A. Summons and complaint
For summary process cases filed subsequent to the expiration of St. 2020, c. 65, plaintiffs shall not provide a trial date on the summary process summons and complaint (S&C). For new summary process cases, plaintiffs shall not provide a trial date on the summary process summons and complaint (S&C), but rather should indicate on the S&C that the trial date is “to be determined by the court” or “TBD by the court.”2 The S&C will inform the parties that the court will notify them of the date, time, and manner of the court event.
B. Case management conference
In both pending and new summary process cases, the court will notify the parties of the date and time of the first court event, which shall be a judicial case management conference (CMC), and may occur on any day of the week. The CMC will allow the court to inform the parties regarding the availability of, and explore the parties’ interest in, mediation, the availability of assistance with housing costs, establish stipulations, narrow the factual and legal issues to be addressed at trial, schedule urgent or dispositive motions so as to minimize delay, and establish discovery deadlines tailored to the specific case.
C. Affidavit for non-payment of rent claims
Upon the entry of a new summary process action that includes a claim for non-payment of rent, the plaintiff shall file with the S&C an affidavit indicating whether the plaintiff has received a Declaration from the tenant under the Order3 issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC Order), effective September 4, 2020. In a pending summary process action that includes a claim for non-payment of rent, the plaintiff shall file said affidavit on or before the date of the first CMC. In all summary process cases, the plaintiff shall also file a subsequent affidavit prior to the entry of judgment or upon request for the issuance of an execution. A form affidavit will be available on the judiciary’s Mass.gov webpage.
D. Case priority
Generally speaking, cases will be scheduled based on the order in which they were filed.
Unless an extension of time is requested, an Answer to a summary process complaint shall be due no later than three business days prior to the date of the CMC.
If a case is referred to mediation, the case may be continued for a further CMC. The court may also, at the request of the parties or at its discretion, continue any case for any reason if doing so will assist the parties with resolving the dispute. If the case is not referred to mediation or an agreement is not reached, the case will be continued for a bench trial date no sooner than two weeks after the CMC.
G. Defaults and dismissals
Failure to appear at the first CMC will not result in entry of a default or dismissal of the case. Instead, the case will be scheduled for a bench trial no sooner than two weeks following the date of the case management conference. Where a party wishes to serve a discovery demand on the opposing party but has failed to appear at the CMC, the party must, by motion, obtain approval of the Court to serve such demand.
H. Transfers to Housing Court
Pursuant to Uniform Summary Process Rule 4, any request for a transfer of the action under shall be filed in both courts no later than the day before the commencement of the trial.