice Coalition v. President and Fellows of Harvard College (AC 15-P-0905). Harvard Climate Justice Coalition, an unincorporated association of students at Harvard University (“Students”), appealed from a Superior Court judgment dismissing their action for a permanent injunction requiring the President and Fellows

Addressing an issue of first impression, the Appeals Court recently held that an employer who fails to maintain a workers’ compensation policy in violation of the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act, G.L. c. 152, et seq., is automatically debarred from bidding or participating in any state or municipal funded contract for three years. New England

On February 9, 2016, the Supreme Judicial Court heard oral argument for Bank of America, N.A. v. Debora A. Casey (In re Pereira), 791 F.3d 180 (1st Cir. 2015). The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit certified the following questions to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court:

  1. May an affidavit executed and