Amicus Announcements from September 2019 to August 2020

From time to time, the Supreme Judicial Court solicits amicus ("friend of the court") briefs or memoranda from parties not directly involved in a case, but that may have an interest or opinion about a case pending before the court.

Table of Contents

File an Amicus Brief

Amicus briefs must comply with the requirements of Rules 17, 19, and 20 of the Massachusetts Rules of Appellate Procedure. In order to assist the court, amicus briefs should focus on the ramifications of a decision and not solely on the interests of amici.

Interested parties may file their briefs in the Supreme Judicial Court Clerk's Office for the Commonwealth.

December 2019

SJC-12846
Impounded

Whether, under G. L. c. 210, § 1, the Probate and Family Court has jurisdiction over a petition for adoption where the petitioner, who is the child’s biological father and is named as the child’s parent on her birth certificate, lives outside the United States with the child and his same-sex partner, and the child was born out of wedlock to a gestational carrier who lives in Massachusetts. See G. L. c. 209C, § 10 (b).

November 2019

SJC-12842
Elmer Donis & others
vs. American Waste Services, LLC & others

Whether an employee claiming to be aggrieved by a violation of the Prevailing Wage Act, G. L. c. 149, § 27F, may, in addition to raising a claim under that provision, also raise a claim under the Wage Act, G. L. c. 149, § 148, pursuant to which individual corporate officers may be held individually liable.

SJC-12845
Commonwealth vs. Khamal McCalop

Whether the judge erred or abused her discretion in denying the defendant’s motion for a new trial without a hearing; including, whether the defendant’s guilty pleas were rendered involuntary by the judge’s participation in plea bargaining, in conjunction with her handling of the defendant’s motions regarding a juror’s allegation that racial bias infected jury deliberations at the defendant’s trial.

October 2019

SJC-12826
Mark S. Tinsley vs. Town of Framingham & others
:

Whether principles similar to those described in Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994), apply to claims brought under State law and the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act.

SJC-12808
Commonwealth vs. Tykorie Evelyn

Whether, in all the circumstances of this case involving a street encounter between police officers and the defendant (a seventeen-year-old African-American male), a seizure of the defendant occurred when a police officer exited his vehicle in pursuit of him after attempting to speak with him; whether the moment of seizure should be determined from the perspective of a reasonable African-American boy. See Commonwealth v. Matta (SJC-12693).

 Whether the defendant’s behavior gave rise to reasonable suspicion that he was engaged in any crime when he was seized, where he was in the vicinity of a reported shooting and assumed a “bladed” stance (i.e., turned his body so as to keep one side further away from the police), and where the defendant’s expert witness testified that to date, there was no research showing that a “bladed” stance is a reliable indicator that a person is concealing a weapon.

Whether the motion judge properly rejected expert testimony concerning “stereotype threat,” i.e., a person’s exhibiting certain behaviors or discomfort due to fear of being stereotyped in a negative way rather than due to consciousness of guilt.

SJC-12827
Impounded

Whether the Superior Court abused its discretion in granting a preliminary injunction to allow a student to return to high school after she was suspended for 112 days for possessing marijuana; including, whether the Superior Court erred in determining that a superintendent does not have the authority to designate another school administrator to conduct an appeal hearing and render a decision on an appeal of a long-term suspension or expulsion under G. L. c. 71, § 37H.

September 2019

SJC-12817
John Doe, M.D. vs. Board of Registration in Medicine:
 

1. Where Doe seeks to (a) enjoin the Board of Registration in Medicine from pursuing disciplinary proceedings against him based on certain alleged criminal conduct, the record of which has been sealed; or, alternatively, (b) to enjoin the board from publicly disseminating information about the sealed record during the course of the disciplinary proceedings, whether G. L. c. 249, § 4, is an appropriate vehicle for Doe to purse the relief he seeks, or is G. L. c. 231A (or some other type of claim) the appropriate vehicle.

2. Do the Massachusetts sealing statutes, G. L. c. 276, §§ 100A-100C, as amended in 2018, prohibit the Board of Registration in Medicine from using a criminal record that has been sealed pursuant to G. L. c. 276, § 100C, in disciplinary proceedings before the board.  If not, how specifically may the record be used, e.g., may the board place all or parts of the sealed record in evidence at the disciplinary hearing, or refer to it in statements at the hearing, or include such information in other board documents that are matters of public record, such as the statement of allegations against Doe?

3. Would an interpretation of the Massachusetts sealing statutes, G. L. c. 276, §§ 100A-100C, as amended in 2018, that permits the Board of Registration in Medicine to make public information regarding a record that has been sealed pursuant to G. L. c. 276, §100C, violate Doe's rights to due process or equal protection under the State or Federal constitutions? 

SJC-12798
Mark R. Thompson & others vs. JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A.:
 

The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit certified the following question to the court:

"Did the statement in the August 12, 2016, default and acceleration notice that 'you can still avoid foreclosure by paying the total past-due amount before a foreclosure sale takes place' render the notice inaccurate or deceptive in a manner that renders the subsequent foreclosure sale void under Massachusetts law?"

SJC-12813
Philip Landry vs. Transworld Systems, Inc.

Where a creditor has hired a debt collection agency to collect debt from a consumer and where the consumer has commenced an action against the debt collection agency claiming unfair debt collection practices, whether the debt collection agency can compel arbitration pursuant to an agreement between the consumer and the creditor where the debt collection agency is not a signatory to that agreement.

SJC-12809
Dale Young vs. State Board of Retirement

Where a state employee whose eligibility for retirement benefits is based in part on years of creditable service as a contract employee and in part on years of service as a regular employee, whether the employee's compensation earned as a contract employee (which was higher than the compensation earned as a regular employee) can be considered for purposes of calculating retirement benefits.

SJC-12816 Commonwealth vs. Marlana L. Ellsworth
SJC-12815 Commonwealth vs. Andrew M. Rossetti
SJC-12814 Commonwealth vs. Devonaire X. Beverly

Whether, under G. L. c. 278, § 18, and article 30 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights, a judge may lawfully enter a continuance without a finding followed by an immediate dismissal (or order that the case be dismissed later the same day or the following day) without probationary conditions.

Whether the Commonwealth may challenge such a disposition by filing a motion to revise or revoke a sentence pursuant to Mass. R. Crim. P. 29.

These three cases will be argued together.

Contact

Phone

Open Mon. - Fri. (except holidays), 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Clerk Francis V. Kenneally (617) 557-1188
Assistant Clerk Maura A. Looney (617) 557-1189
Case & Procedures Coordinator Charlotte M. Houlihan (617) 557-1075

Online

Clerk Francis V. Kenneally Francis.Kenneally@jud.state.ma.us
Assistant Clerk Maura A. Looney Maura.Looney@jud.state.ma.us
Case & Procedures Coordinator Charlotte M. Houlihan Charlotte.Houlihan@jud.state.ma.us

Fax

Main 617-557-1145

*Please note faxes, emails and attached documents shall not be accepted for filing in new or existing cases unless they concern credible emergency circumstances and you have obtained expressed permission in advance from the Clerk or an Assistant Clerk.

Address

Main Office
John Adams Courthouse
1 Pemberton Square, Suite 1400
Boston, MA 02108
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