Amicus Announcements from September 2023 to August 2024

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.

July 2024

SJC-13625
Impounded

Whether and to what extent a continuance without a finding sufficed to establish a “first offense” for purposes of G. L. c. 119, § 52, where it did not enter after trial or after a plea to delinquency.  See Wallace W. v. Commonwealth, 482 Mass. 789, 800 n.4 (2019).

SJC-13624      
Matthew Theisz vs. Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority

Whether the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is immune from suit under G. L. c. 258, § 10 (j), for claims of negligent hiring, training, supervising, and retaining a public employee who allegedly committed an assault and battery on the plaintiff.

June 2024

SJC-13616           
Commonwealth vs. Dasahn Crowder

  1. Whether the defendant is entitled to be acquitted of carrying a firearm without a license where the Commonwealth did not prove that he lacked a valid firearms license and the case was tried after the United States Supreme Court decided New York State Rifle & Pistol Ass’n v. Bruen, 142 S. Ct. 2111 (2002), or whether the defendant may be retried on that charge.
  2. Whether, in light of Bruen, the police had (a) reasonable suspicion that the defendant was armed and dangerous, justifying a patfrisk, and (2) probable cause to believe he possessed the firearm unlawfully, justifying its seizure.

The case will be paired with No. SJC-13592, Natnael Zemene vs. Commonwealth, for oral argument.

SJC-13614      
Impounded

Whether G. L. c. 276, § 100K (a) (2), permits the expungement of records resulting from the juvenile's delinquency charges, which charges were based on alleged conduct that occurred when the juvenile was under 12 years old, on the ground that subsequent amendments to G. L. c. 119, § 52, excluded children under 12 years old from the definition of "[d]elinquent child."  See St. 2018, c. 69, § 72.

SJC-13515      
Commonwealth vs. Daniel Spaulding

Where G. L. c. 268A, §§ 23 (b) (2) (ii) and 26, provisions of the Commonwealth's conflict-of-interest law that taken together criminalize knowingly, and with "fraudulent intent," using one's official position to secure "unwarranted privileges or exemptions" with "a fair market value in the aggregate of more than $1,000" in a twelve month period; and where the terms "unwarranted privilege" and "fraudulent intent" are not defined within the statute, whether the statute is unconstitutionally vague as applied.

SJC-13617      
TJR Services LLC vs. William L. Hutchinson & Deanna Hutchinson 

Where, after a foreclosure, a party obtains a judgment of ownership in the Land Court against the former homeowner; where the former homeowner appeals from the Land Court judgment; and where the new owner then commences a summary process action in the Housing Court while the Land Court appeal is pending, whether the Housing Court has the authority to order use and occupancy payments on the basis of the Land Court judgment.

SJC-13613      
Cumberland Farms, Inc. vs. Town of Braintree Board of Health                                       

 Whether, as the Superior Court concluded, the Town of Braintree Board of Health was authorized to impose a $1000 fine administratively on the plaintiff -- pursuant to local regulations, Department of Public Health regulations, and G. L. c. 270, § 28 (g) -- for violation of the prohibition against the “offer[ing] for sale” of a “flavored tobacco product,” set forth in G. L. c. 270, § 28 (b); or whether, as the plaintiff contends, the board was limited to seeking a criminal complaint or non-criminal disposition pursuant to G. L. c. 40, § 21D, in connection with such a violation.

May 2024

SJC-13609      
John Schneider & others vs. Attorney General & another

SJC-13610      
Max Page & others vs. Attorney General & another

Whether the title and one-sentence yes/no statement prepared by the Attorney General and Secretary of the Commonwealth for Initiative Petition No. 23-36, “A Law Requiring that Districts Certify that Students Have Mastered the Skills, Competencies and Knowledge of the State Standards as a Replacement for the MCAS Graduation Requirement,” are fair and neutral, not misleading, and meet the requirements of G. L. c. 54, § 53. These cases have been paired for consideration and have been expedited.  Amicus briefs are due no later than June 10, 2024.

SJC-13598          
Impounded

Whether a police officer could properly testify as a lay witness about the extraction of photographs and other data from a cell phone, or whether such testimony must be presented by a qualified expert witness.

SJC-13597          
Commonwealth vs. Gerson Pascual-Santana

Whether the district court erred in denying the defendant's motion for a new trial and in denying in part the defendant's motion for post-conviction discovery, including:  whether the district attorney satisfied his duty to investigate misconduct between the trial judge and a prosecutor alleged in an anonymous letter; whether the district attorney permissibly relied on an investigation conducted by the Executive Office of the Trial Court (EOTC) in discharging any such duty; whether the district court abused its discretion in denying the defendant's request for discovery of materials from the EOTC's investigation to the extent relevant, exculpatory, and solely in the possession of the EOTC.

SJC-13599     
Commonwealth vs. Shondell Rateree                                       

  1. Whether the trial judge’s refusal to admit evidence of prior specific acts of violence committed by the alleged victim pursuant to Commonwealth v. Adjutant, 443 Mass. 649 (2005), was an abuse of discretion and a violation of the defendant's constitutional right to present a defense, where there was evidence that the defendant was acting in self-defense and/or in defense of another, and there was evidence that the alleged victim was the first to use deadly force.
  2. Whether there was sufficient evidence to convict the defendant of misleading the police.

SJC-13600                 
Commonwealth vs. Anthony Govan

Where a defendant is subject to GPS monitoring as a condition of pretrial release, whether the defendant has a reasonable expectation of privacy in any of the GPS data such that police use of that data for purposes of a new criminal investigation violates the defendant’s constitutional rights.

SJC-13601     
Department of Children & Families vs. Mother et al

Whether the Juvenile Court erred in denying a media company’s motion for relief from impoundment, seeking access to various audio recordings of Juvenile Court proceedings in a high-profile care and protection case, on the basis that (1) the movant failed to demonstrate good cause under Rule 7 of the Uniform Rules of Impoundment and Care & Protection of M.C., 479 Mass. 246 (2018), and (2) disclosure of the requested audio recordings to the movant would also violate Juvenile Court Standing Order 2-09 § 6(B)(6), which prohibits the use of sound recordings “for a commercial purpose, for public or private entertainment or amusement, or any other purpose detrimental to the administration of justice.”

SJC-13594     
Commonwealth  vs. Terrance Montgomery

Whether the trial judge erred in denying the defendant's motion for a new trial based on his challenge to a voir dire question, which asked juror whether they would be able to convict somebody of a serious crime based solely on eyewitness testimony; including (1) whether the voir dire question was improper; and (2) if so, what showing of prejudice, if any, was the defendant required to make in order to be entitled to relief.

SJC-13595     
Commonwealth vs. Arickson Cruz

Whether the defendant's conviction for threatening to commit a crime, in violation of G. L. c. 275, § 2, must be vacated in light of the Supreme Court's recent holding in Counterman v. Colorado, 600 U.S. 66 (2023), issued during the pendency of the defendant's appeal.

March 2024

SJC-13580     
Attorney General vs. Town of Milton and Joe Atchue, in his official capacity

Whether and to what extent municipalities are obligated to comply with the requirements of G. L. c. 40A, § 3A (a) and (c), and the related "Compliance Guidelines for Multi-family Zoning Districts Under Section 3A of the Zoning Act," issued by what is now the Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities, including (1) whether G. L. c. 40A, § 3A (b), provides the sole remedy for noncompliance, and (2) whether and to what extent the Attorney General’s office is authorized and has standing to enforce compliance with § 3A.

SJC-13579      
Matter of: Trusts u/w of Helyn Kline for Denise Jo Levy

Whether the Probate and Family Court erred in allowing the trustee-respondents’ motion for summary judgment on a general trust petition, including:  (1) whether the co-trustee was entitled to exercise the power to adjust between principal and income, pursuant to G. L. c. 203D, §§ 3 and 4, or otherwise, under the terms of the testamentary trust; and (2) if the co-trustee was so authorized, whether there was a dispute of material fact as to whether the co-trustee’s exercise of the power to adjust constituted an abuse of discretion.

SJC-13577     
Steven Luppold v. Susan Hanlon, R. N., et al

Whether, and if so, to what extent, the trial judge in this multi-defendant medical malpractice case abused his discretion by precluding the defendant-appellant from cross-examining a codefendant as to potential bias arising from a “high-low” agreement that the codefendant had entered into with the plaintiff.

SJC-13572     
Paul D. Craney et al v. Andrea J. Campbell, Attorney General et al

Whether the Attorney General properly certified Initiative Petition 23-35, “An Act Giving Transportation Network Drivers the Option to Form a Union and Bargain Collectively.”

SJC-13559      
Martin El Koussa & others vs. Attorney General & another

Whether the Attorney General properly certified the following initiative petitions and whether her summaries thereof complied with the requirements of article 48: Initiative Petitions No. 23-25, “A Law Defining and Regulating the Relationship Between Network Companies and App-Based Drivers for Purposes of the General and Special Laws – Version B”; No. 23-29, “A Law Establishing that App-Based Drivers Are Not Employees, and Network Companies Are Not Employers, for Certain Purposes of the General Laws – Version F”; No. 23-30, “A Law Defining and Regulating the Relationship Between Network Companies and App-Based Drivers for Certain Purposes of the General Laws – Version G”; No. 23-31, “A Law Defining and Regulating the Relationship Between Network Companies and App-Based Drivers for Certain Purposes of the General Laws – Version H”; and No. 23-32, “A Law Establishing that App-Based Drivers Are Not Employees, and Network Companies Are Not Employers, for Certain Purposes of the General Laws – Version I.”

SJC-13560       
Stephen Clark & others vs. Attorney General & another

Whether the Attorney General properly certified Initiative Petition 23-12, “An Initiative Petition for a Law Requiring the Full Minimum Wage for Tipped Workers with Tips on Top.”

February 2024

SJC-13557     
Commonwealth vs. Thanh Du

Whether audiovisual recordings made by an undercover police officer using a cell phone constitute unlawful interceptions under G. L. c. 272, § 99, and if so, whether their audio and video components must both be suppressed.

SJC-13558          
George Mackie vs. Robert Joss

Whether a qualified examiner under G. L. c. 123A, § 1, is immune from suit for conduct within the scope of his statutory duties, or whether he is entitled to qualified immunity, depending on the circumstances.

Whether the litigation privilege immunizes a qualified examiner from suit for his trial testimony. (Note that this case will be argued with SJC-13554, George Mackie vs. Katrin Rouse-Weir). 

SJC-13354     
George Mackie vs. Katrin Rouse-Weir

Whether a clinical and forensic psychologist hired by a district attorney to assess whether a person was a sexually dangerous person within the meaning of G. L. c. 123A, § 1, is entitled to absolute quasi judicial immunity for her conduct, or whether she is entitled to qualified immunity, depending on the circumstances.  (Note that this case will be argued with SJC-13558, George Mackie vs. Robert Joss). 

SJC-13568          
Susan Hartnett vs. Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission & others

Whether the so-called “anti-spiking” provision of G. L. c. 32, § 5 (2) (a), 2nd sentence, which alters a public employee’s retirement allowance “if, in the 5 years of creditable service immediately preceding retirement, the difference in the annual rate of regular compensation between any 2 consecutive years exceeds 100 percent,” applies where a public employee leaves public employment and returns some years later at a higher salary, such that the employee’s salary increased by more than 100 percent between two of the last five years of creditable service, but where those years are not two consecutive calendar years; and whether the anti-spiking provision applies where the public employee returned to public service at the increased salary before the anti-spiking provision was enacted.

SJC-13555     
Bruce Johnson vs. Caroline Settino

Where an engagement to marry is terminated, and where Massachusetts courts currently apply a conditional gift fault-based approach in determining whether an engagement ring should be returned to the donor, pursuant to De Cicco v. Barker, 39 Mass. 457 (1959),  whether the court should continue to apply that rule or adopt a new rule, and if so, what rule should the court adopt. 

SJC-13564     
Tenant’s Development Corp. & another vs. AMTAX Holdings 227, LLC & others

Where the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program, 26 U.S.C. § 42 et seq., provides in § 42 (i) (7), that, in connection with a right-of-first-refusal, the purchase price must include “all Federal, State, and local taxes attributable to such sale,” what taxes are deemed “attributable to” the sale, e.g., do taxes resulting from a limited partner’s “exit” from the partnership that was created for purposes of the LIHTC program constitute taxes “attributable to” the sale.

SJC-13561      
Commonwealth vs. Dean F. Donnell, Jr. &
SJC-13562      
Commonwealth vs. Phillip Marquis

Whether the district court judge erred in concluding pursuant to New York State Rifle & Pistol Ass'n v. Bruen, 597 U.S. 1, 10 (2022), that G. L. c. 269, § 10 (a), and G. L. c. 140, § 131F, violated the defendants' constitutional rights to equal protection and interstate travel, as well as their rights under the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, where the defendants were non-residents of Massachusetts charged in Massachusetts with carrying a firearm without a license, where the defendants could legally possess a firearm in their home State, and where there is no evidence that they applied for any license pursuant to the Massachusetts firearms licensing laws.

SJC-13563     
Jeffrey Frank Cubberley & another vs. Commerce Insurance Company                               

Whether the Superior Court erred in allowing the defendant’s motion to dismiss, including:  whether Part 4 of the Massachusetts 2016 Standard Auto Policy excludes coverage of  the “inherent diminished value” (IDV) damages sought by the plaintiffs; and if so, whether this exclusion is legally permissible, or whether, as the plaintiffs argue, the Commissioner of Insurance exceeded his authority in approving the exclusion because coverage of IDV damages is mandated by G. L. c. 90, § 34O. 

SJC-13566     
Impounded

Whether the Juvenile Court erred in denying the juvenile’s post-verdict motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under G. L. c. 119, § 52, and G. L. c. 218, § 60, where a jury at the juvenile’s request was instructed on, and found him delinquent of only, a lesser-included misdemeanor offense with a maximum penalty of six months in jail or a house of correction (minor misdemeanor), and the juvenile had no prior delinquency record.

SJC-13567     
Bodge vs. Commonwealth

Does Section 2(f) of the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act, G. L. c. 175M, §§ 1-11, provide that state employees covered by the Act shall accrue seniority, length-of-service credit, vacation time and sick time while they are on family or medical leave?

SJC-13547     
Commonwealth vs. Richard Dilworth, Jr.

Whether the Superior Court abused its discretion, either:  in ordering the Commonwealth to disclose the user icons/bitmojis and usernames that Boston police used to monitor Snapchat accounts during a certain time period, and/or in dismissing the indictments against the defendant as a sanction for the Commonwealth’s noncompliance with the discovery order, including:  (1) whether the framework set forth in Commonwealth v. Long, 485 Mass. 711 (2020), for assessing a defendant’s claim of racial profiling with regard to traffic stops, and later extended to pedestrian stops in Commonwealth v. Robinson-Van Rader, 492 Mass. 1 (2023), applies to police surveillance of individuals’ social media activity; (2) if so, what threshold showing a defendant must make to demonstrate that a request for discovery is material and relevant to establishing a selective enforcement claim concerning police investigation tactics on social media; and (3) whether the requested information in this case was shielded from disclosure under this court’s precedents protecting confidential police investigatory information such as surveillance locations.

SJC-13548     
Commonwealth vs. Thomas Mercado

Whether the defendant is entitled to a new trial for murder in the first degree due to newly developed scientific evidence on the issue of eyewitness identification.

January 2024

SJC-13535     
Zurich American Insurance Company & another vs. Medical Properties Trust, Inc. & others

Whether rainwater that lands and accumulates on either (i) a building’s second-floor outdoor rooftop courtyard or (ii) a building’s parapet roof and that subsequently inundates the interior of the building unambiguously constitutes “surface waters” under Massachusetts law for the purposes of the insurance policies at issue in this case.

SJC-13541     
S&H Independent Premium Brands East, LLC & another vs. Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission

Whether the ABCC properly determined that, as entities that are not licensed wholesalers under G. L. c. 138, § 18, the plaintiffs were not entitled to apply for relief under G. L. c. 138, § 25E, from their supplier’s termination of their distribution contract; whether the ABCC’s interpretation of § 25E to exclude out-of-State holders of certificates of compliance under G. L. c. 138, § 18B, violates the dormant commerce clause.

SJC-13542     
Kathleen Vita vs. New England Baptist Hospital & another                                 

Whether the Superior Court erred in denying the defendants' motions to dismiss the complaints in the underlying putative class actions, which allege violations of the Massachusetts Wiretap Act, G. L. c. 272, § 99, including:  whether an individual's browsing activity on a publicly-available website generates one or more "wire communications" as defined under G. L. c. 272, § 99; if so, whether the plaintiffs have plausibly alleged that the defendants "intercepted" such wire communications, in violation of the Wiretap Act, by using website analytics and advertising software that collects user data; and whether the plaintiffs have standing to bring such a claim.

SJC-13540     
Commonwealth vs. Carlos M. Rodriguez

1. Where a defendant was sentenced to a term of probation that included the mandatory imposition of GPS monitoring, prior to Commonwealth v. Feliz, 481 Mass. 689 (2019), whether this court should establish a uniform procedure for providing the defendant, and others similarly situated, with a means by which to obtain an individualized hearing to determine whether imposition of the condition was reasonable.  

2. Whether the trial court erred in placing the burden on the defendant to file a motion to vacate the illegal condition, and in subjecting the defendant to GPS monitoring pending resolution of the motion to vacate; whether the Commonwealth met its burden to show that imposition of GPS monitoring was reasonable; and whether the motion judge exceeded his authority and/or violated principles of double jeopardy by imposing additional exclusion zones not imposed at the defendant's original sentencing hearing.

SJC-13544     
IMPOUNDED

In what manner, if any, the defense of lack of criminal responsibility applies to probation violation proceedings, including as a defense to the violation and as a consideration at the dispositional stage.

SJC-13521     
Conservation Law Foundation & others vs. Energy Facilities Siting Board

Whether the Energy Facilities Siting Board properly approved a petition and application for a Certificate of Environmental Impact and Public Interest in connection with the proposed construction of an electric substation in East Boston.

SJC-13534     
Camila Davalos & others vs. Baywatch Inc. d/b/a Club Alex’s Adult Entertainment

Under what circumstances, if any, material publicly posted to social media platforms is “inherently unknowable” for purposes of applying the discovery rule in the context of defamation, right of publicity, right to privacy, and related tort claims.

December 2023

SJC-13533                 
IMPOUNDED

Whether an admission to sufficient facts associated with a continuance without a finding can establish a first offense for purposes of G. L. c. 119, § 52, such that a prearraignment hearing pursuant to Wallace W. v. Commonwealth, 482 Mass. 789 (2019), would be unnecessary, where the admission to sufficient facts and the continuance without a finding were not made and entered after a verdict or plea of delinquency.

SJC-13526
William Shoucair & another vs. Christine Araujo & others

Where the court held in Marengi v. 6 Forest Rd., LLC, 491 Mass. 19 (2022), that a court should not require an appeal bond pursuant to G. L. c. 40A, § 17, unless the appeal appears to be in bad faith, whether a court considering an appeal from a decision of the Boston Zoning Board of Appeals pursuant to St. 1956 c. 665, § 11, must proceed similarly, or whether, even where there is no finding of bad faith, the court may nonetheless impose a bond on the basis of the specific language of St. 1956 c. 665, § 11.

SJC-13528, SJC-13529, SJC-13530
Commonwealth vs. Markeese Mitchell (and two companion cases)   

Whether the defendants are entitled to a new trial on the ground that a juror, when asked if any member of her household or family had been arrested or convicted of a crime, knowingly failed to disclose her half-brother’s criminal conviction because she believed that this information was not relevant.

SJC-13531
Commonwealth vs. Maryann Russo

Whether there is probable cause to charge the defendant with violating the animal cruelty statute, G. L. c. 272, § 77, where she allegedly “knowingly and willfully authorize[d] or permit[ted]” her terminally ill dog “to be subjected to unnecessary torture, suffering or cruelty of any kind” by failing to alleviate the dog’s pain resulting from its ailments.

SJC-13527
Commonwealth vs. Scott Morrison

Where G. L. c. 265, § 26, third par., provides that "[w]hoever commits any offense described in this section while armed with a dangerous weapon and inflicts serious bodily injury thereby upon another person or who sexually assaults such person shall be punished" (emphasis added), whether, on the basis of the word "thereby," the statute requires that the "serious bodily injury" be inflicted with the dangerous weapon used for the kidnapping or that the "serious bodily injury" occurred during the kidnapping regardless of how the serious bodily injury was inflicted.

SJC-13523     
Commonwealth vs. Thomas Miele

Whether attempted murder in violation of G. L. c. 265, § 16, is a "felony offense that has as an element of the offense the use, attempted use or threatened use of physical force against the person of another," permitting the Commonwealth to move for pretrial detention based on dangerousness pursuant to G. L. c. 276, § 58A (1).

November 2023

SJC-13513
Rosanna Garcia & others vs. Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities

Whether the “Immediate Placement Clause,” see St. 2023, c. 28, line item 7004-0101, bars the Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities from denying emergency shelter to a homeless family based on the family's inability to produce, at the time of applying for shelter, third-party verification of family relationship or identity.

SJC-13515
IMPOUNDED

Where G. L. c. 123, § 16 (e), provides that "[a]ny person committed to a facility under the provisions of this section may be restricted in his movements to the buildings and grounds of the facility at which he is committed by the court which ordered the commitment;" and where the statute does not include the standard that a court must apply in determining whether an individual, once committed, should be restricted to the “building and grounds,” whether the statute violates due process and is unconstitutional.

SJC-13514
Holly T. Freiner vs. Marylou Sudders & another

Whether 42 U.S.C. § 1396r-5(c)(3) and 130 Code Mass. Regs. § 517.011 permit MassHealth and the Commonwealth’s Office of Medicaid Board of Hearings to deny long-term care benefits to an institutionalized spouse, who has assigned to MassHealth his rights to support from a community spouse, on the basis of a determination that the community spouse’s refusal to cooperate is not genuine.

October 2023

SJC-13499          
Commonwealth vs. Victor Arrington

1. Where a trial court order on a motion in limine acts to exclude evidence, whether, and if so in what circumstances, a request for interlocutory review of the order proceeds pursuant to Mass. R. Crim. P. 15, as if the order had been on a motion to suppress evidence, with the concomitant automatic stays provided for in rule 15; or whether a request for interlocutory review of such an order proceeds pursuant to G. L. c. 211, § 3.

2. Where the Commonwealth sought, in a motion in limine, to introduce into evidence the defendant's cell phone's "Frequent Location History" (FLH), whether, for purposes of admitting scientific or technical evidence pursuant to ­Daubert-Lanigan, the Commonwealth demonstrated that the FLH is sufficiently reliable; and whether the Commonwealth's witness who testified regarding the FLH evidence was qualified to testify as an expert.  

SJC-13507         
Business Interiors Floor Covering Business Trust vs. Graycor Construction Co., Inc.

Where G. L. c. 149, § 29E, the Prompt Pay Act, requires certain contracts for construction projects to "provide reasonable time periods" relative to the application for, and payment of, periodic payments; and where a general contractor fails to comply with the time periods set forth in an agreement with a subcontractor, whether the Prompt Pay Act precludes the general contractor from asserting common law affirmative defenses to a breach of contract claim based on the failure to pay.                                     

SJC-13505          
Commonwealth vs. A Juvenile

Whether, upon re-sentencing of a juvenile non-murder defendant pursuant to Commonwealth v. Perez, 477 Mass. 466 (2017), it is constitutional for the court to impose a sentence that includes a probationary term that would expose the defendant to an aggregate of more than fifteen years of parole-ineligible incarceration in the event of a probation violation.

SJC-13506          
Commonwealth vs. Nelson Barros

Whether, under article 12 of the Declaration of Rights, the plea judge was obligated to conduct a colloquy with the defendant before accepting his waiver of his right to counsel prior to his guilty plea.

SJC-13485          
Dhananjay Patel & others vs. 7-Eleven, Inc. & others

Whether franchisees “perform[] any service” for the franchisor within the meaning of G. L. c. 149, § 148B, where, as here, the franchisees perform various contractual obligations under the Franchise Agreement and the franchisor receives a percentage of the franchise’s gross profits.

September 2023

SJC-13497     
Raymond Frechette & another vs. Elizabeth D'Andrea

1. May or must a trial court judge, in a case involving an indigent party for whom the appeal bond has been waived, order ongoing use and occupancy payments pending appeal otherwise permitted or required by G. L. c. 239, § 5(e), to be waived, substituted, or paid by the Commonwealth as an "extra fee or cost" under the indigent court costs law, G. L. c. 261, §§ 27A - 27G?

 2. May a trial court judge order a defendant in a summary process action, for whom the appeal bond has been waived, to pay ongoing use and occupancy pending appeal pursuant to G. L. c. 239, § 5(e), in an amount that exceeds the defendant's ability to pay without violating that party's due process, equal protection, or Art. 11 rights?

SJC-13491     
Boston Teachers Union, Local 66, American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO vs. Boston School Committee

Whether, under G. L. c. 150C, § 10, a party has a right to confirmation of an arbitration award, regardless of whether a present dispute as to the award has been alleged.

SJC-13496     
Commonwealth vs. A Juvenile

Whether a State prison sentence imposed by a Juvenile Court judge following a juvenile’s adjudication as a youthful offender is a “sentence which may be reviewed” by the Appellate Division of the Superior Court, pursuant to G. L. c. 278, §§ 28A-28C, or otherwise, and if not, whether the appellate court may consider whether a particular sentence is excessively short or long compared to other defendants’ sentences for the same or similar offenses, see Walsh v. Commonwealth, 358 Mass. 193, 201 (1970), or may otherwise review the juvenile’s sentence for abuse of discretion or error of law.

SJC-13490     
William Good vs. Uber Technologies, Inc. & others

1. Whether the motion judge properly denied the defendants' motion to stay and compel arbitration on the ground that the purported online contract for services provided by defendant Uber Technologies, Inc., which was presented to the plaintiff in April 2021, required clicking a checkbox, and contained the arbitration provisions at issue, did not comply with the requirements of Kauders v. Uber Technologies, Inc., 486 Mass. 557 (2021), for the formation of an online contract.

2. Whether the motion judge erred in concluding that there was no evidence that the plaintiff had actual notice of the terms of the purported online contract, where he clicked a checkbox next to a statement that he had reviewed them, including whether and to what extent the defendants raised this argument in the motion to stay and compel arbitration and whether it was waived.

SJC-13489     
Outfront Media, LLC vs. Board of Assessors of Boston

1. Whether the Appellate Tax Board erred in concluding that the appellant, a third-party contractor who manages billboards on behalf of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), "used" MBTA real property in connection with a for-profit business, within the meaning of G. L. c. 161A, § 24, second para., where the appellant entered into contracts with advertisers, posted and maintained advertisements on the billboards, and passed along a share of the gross advertising revenue to the MBTA, along with a minimum annual payment, while remaining subject to MBTA oversight and restrictions.

2. Whether the Appellate Tax Board erred in granting the assessors' motion for partial summary judgment in the absence of evidence as to whether, or to what extent, taxing the appellant negatively impacts the MBTA's ability to generate revenue from the billboards, so as to constitute unlawful interference with an essential governmental function.

SJC-13495     
Commonwealth vs. Quasim L. Hastings                                  

Whether the Superior Court erred in denying the defendant's postconviction motion for funds to pay for a social services advocate to assist him with his upcoming parole hearing, where the defendant is indigent and mentally disabled; including, whether the court erred in concluding that it lacked authority to order such funds pursuant to G. L. c. 261, §§ 27B-27C, on the basis that a parole hearing does not constitute "any civil, criminal or juvenile proceeding or appeal in any court," within the meaning of § 27B.

SJC-13492     
IMPOUNDED and

SJC-13493     
IMPOUNDED                              

Whether, either as a matter of statutory interpretation or as a matter of due process, commitment pursuant to G. L. c. 123, § 35, requires that every element of the statutory criteria be supported by expert testimony, or whether, as occurred here, the court may rely on evidence other than expert testimony to conclude that one or more of the statutory criteria has been met.

SJC-13494     
IMPOUNDED

Whether, under G. L. c. 119, § 26, a Juvenile Court judge has the authority to close a care and protection case, where one parent has been found unfit and the child is placed in the permanent custody of the other parent, who is a fit parent and as to whom there are no protective concerns, or whether the care and protection case must remain open until the fit parent obtains a custody order from another court.

Contact   for Amicus Announcements from September 2023 to August 2024

Help Us Improve Mass.gov  with your feedback

Please do not include personal or contact information.
Feedback