Amicus Briefs

Information regarding amicus briefs

The Appeals Court encourages interested parties to file amicus curiae ("friend of the court") briefs or memoranda.  Any party not directly involved in a case, but that has an interest or opinion about a case pending before the court may file an amicus brief in accordance with Rule 17.  All amicus submissions shall comply with Rules 17, 19, and 20 of the Massachusetts Rules of Appellate Procedure.  Unless otherwise ordered, amicus briefs are due no later than 21 days before the date of oral argument.  See Mass. R. A. P. 17(b).  To review the docket in one of the following cases prior to preparing an amicus brief, visit and type in the docket number in the search field.    

Current Amicus Invitations

2019-P-213, Menard v. Archdiocese of Boston (posted 11/07/2019).

Whether a claim of employment discrimination and workplace harassment brought by the music director of a church, whose formal title is "Director of Music Ministries," is barred by the "ministerial exception" grounded in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Amicus briefs are due by February 7, 2020.  The case will be scheduled for oral argument during the Appeals Court's March 2020 sitting.

Past Amicus Invitations

The following Appeals Court amicus solicitations have expired:

2019-P-1743, Bank of New York Mellon v. Alton King, Jr. (Posted 12/12/19).

On 12/16/19, the Supreme Judicial Court transferred this case for direct appellate review.  See SJC-12859 for further information. The principal issue in this case is:  In a post-foreclosure summary process (eviction) action, where the defendant appeals a judgment for possession in favor of the plaintiff and the trial court grants the defendant a waiver of the appeal bond, see G.L. c. 235, §§ 5 and 6, may the court order the defendant to make periodic payments, in the nature of rent or use and occupancy, during the pendency of the appeal?

2018-P-0464, Larabee v. MCAD (posted 3/12/2019)

Whether the MCAD lawfully determined that complaints and data compilations previously produced in response to public record requests are exempt from public disclosure pursuant to 804 C.M.R. sec. 1.04, G.L. c. 4, sec. 7,  cl. 26,  G.L. c. 6, sec. 172(m)(3), G.L. c. 66, sec. 10, and/or G.L. c. 151B, sec. 5.

2019-P-0004, Fannie Mae v. Branch (posted 1/29/2019)

1.  In a defendant's appeal from a judgment in an action for the possession of land after foreclosure of a mortgage or in an action for possession of land after purchase, if the defendant is indigent and has any defense which is not frivolous, may a judge of the Superior Court, District Court, or Housing Court, or a single justice of the Appeals Court waive all or any portion of the appeal bond required under G. L. c. 239, § 6?

2.  With respect to such an appeal, may a judge or justice order periodic payments after judgment has entered as a condition of the bond?

3.  If the answer to question two is in the affirmative, and the judge or justice determines that periodic payments shall be required as a condition of the bond, may the judge or justice order that the periodic payments be made directly to the plaintiff?

4.  When a judge or justice sets the conditions of the bond required by G. L. c. 239, § 6, which party bears the burden of proving the value to be utilized in determining the "reasonable amount as rent of the land"?

5.  In determining the "reasonable amount as rent of the land," under G. L. c. 239, § 6, must the judge or justice consider only the fair-market rental value of the property, or may the judge or justice also consider a defendant's ability to pay and financial hardship?

2019-P-315, Ten Diamond Realty Street Trust v. Beverly Farrar & others (posted 3/5/2019)

Whether a self-represented defendant in a summary process action in the Housing Court, who filed a notice of appeal with respect to an adverse judgment of possession and a motion to vacate the judgment within ten days of the judgment, is barred from pursuing such an appeal when no timely notice of appeal was filed following the disposition of the motion to vacate the judgment?  See Mass. R. App. P. 4(a); G. L. c. 239, § 5.

2019-P-317, U.S. Bank Trust N.A., as Trustee v. Kelly Johnson & another (posted 3/5/2019)

1.  Where a defendant in a summary process action in the Housing Court filed a timely appeal of an adverse judgment of possession and requested that the posting of an appeal bond be waived prior to the amount of the bond being set, does her failure to file such a motion within ten days of the judgment deprive the court of jurisdiction to entertain the motion?

2.  Where a defendant in a post-foreclosure summary process action has raised as a defense, the failure of the foreclosing entity to demonstrate that it (or the party on whose behalf the entity is authorized to act) holds the original note, has the defendant demonstrated a "not frivolous" appellate issue warranting the waiver of the requirement to post an appeal bond if the defendant is indigent?  See G. L. c. 239, § 5; Eaton v. Federal National Mortgage Association, 462 Mass. 569, 586 n.26, 589 n.28 (2012).  See also Mitchell vs. U.S. Bank Nat'l Ass'n, Appeals Court, No. 17-P-1445, slip op. at 3 (Mar. 4, 2019).

3.  Where there are multiple defendants in a post-foreclosure summary process action, but the motion to waive the posting of an appeal bond is based on the indigency of only one of them, must that defendant demonstrate her own standing to raise a "not frivolous" argument on appeal and, if so, what showing is sufficient?

16-P-694, Cort v. Majors

In a summary process action in which a self-represented party has timely requested a jury trial, and stated he was ready for trial, has the party waived his right to a jury trial, where he failed to object to the commencement of a bench trial, but there was no written or oral stipulation made in open court and entered on the record consenting to trial without a jury. Amicus submissions were due no later than May 1, 2017.

14-P-1683, Commonwealth v. Laquaglia

Whether an individual who has been appointed and sworn-in as a deputy sheriff remains a deputy sheriff without being reappointed or resworn after the appointing sheriff has been re-elected and commenced his or her new term of office.  

15-P-771, P.F. v. Department of Revenue

Whether an individual who is imprisoned may seek modification of a child support order to lower the support obligation, where the reason for imprisonment is sexually abusing the child to whom support is owed?

16-P-190, Katherine DeMarco v. Michael DeMarco

Where a divorce judgment predated the alimony reform act but was later modified by agreement of the parties after the effective date of the act – in order to resolve the former husband's claim that his alimony obligation terminated under the act's retirement provision, G. L. c. 208, § 49 (f) – and where their agreement survived the modification judgment, whether a judge could properly relieve the former wife of the agreed modification pursuant to Mass. R. Dom. Rel. P. 60 (b) (6), G. L. c. 215, § 6, or otherwise, based on a "clarification of the law" that occurred when this court subsequently held that the retirement provision does not apply retroactively.  See Chin v. Merriot, 470 Mass. 527 (2015); Rodman v. Rodman, 470 Mass. 539 (2015); Doktor v. Doktor, 470 Mass. 547 (2015).

2019-P-0105, Allen H. Davis v. Gina Comerford and another

1. Whether a judge of the Housing Court may lawfully enter a prejudgment order for use and occupancy payments payable directly to the landlord in a summary process action.

2. If the answer to Question one is yes, whether the order contained an adequate legal and evidentiary basis for injunctive relief.