Parties filing amicus briefs are expected to comply with the requirements of Rules 17,19 and 20 of the Massachusetts Rules of Appellate Procedure. Amicus briefs, to assist the court, should focus on the ramifications of a decision and not solely on the interests of the parties filing such briefs. Amicus submissions are due no later than two weeks before the first day of the sitting in which the case is scheduled for argument.
Interested parties may file their briefs in the Supreme Judicial Court Clerk's Office for the Commonwealth.
The following are amicus announcements for the 2017-2018 court year
Commonwealth vs. Richard Sherman
Whether an alleged victim must communicate to the defendant a withdrawal of consent before the defendant can be found guilty of rape; whether the jury must be so instructed.
Commonwealth vs. Jose L. Arias
Where, pursuant to the "emergency aid doctrine," police officers may enter a home without a warrant if they have an objectively reasonable belief that someone inside may be injured or in imminent danger of physical harm, whether the doctrine extends to the type of circumstances presented in this case.
Commonwealth vs. Jonathan Brown
Whether a defendant charged with violating G. L. c. 272, § 7 (deriving support from, or sharing proceeds of, prostitution), is entitled to have the jury instructed on something more than just the three basic elements of the offense, see Commonwealth v. Thetonia, 27 Mass. App. Ct. 783 (1989) (concluding that not every literal violation of the statute supports a conviction); whether, absent the requirement of a finding that the defendant acted as a “pimp,” the statute is unconstitutional.
Susan Ciani vs. Brenda MacGrath & others
Whether a surviving spouse has standing to petition for the partition of real estate when his or her sole interest in the property originates from G. L. c. 191, § 15 (spouse’s elective share); how specifically the statute applies to real estate in the decedent’s estate.
Commonwealth vs. Shea Braune
Whether the evidence was sufficient to warrant the defendant’s conviction of money laundering in violation of G. L. c. 267A, § 2 (2) (ii) (A), where the Commonwealth proved that she deposited money stolen by another into her bank account.
Jillian Calixto & another vs. Heather Coughlin & others
Whether “back pay” paid by an employer to displaced workers under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, 29 U.S.C. § 2101 et seq., constitutes “wages” for purposes of the Massachusetts wage act, G. L. c. 149, § 148.
Maria Bellalta & another vs. Zoning Board of Appeal of Brookline & others
Whether a landowner who seeks approval to alter a nonconforming single or two‑family residential structure in a manner that would increase its nonconforming nature, in addition to demonstrating that the alteration will not be substantially more detrimental to the neighborhood, see G. L. c. 40A, § 6, must also comply with the existing local zoning ordinance or by-law, e.g., by obtaining a variance if that is what would otherwise be required to make the change.
Caroline Roch vs. David Mollica & another
In a tort action commenced in Massachusetts against two individual nonresident defendants, stemming from an incident that occurred outside Massachusetts, whether in‑hand service of process on the nonresident defendants while they were temporarily present in Massachusetts was sufficient, without more, to establish personal jurisdiction over the defendants in Massachusetts; whether the court’s assertion of personal jurisdiction over the defendants in these circumstances, based on in-hand service alone, comports with a contemporary understanding of due process for purposes of the Massachusetts Constitution.
Commonwealth vs. Francis T. Brennan
Whether the judge properly dismissed a criminal complaint charging the defendant with criminal harassment in violation of G. L. c. 265, § 43A, for failing to allege three acts of harassing conduct, where the defendant allegedly installed GPS tracking devices on each complainant’s vehicle, tracked the vehicles’ locations on seventeen separate occasions without the complainants’ knowledge, and stated to the police that he believed one of the complainants was having an extramarital affair. This case will be paired for oral argument with D.P. vs. A.R., No. SJC-12452.
Commonwealth vs. Richard Gardner
Whether the Commonwealth has the authority to petition for the civil commitment of a defendant as a sexually dangerous person pursuant to G. L. c. 123A, § 12 (b), at the conclusion of a sentence that the defendant is serving for an out-of-state conviction but where the defendant has previously been convicted of, and served a sentence for, sexual offenses in Massachusetts.
Whether the respondent’s due process or equal protection rights were violated when his involuntary commitment hearing took place at the hospital rather than at the courthouse where, he argues, the hospital lacked reliable recording equipment, unauthorized recording devices were substituted, and large portions of the hearing were, as a result, not recorded.
Warren Yee vs. Massachusetts State Police
Whether and in what circumstances the denial of an employee’s request for a lateral transfer constitutes an adverse employment action that is actionable under G. L. c. 151B.
Commonwealth vs. Mark J. Davis
Whether the impoundment of the defendant’s vehicle was proper on the ground that the police officer had probable cause to believe that the defendant and the passengers in the vehicle unfit to drive because they were under the influence of marijuana.
Jeffrey S. Roberio vs. Paul M. Tressler
Where a juvenile homicide offender convicted of first degree murder became eligible for parole in light of Diatchenko v. District Attorney for the Suffolk District, 466 Mass. 655 (2013); where, at the time of the offense, G. L. c. 127, § 133A, provided that a prisoner eligible for but denied parole was entitled to a review hearing within three years; and where that statute was amended in 1996 to provide instead for a review hearing within five years, whether application of the five year provision, rather than the three year provision, to the juvenile homicide offender constitutes an ex post facto violation.
Essex Regional Retirement Bd. vs. John Swallow & another
Whether a municipal police officer's conviction of firearm, assault and battery, assault with a dangerous weapon, and other charges, arising out of conduct that did not involve his badge, service weapon, or another officer, and that occurred while he was on administrative leave from his duties, constitutes "violation of the laws applicable to his office or position" and renders him ineligible to receive a retirement allowance pursuant to G. L. c. 32, § 15 (4).
Merrimack College vs. KPMG, LLC
Whether an "auditor exception" to the doctrine of in pari delicto should be recognized to permit a client to assert a claim for negligent provision of professional services when an independent auditor fails to detect fraud or misconduct by the client's employee in connection with annual audits.
Commonwealth vs. Melissa Pfeiffer
Where the subject of a grand jury's investigation is an adult, whether the court should adopt a rule similar to the rule adopted for juveniles in Commonwealth v. Walczak, 463 Mass. 808 (2012) (requiring that "where the Commonwealth seeks to indict a juvenile for murder and where there is substantial evidence of mitigating circumstances or defenses [other than lack of criminal responsibility] presented to the grand jury, the prosecutor shall instruct the grand jury on the elements of murder and on the significance of the mitigating circumstances and defenses"); whether any such rule would apply to a defendant who appeals from convictions following a jury trial, on indictments that issued prior to the decision in Walczak, and who requested grand jury instructions before the decision in Walczak, and moved to dismiss the indictments; whether the jury was properly instructed on the elements of arson, see G. L. c. 266, § 1.
Commonwealth vs. Cayla S. Plasse
Whether, or to what extent, a judge may consider an offender's rehabilitative needs, including factors associated with eligibility for a Department of Correction program, in determining the term of a sentence of incarceration.
Buffalo-Water 1, LLC vs. Fidelity Real Estate Company LLC
In the context of an appraisal, whether judicial review should be limited to cases involving actual "fraud, corruption, dishonesty, or bad faith;" whether, or to what extent, judicial review should be available for claims involving nondisclosure or concealment of a conflict interest or bias on the part of an appraiser.
Commonwealth vs. Maksim Lutskov
Where the defendant was convicted, as a youthful offender, of armed home invasion and other offenses, whether his sentence of twenty years in the State prision (the mandatory minimum for armed home invasion) violates article 26 of the Declaration of Rights. See Diatchenko v. District Attorney for the Suffolk District, 466 Mass. 655 (2013), and Commonwealth v. Perez, 477 Mass. 677 (2017).
Carmen Correa, administratrix, vs. Andreas P. Schoeck, M.D. & others
Whether a pharmacy owes a duty of care to its customer to notify her physician that her insurer will not pay for her prescription medication without prior authorization.
Christopher Anderson & others vs. Attorney General & another
Whether the Attorney General properly certified Initiative Petition No. 15-17 – which proposes a constitutional amendment imposing an additional State income tax of four per cent on the portion of one’s income that exceeds $1,000,000 – for inclusion on the Statewide ballot in November, 2018.
Commonwealth v. R. B.
In the context of the trial of a G. L. c. 123A, § 9, petition for discharge, where an objection to an alleged trial error was not made in the lower court, whether or in what circumstances appellate review is available; if appellate review is available, what standard of review should apply.
In re a Juvenile
1. Whether G. L. c. 119, § 72A, permits a Juvenile Court judge, who has dismissed an offense charged for lack of probable cause, to order a defendant to be tried in an adult court for lesser included offenses, where the lesser included offenses are supported by probable cause; and
2. Whether, if the statute so permits, its application against this defendant would be unconstitutional for failure to have provided him with proper notice of the charges pending against him or the possibility of such a transfer.
Rental Property Management Services vs. Loretta Hatcher
With respect to property that a person who is not an attorney does not own, or as to a tenancy in which that person is not identified as the lessor, whether the commencement or prosecution of a summary process or other legal proceeding by that person in the Housing Court constitutes conduct in violation of G. L. c. 93A.
W. Robert Allison vs. Elof Eriksson & others
Whether G. L. c. 156C, § 60 (b), provides the exclusive remedy for a minority member of a Massachusetts limited liability company who objects to a merger or consolidation of the company; whether the remedy provided in G. L. c. 156C, § 60 (b), is limited in application to a merger or consolidation that was properly authorized and proceeded without violation of fiduciary duties.
G4S Technology, Inc. vs. Massachusetts Technology Park Corp.
In the context of a construction contract dispute, whether or to what extent a party's own willful breach of contract should preclude it from recovering for another party's breach, either under the contract or in quantum meruit; whether the principles of Sipley v. Stickney, 190 Mass. 43 (1906), and Andre v. Maguire, 305 Mass. 515, 516 (1940), with respect to assertion of contract, quasi-contract, or unjust enrichment claims by a party who has breached a construction contract, should be replaced with a materiality analysis.
Doroteo Polanco vs. Andras Sandor & others
Given the requirement under G. L. c. 231, § 60B, that a plaintiff file a "bond in the amount of six thousand dollars in the aggregate secured by cash or its equivalent," whether a surety bond satisfies this requirement.