- Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
- Massachusetts Court System
Media Contact for Supreme Judicial Court Announces Amendments to the Mass. Rules of Civil Procedure Regarding Credit Card Debts
Jennifer Donahue and Erika Gully-Santiago
BOSTON MA — The Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court today announced two new rules of civil procedure related to civil actions against individuals for money damages arising from credit card debt.
The Supreme Judicial Court Standing Advisory Committee on the Rules of Civil Procedure, chaired by Attorney Nelson G. Apjohn, proposed the two new rules intended to address abuses that may arise in debt collection cases, including poorly documented debts, suits commenced after the expiration of the statute of limitations, and lack of notice to defendants. New Rule 8.1 requires a plaintiff to file with a complaint in these cases documentation regarding the debt; to verify the defendant’s address prior to commencement of the action; and to certify that the statute of limitations has not expired.
New Rule 55.1 requires an affidavit that the documentation required by Rule 8.1 has been provided and that the plaintiff is entitled to judgment in the amount claimed; without such documentation a default or default judgment shall not enter. It also requires reverification of the defendant’s address under specified circumstances prior to entry of a default judgment. The new rules become effective on January 1, 2019.
"I am proud of the hard work of the committee and of the subcommittee chaired by Professor Linda Simard, who was instrumental in the development of the final rules," said Attorney Apjohn. "The subcommittee met with industry representatives, consumer rights advocates, court personnel and the bar, providing the committee with the information needed to develop the rules."
The Standing Advisory Committee assists the Court in reviewing and recommending amendments to the Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure and the Massachusetts Rules of Appellate Procedure. Members include judges, court clerks, practicing lawyers and law professors.
In addition to Attorney Apjohn, the following served on the committee:
- Stephanie Belandis, Esq.
- Christine Burak, Legal Counsel to the Chief Justice, Supreme Judicial Court
- State Solicitor Bessie Dewar
- Clerk Maura Doyle, Supreme Judicial Court Clerk for the County of Suffolk
- Felicia Ellsworth, Esq.
- Hon. Kathryn Hand, District Court
- Gordon P. Katz, Esq.
- Clerk Fran Kenneally, Supreme Judicial Court Clerk for the Commonwealth
- David Lewis, Esq.
- David Mackey, Esq.
- Prof. Marc Perlin, Committee Reporter, Suffolk University Law School
- Hon. Lisa Roberts, Probate and Family Court
- Prof. Linda Sandstrom Simard, Suffolk University Law School
- Hon. Ernest Sarason, Boston Municipal Court
- Clerk Joseph Stanton, Appeals Court
- Hon. Douglas Wilkins, Superior Court
- Hon. Gabrielle Wolohojian, Appeals Court