Supreme Judicial Court

The Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) is slated to hear oral argument in G4S Technology LLC v. Mass. Technology Park Corp. on Monday, March 5, 2017 – a case with significant implications for construction litigation.

The dispute arises out of a $45 million public works project to build a 1200-mile fiber optic network bringing high speed

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 Cardno ChemRisk, LLC v. Foytlin, 476 Mass. 479 (2017), the Supreme Judicial Court held that the anti-SLAPP statute protected two bloggers’ critical opinions contained in a blog post directed at a scientific consulting firm working for British Petroleum (“BP”) in the wake of the Deep Water Horizon spill.

The defendant bloggers, two environmental

Addressing an issue of first impression, the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) announced last week that an insurer’s liability for multiple damages under Chapter 93A for unfair claim settlement practices committed in violation of Chapter 176D does not include the post-judgment interest accrued on an underlying judgment. Anderson v. National Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh

Charles_Fried_at_Harvard(2)In Part I of our interview with former Supreme Judicial Court Associate Justice Charles Fried, he offered advice to Massachusetts appellate lawyers on brief writing and preparing for oral argument. As promised, in Part II, Fried shares some examples of appellate advocacy drawn from his own practice.

Duane Reade Inc. v. St. Paul Fire and

Charles_Fried_at_Harvard(2)

Charles Fried is, by any measure, a pre-eminent legal scholar and American jurist. He served as an Associate Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court from 1995-1999. Prior to that, he was Solicitor General of the United States from 1985-1989. He has argued numerous major cases in state and federal appellate courts, including Daubert v.

Employers sometimes have more than one workers’ compensation policy that provides coverage for the same loss. When more than one policy covers a loss, the employer may have an incentive to intentionally tender the claim to one insurer and not the other. This is called selective tender. When the insured makes a selective tender, can the “chosen” insurer seek contribution from the non-chosen insurer? Yes, in Massachusetts.

The Supreme Judicial Court, on a question certified to it by the First Circuit Court of Appeals, recently held in Insurance Co. of the State of Pennsylvania v. Great Northern Insurance Co., 473 Mass. 745 (2016), that an employer’s selective tender of a claim to one of its insurers did not foreclose the insurer from obtaining an equitable contribution from the other insurer to whom the claim was not tendered. The ruling rejects the minority of jurisdictions that have recognized a selective tender exception to equitable contribution doctrine.
Continue Reading Selective Tender Exception to Equitable Contribution Doctrine in Massachusetts Addressed By Supreme Judicial Court

In 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 recorded pursuant to G.L. c 183, § 5B, attesting to the proper acknowledgment of a recorded mortgage containing a Certificate of Acknowledgment that omits the name of the mortgagor, correct what the parties say is a material defect in the Certificate of Acknowledgment of that mortgage?
  1. May an affidavit executed and recorded pursuant to G.L. c 183, § 5B, attesting to the proper acknowledgment of a recorded mortgage containing a Certificate of Acknowledgment that omits the name of the mortgagor, provide constructive notice of the existence of the mortgage to a bona fide purchaser, either independently or in combination with the mortgage?

Continue Reading Can an Attorney’s Affidavit Cure a Defective Mortgage?

In a dispute arising from the break-up of an accounting partnership, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has held that parties to a contract cannot agree to expand the grounds on which a court can vacate a commercial arbitration award beyond the bases explicitly set forth in the Massachusetts Arbitration Act (MAA). Katz, Nannis & Solomon, P.C. v. Levine, 473 Mass. 784 (2016). Thus, even where contracting parties wish to give the court more power to review (and perhaps restrain) the power of an arbitrator, the MAA forbids them from doing so, according to the SJC.

The dispute in Katz arose from alleged serious misconduct of one of the firm’s founders; as a result, the remaining partners voted him out. The ousted partner, Levine, took the matter to binding arbitration (per the partnership agreement). The arbitrator held that the vote was proper, that sufficient evidence supported a vote to eject Levine “for cause,” and awarded the partnership more than $1.7 million, plus interest.

The partnership moved to confirm the arbitration award in Superior Court and Levine moved to vacate it. The Superior Court confirmed the award, added an award of attorneys’ fees, and Levine appealed to the SJC, per its grant of a request for direct appellate review.
Continue Reading Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Restricts Review of Arbitration Awards