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Amicus Announcements from September 2021 to August 2022

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.

November 2021

Commonwealth vs. Timothy M. Roderick

In making an individualized determination of reasonableness when imposing a GPS monitoring requirement on a person convicted of a sex offense, see Commonwealth v. Feliz, 481 Mass. 689 (2019), whether the Commonwealth bears the burden to prove the reasonableness of GPS monitoring; whether the facts of the underlying offense can be relied upon to support a finding of reasonableness without a link to an increased rate of recidivism; and whether the defendant’s classification by the Sex Offender Registry Board as a level two sex offender, standing alone, is sufficient to establish that he imposes a threat of reoffending.

Commonwealth vs. Kyle S. Dawson

Whether the defendant was properly charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of his coventurer in an attempted armed robbery, where the intended robbery victim shot and killed the coventurer.

Vermont Mutual Ins. Co. vs. Paul Poirier & others

Whether a businessowner’s policy provided coverage for attorneys’ fees awarded pursuant to G. L. c. 93A against the plaintiff’s insured in an underlying civil action, under a general provision for coverage of “sums that the insured becomes legally obligated to pay as damages because of ‘bodily injury.’”

Katharine Armstrong & others vs. Secretary of Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs & another

Where the Department of Environmental Affairs has adopted certain Waterways Regulations, 310 CMR 9.00 et seq; where the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs has adopted certain Municipal Harbor Plan (MHP) Regulations, 301 CMR 23.00 et seq; and where, when the department is making a licensing decision for a project located in an area covered by an MHP, the Waterways regulations require the department to substitute certain standards specified in the MHP, the department has improperly delegated or exceeded its authority under G. L. c. 91; whether the regulations are invalid and ultra vires.

Commonwealth vs. Pingxia Fan

Whether, for purposes of proving human trafficking pursuant to G. L. c. 265, § 50 (a), the Commonwealth need only prove that one or more persons were engaged in commercial sexual activity or whether the Commonwealth must prove the identity of a specific person or persons engaged in such activity. 

Paul Mahan vs. Boston Retirement Board

Whether or in what circumstances the pension forfeiture provisions of G. L. c. 32, § 15 (3), (4), apply to a person who has retired from a public office or position and no longer holds any public office or position, based on convictions for offenses that occurred after the effective date of retirement.         


Where the Commonwealth moved to continue the sentencing of the juvenile until after the juvenile's eighteenth birthday, and acknowledged that it sought the continuance for the purpose of extending the maximum term for which the juvenile could be committed to the Department of Youth Services from his eighteenth birthday to his nineteenth birthday, whether the judge erred in continuing the sentencing date.

October 2021

Dr. Roger M. Kligler & another vs. Attorney General & another

Whether a physician is subject to prosecution for manslaughter, where, in accordance with a medically acceptable standard of care, the physician prescribes medication for a competent, terminally ill, adult patient, who subsequently ingests the medication, ending his or her own life.

City of Lynn vs. Ariana Murrell

Whether the Governor’s emergency orders requiring the wearing of face coverings were preempted by the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Act, 29 U.S.C. § 651 et seq., such that the defendant was improperly ordered to cease and desist operating her business unless she complied with the face mask mandate.

Whether this case is moot, where the Governor’s emergency orders have since been rescinded, but where the Governor could impose a Statewide face mask mandate again due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.


Whether, contrary to the Superior Court’s ruling, the Sex Offender Registry Board exceeded its statutory and regulatory authority by applying G. L. c. 6, § 178L (3), as amended by St. 2013 c. 38, § 11 (the reclassification statute), as implemented in 803 Code of Mass. Regs. § 1.32 (2016), retroactively to behavior that occurred before the effective date of the reclassification statute.

Tracer Lane II Realty, LLC vs. City of Waltham & another

Where G. L. c. 40A, § 3, ninth par., precludes zoning ordinances or by-laws that "prohibit or unreasonably regulate the installation of solar energy systems" (except to protect public health, safety or welfare), whether allowing solar energy facilities in certain areas of a municipality but prohibiting them in other areas is permissible or whether it constitutes unreasonable regulation in contravention of the statute

September 2021

Commonwealth vs. Eric Moreau

In a prosecution for violation of G. L. c. 90, § 24(1)(a), whether the admissibility of the results of a chemical test or analysis of a defendant's breath or blood made "by or at the direction of a police officer," is dependent on the test or analysis having been "made with the consent of the defendant."  G. L. c. 90, § 24 (1)(e);  whether the holding of Commonwealth v. Bohigian, 486 Mass. 209 (2020), is limited to breath or blood samples drawn either "by or at the direction of a police officer" or without the defendant's actual consent.

Verveine Corp. d/b/a Coppa & others vs. Strathmore Ins. CO. & another

1. Where "all-risk" commercial property insurance policies provide coverage for loss of "business income and extra expense" when there is a "direct physical loss of or damage to" insured property, whether the COVID-19 pandemic and governmental closure orders satisfy the requirements for coverage.

2. Where "all-risk" commercial property insurance policies provide coverage when a covered risk causes damage to non-insured property within one mile of insured property, and a "civil authority" acts to "prohibit access" to a geographic area that includes the insured property, whether the COVID-19 pandemic and governmental closure orders satisfy the requirements for coverage.

3. Whether a virus exclusion provision of an "all-risk" commercial property insurance policy excludes coverage for losses associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Charles Kingara vs. Secure Home Health Care Inc. & others

1. Whether the attorney for a deceased plaintiff in a putative class action has authority to act on the deceased plaintiff's behalf prior to class certification, and before any motion to certify a class has been filed, and without any motion by the deceased plaintiff's legal representative to substitute as a party to the putative class action.

2. If the attorney for a deceased plaintiff in a putative class action lacks such authority, whether a Superior Court judge has power to order, sua sponte, notice to the putative class members under Mass. R. Civ. P. 23 (d).


Where the Department of Children and Families (DCF) filed a petition pursuant to G. L. 119, § 26, and the child was placed in the custody of a third party, in applying the "standards set forth in" G. L. c. 210, § 3, as provided in G. L. c. 119, § 26, to the determination whether to issue an order concerning dispensing with the need for consent to adoption of the child, whether a Juvenile Court judge has authority to terminate parental rights to the child at the request of DCF, when the child is not in DCF's custody.

Rutchada Devaney & others vs. Zucchini Gold, LLC & another

Whether the trial judge erred in instructing the jury with respect to the calculation of damages under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 207; and whether the trial judge erred by permitting the plaintiffs to use the Massachusetts Wage Act as a means of collecting treble damages for unpaid overtime wages due under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act, where the plaintiffs are precluded from recovering overtime wages directly under the Wage Act.

Charles R. Dunn vs. Barbara A. Howard

Whether Land Court erred in denying the respondent’s motion to dismiss this action for partition of real property pursuant to G. L. c. 241 for lack of jurisdiction following the petitioner’s death; including, whether the partition action severed the parties’ joint tenancy in the subject property, thereby creating a tenancy in common, at any point prior to the petitioner’s death; and whether the petitioner’s heirs have standing to pursue this partition action on behalf of the deceased petitioner.

Michael J. Bassichis & others vs. Michael I. Flores

Whether the plaintiffs’ claims are barred by the litigation privilege, where the defendant, an attorney, allegedly colluded with his client and her former spouse to obtain a divorce judgment awarding all marital assets to his client, thereby placing them beyond the reach of the plaintiffs, who are creditors of her former spouse.

Dhananjay Patel & others vs. 7-Eleven, Inc. & others

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

"Whether the three-prong test for independent contractor status set forth in [G. L. c. 149, § 148B,] applies to the relationship between a franchisor and its franchisee, where the franchisor must also comply with the FTC Franchise Rule[,16 C.F.R. § 436.1, et seq].”



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


Clerk Francis V. Kenneally
Assistant Clerk Maura A. Looney
Case & Procedures Coordinator Charlotte M. Houlihan


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John Adams Courthouse
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Boston, MA 02108