Select Massachusetts and federal court cases for "law about" pages: G-I

Includes case law, selected and curated by the Trial Court law librarians, on popular legal topics.

Table of Contents

Gambling and casinos

Gender identity or expression

Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, 140 S. Ct. 1731 (2020)
The US Supreme Court held that "an employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender violates Title VII [of the Civil Rights Act of 1964]."

Doe v. Mass. Dept. of Correction, U.S. Dist. Ct. Mass, CIVIL ACTION NO. 17-12255-RGS (2018) 
"Jane Doe is a 53-year old transgender woman serving a three- to four-year sentence at MCI-Norfolk for a nonviolent drug offense. ...Although Doe’s GD diagnosis is not disputed, the DOC has housed Doe at MCI-Norfolk, a men’s prison, since October 31, 2016." After a detailed discussion of the treatment of Gender Dysphoria in the ADA, and constitutional issues, the Court denied the Dept. of Correction's motion to dismiss. "As may be apparent from this decision, the court is of the view that Doe may very well prevail on her ADA and Equal Protection claims." 

Doe v. Yunits et al, 15 Mass. Law Reporter 278  (2001)
A student with gender identity disorder is not excluded from the definition of "qualified handicapped individual" under the Article CXIV of the Declaration of Rights of the Massachusetts Constitution. Further, requiring Doe to dress in boy's clothing may be considered "a constructive expulsion [if Doe] could not comply with these conditions without endangering her mental health."

Jette v. Honey Farms Mini Market, 23 MDLR 229 (2001)
"Discrimination against transsexuals because of their transsexuality is discrimination based on 'sex' within the meaning of M.G.L. c. 151B," and transsexuality is not "excluded from the definition of 'disability' as a matter of law."

Kosilek v. Spencer, 774 F.3d. 63 (2014) 
Under the 8th Amendment, the DOC's choice of a particular medical treatment--which included hormone therapy, facial and body hair removal, and the prisoner's ability to have access, and to dress in, feminine attire and make-up--was not constitutionally inadequate, and the district court improperly issued an injunction requiring provision of an alternative treatment--surgery--which would have given rise to new concerns related to safety and prison security.

Lie v. Sky Publishing Corp., 15 Mass. Law Reporter 412 (2002)
Outlines the difference between transsexual, transgender, and other terms. The plaintiff, a transgender female, established a prima facie case of sex discrimination under MGL c.151B, and discrimination on the basis of handicap.

Millet and MCAD v. Lutco, Inc., 23 MDLR 231 (2001)
While "transsexuality" is not a "sexual orientation" as that term is defined by M.G.L. c. 151B § 3(6), "We instead hold that 'sex' discrimination, as prohibited by chapter 151B, includes a prohibition against discrimination against transsexual individuals."

Parents for Privacy vs. Barr, 949 F.3d 1210 (2020), U.S. Supreme Court cert. denied, 141 S. Ct. 894 (2020).
The U.S. Supreme Court chose not to hear an appeal of this case from Oregon that upheld a high school policy that allows transgender students to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. 

Rosa v. Park West Bank & Trust, 214 F.3d 213 (2000)
In this First Circuit case, a man who was denied a loan application because he was dressed in women's clothing had established a prima facie case of sex discrimination under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act.

Williams v. Kincaid, 45 F.4th 759 (2022)
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects transgender people from discrimination. The ADA covers “gender dysphoria” a “discomfort or distress that is caused by a discrepancy between a person's gender identity and that person's sex assigned at birth.” This case involves a transgender woman who was placed in a men’s prison where she was denied hormone therapy and suffered harassment. The ruling applies also to workplace and public accommodations.

Gig or sharing economy

Grandparents' visitation rights

Guardians and caregivers

Guns and other weapons

Chardin v. Boston Police Commissioner, 465 Mass. 314 (2013)
Massachusetts firearms licensing statute "does not infringe on a right protected by the Second Amendment" and involves a record of a felony as a delinquent child.

Chief of Police of Taunton v. Caras, 95 Mass. App. Ct. 182 (2019)
Discusses the standard of review when a court is asked to review a decision by the chief of police revoking a firearms license.

Comm. v. Buttimer, 482 Mass. 754 (2019)
A gun "need not be operational to prove either assault by means of a dangerous weapon or armed assault with intent to murder.  It is enough for assault by means of a dangerous weapon that the weapon appear dangerous to the victim of the assault; the weapon does not actually have to be operational."

Comm. v. Cassidy, 479 Mass. 527 (2018)
Large capacity. "[T]o sustain a conviction under G. L. c. 269, § 10 (m), the Commonwealth must prove that a defendant either knew the firearm or feeding device met the legal definition of "large capacity" or knew it was capable of holding more than ten rounds of ammunition." Provides a model jury instruction in the appendix.

Comm. v. Fettes, 64 Mass. App. Ct. 917 (2005)
A dog can be a dangerous weapon. "A dangerous weapon is 'any instrument or instrumentality so constructed or so used as to be likely to produce death or great bodily harm.' Commonwealth v. Farrell, 322 Mass. 606, 614-615 (1948). See also Anderson, Wharton's Criminal Law and Procedure, § 361. There can be little doubt that a dog . . . used for the purpose of intimidation or attack falls within this definition." 

Comm. v. Garcia, 82 Mass. App. Ct. 239 (2012)
Provides detailed definitions of "dirk knife" and "dagger."

Comm. vs. Garrett, 473 Mass. 257 (2015)   
“This court concluded that a BB gun is not a firearm for purposes of the armed robbery statute, G. L. c. 265, § 17.”

Comm. v. McGowan, 464 Mass. 232 (2013)
Court held that "because [the gun storage law, G.L. c.140,] § 131L (a) is consistent with the right to bear arms in self-defense in one's home and is designed to prevent those who are not licensed to possess or carry firearms from gaining access to firearms, it falls outside the scope of the Second Amendment."

Comm. v. Rodriguez, 482 Mass. 366 (2019)
Lengthy discussion of mandatory minimum sentences in GL c.269, § 10. "This court concluded that a criminal defendant who has been convicted of possession of a large capacity feeding device, in violation of G. L. c. 269, § 10 (m), lawfully may be sentenced to State prison for not less than one year nor more than two and one-half years."

Comm. v. Runyan, 456 Mass. 230 (2010)
Trigger locks or locked containers can be required. The Second Amendment isn't incorporated under the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantee of substantive due process and therefore doesn't apply to the States. Further, the General Laws c. 140, § 131L (a) can be distinguished from the law ruled unconstitutional in Heller, because "an individual with a valid firearms identification card issued under G. L. c. 140, § 129C, is not obliged to secure or render inoperable a firearm while the individual carries it or while it remains otherwise under the individual's control...; the statute therefore does not make it impossible for those persons licensed to possess firearms to rely on them for lawful self-defense."

Comm v. Stephens, 67 Mass. App. Ct. 906 (2006)
A starter pistol that doesn’t have a barrel plug or obstruction in the cylinder that would stop a projectile from passing through the barrel is a firearm.

Comm. v. Veronneau, 90 Mass. App. Ct. 477 (2016)
"The judge's finding that the defendant was guilty of carrying a loaded firearm while under the influence of intoxicating liquor was not inconsistent with the judge's finding that the defendant was not guilty of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor...A condition of probation requiring a criminal defendant to surrender his firearms during the term of his probation did not violate the defendant's constitutional right to bear arms."

District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008)
"The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home."

Fletcher v. Haas, 851 F. Supp. 2d. 287 (2012)
"[T]he Massachusetts firearms regulatory regime as applied to [lawful permanent resident aliens], contravenes the Second Amendment." Judgment entered "enjoining denial of firearm licenses and permits to [plaintiffs] solely on the basis of their permanent resident alien status."

Goudreau v. Nikas, 98 Mass. App. Ct. 266 (2020)
G.L. c.140 § 131L applies to firearm dealers and guns kept in a commercial setting. Guns in a store must still be secured as the law requires.

McDonald v. City of Chicago, 561 U.S. 742 (2010)
In clearly stating that "the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment makes the Second Amendment right binding on the States," the court also reiterated its statement from Heller that "the right to keep and bear arms is not 'a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.'”

New York State Rifle & Pistol Ass'n, Inc. v. Bruen, 597 U.S. 1 (2022)
Supreme Court held that New York's “proper cause” requirement for issuing a license to carry a firearm violates the Second and Fourteenth Amendments.

Phipps v. Boston Police Commissioner, 94 Mass. App. Ct. 725 (2019)
"A revoke the plaintiff's license to carry a firearm was arbitrary and capricious."  "Discussion of the standard of review of the decision to revoke a license to carry a firearm, of the standard to be used by a firearm licensing authority when determining whether to issue a firearm license with restrictions, and of the statutory scheme for firearm licensure."

Ramirez v. Commonwealth, 479 Mass. 331 (2018)
"This court concluded that stun guns are "arms" within the protection of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and that...barring all civilians from possessing or carrying stun guns, even in their home, was inconsistent with the Second Amendment and therefore unconstitutional."

Harassment, stalking, or intentional infliction of emotional distress

Agis v. Howard Johnson Co., 371 Mass. 140 (1976)
Expanded liability to cases without physical harm. Court held that "one who, by extreme and outrageous conduct and without privilege causes severe emotional distress to another is subject to liability for such emotional distress even though no bodily harm may result."

Ilan I. v. Melody M., 96 Mass. App. Ct. 639 (2019)
A "G. L. c. 258E order is immediately appealable, even where it is joined with other causes of action in a civil complaint."

Brown v. Nutter, McClennen and Fish, 45 Mass. App.Ct. 212 (1998)
Legal secretary brought action against law firm and one of its attorneys for emotional distress. Court held that while the Workers' Compensation Act barred her claim against the firm, it did not immunize the attorney from personal liability.

Comm. v. Alphas, 430 Mass. 8 (1999)
"In order to convict a defendant under 'following' prong of stalking statute, Commonwealth is required to prove more than two incidents of following."

Comm. v. Brennan, 481 Mass. 146 (2018)
In a case alleging criminal harassment, placing GPS tracking devices on 2 cars and monitoring them constituted 3 acts. The alleged victims did not have to know about the devices in real time to have suffered emotional distress as a result of the acts.

Comm. v. Goldman, 94 Mass. App. Ct. 222 (2018)
"If no distance is specified, the remain-away provision of a typical c. 258E order prohibits the defendant from (1) crossing the residence's property line, (2) engaging in conduct that intrudes directly into the residence, and (3) coming within sufficient proximity to the property line that he would be able to abuse, contact, or harass a protected person if that person were on the property or entering or leaving it. A protected person need not actually be present for such a violation of the order to occur."

Comm. v. McDonald, 462 Mass. 236 (2012). 
Staring, without more, is not "sinister." Under MGL c. 265, s.43A , "The act of regularly driving on a public street, looking at people in their driveways or on their porches, or at their dogs and gardens, cannot alone support conviction of a wilful and malicious act directed at a specific person."

Comm. v. Walters, 472 Mass. 680 (2015)
Stalking and harassment through social media.

Comm. v. Wotan, 422 Mass. 740 (1996)
"Term 'repeatedly' in statute making it a misdemeanor to telephone someone repeatedly solely to harass, annoy or molest requires three or more telephone calls."

Ellis E. v. Finn F., 96 Mass. App. Ct. 433 (2019)
Unlike in an abuse prevention case, judges can only order 4 very specific types of relief in a harassment case: 1) don't harass the victim, 2) don't contact them, 3) stay away from them, and 4) pay for any money lost as a result of the harassment.

George v. Jordan Marsh Co., 359 Mass. 244 (1971)
Court held that "one who, without a privilege to do so, by extreme and outrageous conduct intentionally causes severe emotional distress to another, with bodily harm resulting from such distress, is subject to liability."

Payton v. Abbott Labs, 386 Mass. 540 (1982)
Great summary of the history of the tort and its required elements

Quinn v. Walsh, 49 Mass.App.Ct. 696 (2000)
"Openly conducting adulterous affair was not sufficiently outrageous conduct to support claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress."

Seney v. Morhy, 467 Mass. 58 (2014)
"This court concluded that appeals from expired civil harassment prevention orders issued pursuant to G. L. c. 258E should not be dismissed as moot where the parties have a continuing interest in the case, including removing any stigma from the name, and any law enforcement records, of the party against whom such an order issued."

U.S. v. Ackell, 907 F.3d 67, (1st Cir., 2018)
18 USC § 2261A is constitutional because it targets conduct, not speech.

Health care

Health insurance

Home schooling



Biden v. Texas, 142 S.Ct. 2528 (2022)
The Supreme Court rejected claims that immigration law requires the Biden administration to continue to enforce Trump era Migrant Protection Protocols, popularly known as the “remain in Mexico” policy.

  • See also Texas v. Biden, 2022 U.S. Dist. N.D. Tex. December 15, 2022
    Following the Supreme Court’s remand of the issue of the Migrant Protection Protocols, popularly known as the "remain in Mexico" policy, the District Court of Northern Texas ordered a stay on the October 2021 memorandum from the Department of Homeland Security terminating the program.  

Commonwealth v. Gautreaux, 458 Mass. 741 (2011)
Notification to consulate of arrest. "We conclude that the notifications required by art. 36 [of the Vienna Convention] must be provided to foreign nationals on their arrest; and, if not provided, a challenge to the soundness of any conviction resulting therefrom may be made in a motion for a new trial. The standard to be applied in such circumstances is the substantial risk of a miscarriage of justice standard, one that the defendant has not met in this case."

Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California, 140 S. Ct. 1891 (2020)
United States Supreme Court case in which the Court held that a 2017 U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) order to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration program was "arbitrary and capricious" under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and reversed the order.

  • See also Texas v. United States, 2023 U.S. Dist. S.D. Tex. September 13, 2023 
    The United States District Court of Southern Texas found the Department of Homeland Security’s DACA final rule attempting to codify DACA unlawful, as legislative power should only be wielded by Congress.

    For more information, see DACA litigation information and frequently asked questions. "[C]urrent grants of DACA and related Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) remain valid until they expire, unless individually terminated. USCIS will continue to accept and process DACA renewal requests and accompanying applications for employment authorization under the DACA regulations at 8 CFR 236.22 and 236.23, as it has since October 31, 2022, in accordance with this decision. We will also continue to accept initial DACA requests, but, per the order, not process them."

Finch v. Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority, 461 Mass. 232 (2012)
Commonwealth Care health coverage for legal immigrants. "Section 31(a) [of St.2009, c.65] cannot pass strict scrutiny. The discrimination against legal immigrants that its limiting language embodies violates their rights to equal protection under the Massachusetts Constitution."

Lunn v. Commonwealth, 477 Mass. 517 (2017)
Police officers and court officers in Massachusetts lack the authority to hold a person under a civil immigration detainer, when that person would otherwise be released from custody.

Recinos v. Escobar, 473 Mass. 734 (2016)
Jurisdiction. The "Probate and Family Court has jurisdiction, under its broad equity power, over youth between the ages of eighteen and twenty-one for the specific purpose of making the special findings necessary to apply for special immigrant juvenile status pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act."

Reno v. Flores, 507 U.S. 292 (1993)
"Where a juvenile has no available parent, close relative, or legal guardian, where the government does not intend to punish the child, and where the conditions of governmental custody are decent and humane, such custody surely does not violate the Constitution." See also, the Flores Settlement, and The history of the Flores Settlement (2019).

Ongoing conversation regarding the Flores Settlement were heard in the Ninth Circuit in three cases known as Flores I, Flores II, and Flores III. For more information on these three cases. See Child migrants at the border: The Flores Settlement Agreement and other legal developments (2021).

Immigration consequences of state convictions

Carachuri-Rosendo v. Holder, 560 U.S. 563, 130 S.Ct. 2577 (2010)
Clarifies which drug offenses are considered aggravated felonies.

Commonwealth v. Clarke, 460 Mass. 30 (2011)
Postconviction proceeding holding that the decision in Padilla v. Kentucky applies retroactively to guilty pleas entered after April 1, 1997. Defendant must show counsel's ineffectiveness and resulting prejudice. Massachusetts does not follow the rule in Chaidez v. U.S., 568 U.S. 342, 133 S.Ct. 1103 (2013) which holds that Padilla v. Kentucky does not apply retroactively.  See Commonwealth v. Sylvain, 466 Mass. 422 (2013) 

Commonwealth v. DeJesus, 468 Mass. 174 (2014) 
Defense attorneys must be very clear when explaining the potential consequences of a guilty plea and telling immigrants they could be “eligible for deportation” is not sufficient where deportation is a virtual certainty.

Commonwealth v. Gordon, 82 Mass. App. Ct. 389 (2012)
An evidentiary hearing is required where a defendant who pled guilty to charges including firearms offenses and assault and battery on a police officer (ABPO) moved for a new trial. The defendant alleges that he received ineffective assistance of counsel when he was not correctly informed of the consequence of the guilty plea to the ABPO charge.

Comm. v. Grannum, 457 Mass. 128 (2010)
Postconviction proceeding based upon violation of MGL c. 278, s. 29D. Defendant must show more than just a hypothetical risk of deportation. See Committee for Public Counsel Services Practice Advisory.

Comm. v. Lopez, 96 Mass. App. Ct. 34 (2019)
A defendant was not entitled to have a guilty plea vacated just because he "regrets his decision now that the warned of deportation has come to pass."

Comm. v. Petit-Homme, 482 Mass. 775 (2019)
" we urge judges to ensure that both the statutory immigration warning, preferably read precisely as quoted in G. L. c. 278, § 29D, and the rule (b) warning [Mass. R. Crim. P. 12 (c) (3) (A) (iii) (b) & 12 (d) (3) (A) (iii) (b)] are delivered at every colloquy, as expressly directed by both rule and statute."

Lopez v. Gonzales, 549 U.S. 47 (2006)
Legal residents can only be deported under the Immigration and Nationality Act for acts that are felonies under the Controlled Substance Act, and not merely felonies under state law.

Matter of Corcino, 2007 WL 1430785 (2007) (unpublished decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals)
Massachusetts "continuance without a finding" under MGL c. 278, § 18, held to be a conviction under 8 U.S.C. § 1101 (a)(48)

Mellouli v. Lynch, 575 U.S. 798, 135 S.Ct. 1980 (2015)
Possession of drugs, which may be a crime under state law, does not trigger removal unless the drug is listed on the federal drug schedules.

Moncrieffe v. Holder, 569 U.S. 184, 133 S.Ct. 1678 (2013)
Small amounts of marijuana. If a noncitizen’s conviction for a marijuana distribution offense fails to establish that the offense involved either remuneration or more than a small amount of marijuana, it is not an aggravated felony under the INA.

Padilla v. Kentucky, 559 U.S. 356, 130 S.Ct. 1473 (2010)
Postconviction proceeding holding that an attorney provides ineffective assistance of counsel by failing to inform a noncitizen client that a guilty plea may result in deportation.

Pereida v. Wilkinson, 141 S.Ct. 754, 2021, No. 19-438
"The Court ruled that a noncitizen cannot satisfy their burden of proving relief eligibility by relying only on the inconclusiveness of a conviction record. Rather, the noncitizen must submit evidence to establish conviction of a non-disqualifying crime."

Stokeling v. United States, 586 U.S. __, 139 S.Ct. 544 (2019)
The Supreme Court found that Florida robbery is a crime of violence under the ACCA, because the confrontation involved in “overcoming the resistance of the victim” in a robbery is inherently violent, even if the force used is minor. (See advisory from Immigration Legal Resource Center.)

Independent contractors


Internet and online privacy

Cell phone searches

See: Law about cell phone searches

Other topics

Ajemian v. Yahoo!, 478 Mass. 169 (2017)
"[W]e conclude that the personal representatives may provide lawful consent on the decedent's behalf to the release of the contents of the Yahoo e-mail account. This does not, however, require Yahoo to divulge the contents of the decedent's communications to the personal representatives. We conclude only that the SCA does not stand in the way of Yahoo doing so…" 

Commonwealth v. Carrasquillo, 489 Mass. 107 (2022)
"[I]n the totality of the circumstances, the defendant had no objectively reasonable expectation of privacy in the video recordings, in that he did not adequately control access to his Snapchat account and that the asserted government intrusion took place with the defendant's permission."

Commonwealth v. Gelfgatt, 468 Mass. 512 (2014)
"This court concluded that compelling a criminal defendant, pursuant to a protocol proposed by the Commonwealth, to provide his key to seized encrypted digital evidence would not violate the defendant's rights and protections regarding self-incrimination provided by the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution…or art. 12 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights…provided that the defendant's compelled decryption would not communicate facts of a testimonial nature to the Commonwealth beyond what the defendant already had admitted to investigators."

In re Doubleclick, Inc., 154 F.Supp.2d 497 (2001)
In class action suit brought by Internet users, court decided, among other rulings, that "to the extent that the DoubleClick cookies' identification numbers are electronic communications, (1) they fall outside of Title II's [of the Electronic Communication Privacy Act] scope, and (2) DoubleClick's access to them is otherwise authorized."

Liberty Media Holdings, LLC v. Swarm Sharing Hash File, 821 F. Supp. 2d 444 (2011) 
"'[I]nternet subscribers do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their subscriber information — including name, address, phone number, and email address — as they have already conveyed such information to theirs ISPs.'"

United States v. Councilman, 418 F.3d 67 (1st Cir., 2005)
"[T]he temporarily stored e-mail messages at issue here constitute electronic communications within the scope of the Wiretap Act, the statute also requires the conduct alleged in the indictment to be an 'intercept[ion].'"

United States v. Morel, 922 F.3d 1 (1st Cir., 2019)
"On appeal, Morel challenges the district court's determinations that Morel had no reasonable expectation of privacy in the images he uploaded to Imgur or in his internet protocol (IP) address, and that the state warrant to search Morel's computer was supported by probable cause. We affirm."

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Last updated: March 26, 2024

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