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No error in either the admission or the exclusion of evidence and no error or defect in any ruling or order or in anything done or omitted by the court or by any of the parties is ground for granting a new trial or for setting aside a verdict or for vacating, modifying or otherwise disturbing a judgment or order, unless refusal to take such action appears to the court inconsistent with substantial justice. The court at every stage of the proceeding must disregard any error or defect in the proceeding which does not affect the substantial rights of the parties.
(1996) With the merger of the District Court rules into the Mass.R.Civ.P., minor differences which had existed between Mass.R.Civ.P. 61 and Dist./Mun.Cts.R.Civ.P. 61 have been eliminated.
(1973) Federal Rule 61 is adopted without change. It is declarative of existing Massachusetts law as expressed in former G.L. c. 231, §§ 132 and 144 and in the decided cases. See, e.g., Runshaw v. Bernstein, 347 Mass. 405, 407-408 (1964).