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.

August 2022

Commonwealth vs. Jason Robinson &

Commonwealth vs. Sheldon Mattis

Whether this court should extend its holding in Diatchenko v. District Attorney for the Suffolk Dist., 466 Mass. 655 (2013), to conclude that the imposition of a mandatory sentence of life without parole for those convicted of murder in the first degree, who were eighteen through twenty years old at the time of the crime, violates art. 26 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights.   Please note:  per order of the court, any briefs of amici curiae in these matters shall be filed on or before December 16, 2022.


Whether the crime of attempted arson, as defined in G. L. c. 266, § 5A, requires a specific intent to set a fire or to burn, notwithstanding the ruling in Commonwealth v. Pfeiffer, 482 Mass. 110 (2019), that completed arson is a general intent crime, and if the statute does not require this specific intent, whether it is unconstitutionally vague as applied to the juvenile.

Whether G. L. c. 266, § 5A, is unconstitutionally overbroad because it criminalizes innocent acts that are preliminary to an arson attempt or because it includes the placement of “any device” as an overt act, without requiring that such a device be flammable, explosive, or combustible.

Commonwealth vs. Michael D. Schoener

Under G. L. c. 274, § 2, whether a conviction of being an accessory before the fact to a felony requires the Commonwealth to prove that the defendant was an accessory to the felony by counseling, hiring, or in some other way arranging for another person to commit the felony; whether the judge’s instructions in this case improperly imported elements from the offense of aiding and abetting, namely, that the defendant provided assistance, aid, or encouragement in the commission of the felony.

Whether a conviction of being an accessory before the fact requires the Commonwealth to prove that the defendant knowingly participated in the crime; whether the instructions in this case improperly omitted this element of intent.

Commonwealth vs. Carlos Guardado

Whether the trial judge properly declined to instruct the jury that the defendant was exempt from criminal liability for possession of a firearm “in or on his . . . place of business,” G. L. c. 269, § 10 (a) (1), where the firearm was found in the defendant’s car, which was parked in the parking lot of a retail store where he was employed but where he was not the owner or proprietor.

Terrence Marengi & others vs. 6 Forest Road & others

Where the bond provision of G. L. c. 40A, § 17, provides that a court may, in its discretion, require a plaintiff who is appealing to the trial court from "a decision to approve a special permit, variance or site plan" to post a surety or cash bond to secure payment of costs, whether the bond provision applies to a plaintiff who is appealing from a comprehensive permit issued pursuant to G. L. c. 40B.

Carla Casey vs. Pamela Papamechail & others

Where, due to a scrivener's error in the deed, certain real property remained in a decedent's estate at the time of her death, rather than having been transferred to a child as intended; and where the decedent received MassHealth benefits prior to her death; whether the deed can be reformed nunc pro tunc or whether doing so would unfairly affect an innocent third party, i.e., MassHealth, because reforming the deed would remove the property, or the value of the property, from the estate and from the pool of assets available to reimburse MassHealth for medical assistance expenses pursuant to G. L. c. 118E, § 31.

July 2022

Commonwealth vs. Timothy Duguay

Whether the motion judge properly denied the defendant’s motion for a new trial on a charge of murder in the first degree on the ground that the defendant’s newly available DNA results did not cast serious doubt on the justice of the conviction.

Ken’s Foods, Inc. vs. Steadfast Insurance Company

Whether Massachusetts recognizes a common-law duty for insurers to cover costs incurred by an insured party to prevent imminent covered loss, even if those costs are not covered by the policy

June 2022

Salvatore F. DiMasi vs. Secretary of the Commonwealth

Whether, under G. L. c. 3, § 45 (m), the plaintiff is automatically disqualified from registering as a lobbyist for a period of ten years from the date of his Federal felony convictions, where the Secretary of the Commonwealth determined that those convictions were based on conduct that would violate one or more sections of G. L. c. 3, 55, or 268A, but where the plaintiff was not convicted of violating any of those State laws.

The Judge Rotenberg Educational Center, Inc. & others vs. Commissioner of the Department of Developmental Services & others

Whether the judge properly declined to vacate the 1987 consent decree, which allows the JREC to use aversive therapies including a skin shock from a graduated electronic decelerator device, on the grounds that the purpose of the consent decree has not been achieved and that there is no professional consensus that such therapies do not conform to the standard of care for treating individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Smiley First, LLC vs. Massachusetts Department of Transportation

Whether the judge properly declared that, pursuant to an easement taken by an Order of Taking in 1991, the Department of Transportation has the right to use for railroad purposes the full extent of the plaintiff’s property that is burdened by the easement, including a test track project of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, without paying additional compensation to the plaintiff.

Martin McCauley vs. Nelson Alves & another

Whether the Commissioner of the Department of Correction properly denied the plaintiff’s petition for medical parole on the ground that he is not so debilitated as to pose a public safety risk, where he is able to ambulate with a walker and where he has a record of committing a number of disciplinary infractions.

Whether the definition of “debilitating condition” in 501 Code Mass. Regs. § 17.02 is invalid on the ground that it impermissibly narrows the class of prisoners who are entitled to medical parole to those who are unable to perform daily life functions.


Whether the putative biological father of a child born out of wedlock has standing to pursue a paternity action under either G. L. c. 209C or G. L. c. 215, § 6, without demonstrating a substantial parent-child relationship, see C.C. v. A.B., 406 Mass. 679, 689 (1990), where the child’s mother represented to him the he was not the biological father and where she and a third party, without notice to the putative father, signed a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity despite knowing that the third party was not the biological father.

Erik Tenczar & another vs. Indian Pond Country Club & others

Whether the trial court erred in denying the defendants' motions for judgment notwithstanding the verdict and for a new trial/remittitur, including:  whether the recorded documents reserving rights to the developer of a residential subdivision -- consisting of a central golf course surrounded by residential lots -- granted an easement permitting errant golf shots to enter the improved portion of the plaintiffs' residential property abutting the golf course.

Commonwealth vs. Lindsay A. Hallinan

Where, in the Commonwealth v. Ananias breathalyzer litigation, and on the basis of the Office of Alcohol Testing's conduct, the trial court ordered that all Draeger 9510 breathalyzer test results from June 1, 2011, to April 18, 2019, are excluded from criminal prosecutions (with certain exceptions), whether in all cases involving Draeger 9510 breathalyzer results, including those that pre-date the Ananias litigation, the defendant is entitled to a conclusive presumption of egregious misconduct; whether a voluntary guilty plea, in the circumstances, constitutes a waiver of the right to seek a new trial on the basis of newly discovered evidence or prosecutorial nondisclosure.

May 2022

U.S. Auto Parts Network, Inc. vs. Commissioner of Revenue

Whether the Commissioner of Revenue had the authority to require the taxpayer, an internet vendor with no traditional physical presence in Massachusetts, to collect sales taxes on internet sales to Massachusetts customers, based on the taxpayer’s internet contacts in Massachusetts such as a mobile application, “cookies,” and third-party content distribution networks; whether such requirement violates the Commerce Clause or the Internet Tax Freedom Act, 47 U.S.C. § 151 note.

Michael Cuddy & another vs. Philip Morris USA, Inc. & others

Whether the Superior Court erred in dismissing the complaint in this wrongful death action, where the complaint was filed within three years of the decedent’s death, see G. L. c. 229, § 2, but where the decedent would not have been in a position to sue for damages arising from the alleged injury at the time of death because the statute of limitations on the personal injury claims had lapsed.  See GGNSC Admin. Servs., LLC v. Schrader, 484 Mass. 181, 185 (2020).

James J. Reagan & another vs. Commissioner of Revenue         

Whether the commissioner may impose Massachusetts income tax on capital gain from the sale of an urban redevelopment project undertaken pursuant to G. L. c. 121A.

Louise Barron & others vs.  Southborough Board of Selectmen & others

In a case involving a facial challenge to the constitutionality of a policy adopted by Southborough board of selectmen entitled "Public Participation at Public Meetings," which provides, inter alia, that "[a]ll remarks must be respectful and courteous, free of rude, personal or slanderous remarks," whether the public comment segment of the board's meeting is a traditional, designated or limited public forum; whether the board's "Public Participation at Public Meetings" policy is a constitutional, permissible prohibition on speech.

Commonwealth vs. Charee Rainey

Whether body-worn camera footage of the police response to a domestic disturbance report was recorded in violation of the Massachusetts wiretap act, G. L. c. 272, § 99; if so, whether the body-worn camera recording nonetheless may be used as evidence in a probation revocation proceeding; whether the judge erred in determining that the complainant's statements, recorded on a police officer's body-worn camera, were substantially reliable hearsay.

Jason Dacey vs. Sandy Burgess

In a case arising out of a residential tenant's complaint against a landlord in the Housing Court involving sanitary code claims, where the parties stipulated that the tenant would vacate the premises not later than a date certain, and the stipulation was entered as an order of the court, whether:  (1) absent commencement of summary process proceedings, a judgment for possession and for issuance of execution properly may issue;  and whether (2) summary process is the exclusive means to recover possession of land or a tenement when a tenant does not vacate the premises.

April 2022

Le Fort Enterprises, Inc. vs.  Lantern 18, LLC & others

Whether an obligor under a commercial promissory note and security agreement given in connection with the purchase of a business may avail itself of the defenses of impossibility, impracticability, and frustration of purpose, in light of governmental closure orders associated with the COVID-19 pandemic; whether the plaintiff was entitled to accelerate payment of the outstanding principal balance of a note, where the defendants claimed that their suspension of payments was due to an unforeseen circumstance, namely the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic; whether, a judge has authority to reform the parties' contract to avoid what the defendants contend is an unjust and inequitable result.

Commonwealth vs. Christopher Rambert

Where the defendant, as a juvenile, was convicted of nonmurder offenses in 1983 and given a sentence that was later determined to be disproportionate under Commonwealth v. Perez, 477 Mass. 67 (2017), whether the resentencing court had discretion to order a new sentence that requires more than fifteen years of parole-ineligible incarceration and to impose a term of probation that exposes the defendant to additional parole-ineligible incarceration in the event of a probation violation.

Berlin Landing Realty Trust vs. Town of Northborough Zoning Board of Appeal

Where, pursuant to the Dover Amendment, G. L. c. 40A, § 3, third par., a proposed child care facility would otherwise be exempt from a particular zoning bylaw setback requirement, whether or how the existence of wetlands or other conditions on the site bears on the exemption.

Commonwealth vs. Miguel Remi Dones

Where a defendant has been adjudicated a youthful offender for violating G. L. c. 269, § 10 (a), whether a judge imposing a sentence pursuant to G. L. c. 119, § 58 (c), has the authority, pursuant to G. L. c. 279, § 2, to commit the defendant to the Department of Youth Services and then to suspend the commitment with conditions of probation.

Commonwealth vs. Frank DiBenedetto 

Whether a "locked plea" or "package plea" offer, which made the offer of a plea contingent on its acceptance by all codefendants, violated the defendant's right to due process.

Commonwealth vs. Hubert Smith

Whether the defendant's right to due process or to the protections against double jeopardy preclude reinstatement of a conviction of murder in the first degree after the time in which to file a gatekeeper petition challenging the reduction in the verdict has expired; whether the thirty-day deadline for filing set forth in Mains v. Commonwealth, 433 Mass. 30, 36 n.10 (2000), allows adequate time in which to file a gatekeeper petition, or whether a different period of time is warranted; and whether a "locked" or "packaged plea" offer, which made the offer of a plea contingent on its acceptance by all codefendants, violated the defendant's right to due process.

Ryan J. Welter, M.D. vs. Board of Registration of Medicine

Whether regulations that prohibit "[a]dvertising that is false, deceptive, or misleading," 243 Code Mass. Regs. § 2.07(11)(a)(1), and "[p]racticing medicine deceitfully, or engaging in conduct which has the capacity to deceive or defraud," 243 Code Mass. Regs. § 1.03(5)(a)(10), incorporate the common law fraud requirements of knowledge, intent, materiality, and reliance.

Martin El Koussa & others vs. Attorney General & others

With respect to two initiative petitions the Attorney General designated Initiative Petition 21-11 and Initiative 21-12 entitled "A Law Defining and Regulating the Contract-Based Relationship between Network Companies and App-Based Drivers," whether the Attorney General erred in certifying the initiative petitions as compliant with amend. art. 48 of the Massachusetts Constitution, and whether the summaries of those initiative petitions comply with amend. art. 48 of the Massachusetts Constitution. 

Christopher R. Anderson & others vs. Attorney General & others

With respect to a proposed legislative amendment to the Massachusetts Constitution entitled "Proposal for a legislative amendment to the Constitution to provide resources for education and transportation through an additional tax on incomes in excess of one million dollars," whether the Attorney General's summary of the proposed legislative amendment is a "fair" summary, and whether the one-sentence "yes statement" describing the effect of a vote in favor of the proposed legislative amendment is "fair and neutral." 

Lory-San Clark & others vs. Attorney General & others

With respect to an initiative petition the Attorney General designated as Initiative Petition 21-13 entitled "Initiative Petition for a Law to Implement Medical Loss Ratios for Dental Benefit Plans," whether the Attorney General erred in certifying the initiative petition as compliant with amend. art. 48 of the Massachusetts Constitution.

March 2022

Commonwealth vs. Jerome Jarrett

Whether the rule established in Crayton v. Commonwealth, 470 Mass. 228 (2014), that where an eyewitness has not participated before trial in an identification procedure the in-court identification is treated as an in-court showup and will not be admitted in evidence unless there is "good reason" to do so applies in contexts other than a criminal trial, e.g., at a probation revocation hearing.

City of Boston vs. Quincy Conservation Commission

Where the city of Boston applied to the Quincy Conservation Commission for an order of conditions in connection with the city of Boston's plan to replace the superstructure of the Long Island Bridge over Boston Harbor and Quincy Bay; and where the Quincy Conservation Commission denied the application on the basis that the proposed project will have an adverse impact on wetlands and does not comply with the Quincy Wetlands Protection Ordinance, whether the relevant provisions of the ordinance are more stringent than the relevant provisions of the Wetlands Protection Act; whether, even if the provisions of the ordinance are more stringent than the act, the project meets those requirements.

Commonwealth vs. Christian Edwards

1. Whether the rules of professional conduct permit, prohibit, or require a criminal defense attorney to disclose – in response to a question by the judge at a pretrial conference – the defense’s intention to raise a certain issue at trial (viz., alleged failure in the service of an abuse prevention order).

2. Whether the judge erred in dismissing the complaint with prejudice, after jury empanelment, based on the Commonwealth’s failure to produce the correct, or complete, return of service, where, the Commonwealth claims, the discrepancy resulted from an inadvertent, easily correctable mistake, the police report that was produced in discovery had the correct information, and the defendant therefore suffered no prejudice.

3. Whether the prohibition against double jeopardy bars a retrial in these circumstances, given the dismissal with prejudice after jeopardy had attached; or whether, as the Commonwealth claims, there is no double jeopardy barrier because jeopardy did not result in acquittal, and the defense attorney sandbagged the prosecutor by not acknowledging at the pretrial conference, when asked, that the defense intended to make the date of service an issue at trial.

James B. Carver vs. Carol A. Mici & another

Whether the Commissioner of the Department of Correction properly denied the plaintiff’s petition for medical parole on the ground that he did not have a “permanent incapacitation” within the meaning of G. L. c. 127, § 119A; whether the commissioner properly considered (1) the plaintiff’s ability to perform basic functions independently, (2) the seriousness of the plaintiff’s offenses and the plaintiff’s ability to carry out similar acts, and (3) the plaintiff’s involvement in a recent “use of force” incident, as demonstrating that he did not have a condition that was so debilitating that he did not pose a public safety risk.

Nathanael Perez vs. Department of State Police

Whether, under G. L. c. 30, § 59, the plaintiff is entitled to be compensated for pay and other benefits lost during his suspension from State employment due to pending indictments, where the indictments were eventually dismissed; whether the judge correctly ruled that the Department of State Police properly denied such compensation on the ground that the plaintiff was suspended not pursuant to § 59, but pursuant to the department’s rules and regulations.

January 2022

Commonwealth vs. William Tate

Where a lawyer receives evidence from a third party that incriminates the lawyer's client, whether the information is "confidential" for purposes of Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.6; whether the lawyer has an obligation to disclose that information to the Commonwealth.   

Veronica Archer & others vs. Grubhub Holdings, Inc.

Where § 1 of the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. § 1 et seq., provides that the act does not apply to contracts of employment of  "workers engaged in . . . interstate commerce" and where delivery drivers for an online and mobile food ordering and delivery service, such as Grubhub, sometimes deliver prepackaged food items or non-food items that have traveled through interstate commerce, whether the delivery drivers are workers engaged in interstate commerce and therefore exempt from the act.

Joseph O’Leary vs. Public Retirement Administration Board & others.

Whether the Superior Court erred in concluding that the “vacation buyback” payments received by the plaintiff did not meet the statutory definition of “regular compensation” under G. L. c. 32, § 1, and therefore were properly excluded from the calculation of the plaintiff’s retirement allowance; and, if this court were to affirm the judgment of the Superior Court, whether the legal rule it establishes should apply prospectively only.

December 2021


Whether, where a parent objects to conducting a virtual trial to determine whether to terminate parental rights, via Zoom or a similar platform, conducting the trial virtually constitutes a per se violation of a parent's due process rights or whether, with adequate safeguards, a termination trial may be held virtually, regardless whether a parent requests an in-person trial.

Bask, Inc. vs. Municipal Council of the City of Taunton

Whether the Land Court, in order to protect the interests of the plaintiff in a zoning appeal then pending before the court, has the authority temporarily to enjoin a municipal licensing authority from conducting hearings or awarding licenses to other entities for recreational marijuana dispensaries in the municipality; whether, pursuant to G. L. c. 40A, § 17, the Land Court, in order to give meaning and effect to a decision in a zoning appeal and to protect the interests of the prevailing litigant, has the authority to order a municipal licensing authority to consider a particular license application at a particular licensing hearing.

John Doe vs. Roman Catholic Bishop of Springfield, a corporation sole, & others

Whether, under the doctrine of present execution, an interlocutory appeal lies from the denial of the defendants’ motion to dismiss a complaint alleging that the plaintiff was sexually abused by Roman Catholic clergy in the 1960s and that the defendants mishandled its investigation after the plaintiff reported the alleged abuse in 2014, where the defendants contend that each of the plaintiff’s claims should be dismissed either on the ground of common law charitable immunity (i.e., prior to the enactment of G. L. c. 231, § 85K) or on the ground that the First Amendment deprives the court of subject matter jurisdiction to consider internal church matters.

If the appeal is proper, whether the judge properly ruled that the plaintiff’s claims were not barred by common law charitable immunity or by the First Amendment.

Commonwealth vs. Michael Eagles

Where the defendant was convicted of murder in the first degree by reason of extreme atrocity or cruelty and felony-murder, see Commonwealth v. Eagles, 419 Mass. 825 (1995), and he appeals from the denial of his motion for a new trial, whether there is a substantial risk that hair comparison evidence probably would have been a real factor in the jury deliberations as to whether the defendant participated in beating the victim, and whether he had the necessary intent to commit an armed robbery and knowledge that another participant was armed with a dangerous weapon.

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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Case & Procedures Coordinator Ismael Castillo (617) 557-1191
Assistant Case and Procedures Coordinator Uchenna Amogu (617) 557-1119


Clerk Francis V. Kenneally
Assistant Clerk Maura A. Looney
Case & Procedures Coordinator Ismael Castillo
Assistant Case and Procedures Coordinator Uchenna Amogu


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