Massachusetts Appellate Blog

The Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) is slated to hear oral argument in G4S Technology LLC v. Mass. Technology Park Corp. on Monday, March 5, 2017 – a case with significant implications for construction litigation. The dispute arises out of a $45 million public works project to build a 1200-mile fiber optic network bringing high speed Internet access to western Massachusetts. Appellee Massachusetts Technology Park Corporation (MTPC), a state development agency, awarded the contract to design…
In a Rule 1:28 decision applying New Hampshire law, the Appeals Court affirmed the entry of summary judgment dismissing a doctor’s suit accusing her professional liability insurer of improper settlement of a claim without her consent. Johnson v. Proselect Ins. Co., 17-P-109. The underlying trial had resulted in a $5 million judgment against the doctor for medical malpractice, which the trial judge reduced to $4,050,000 based on a pre-trial payment by a co-defendant. Rather…
We have written previously on this blog about the importance of a timely notice of appeal in the Massachusetts Appeals Court. The issue bears revisiting in the federal courts following the decision by the United States Supreme Court in Hamer v. Neighborhood Hous. Servs. Of Chicago, No. 16-659 (November 8, 2017). Justice Ginsburg, in her characteristic trenchant prose, introduced the issue in Hamer thusly: This case presents a question of time, specifically, time to…
The scope of an insurer’s right to control the defense of an insured is an underdeveloped issue in Massachusetts case law, which the Appeals Court recently addressed in OneBeacon America Ins. Co. v. Celanese Corp., No. 16-P-203 (Oct. 16, 2017). The decision helps clarify the rights of an insurer when it has offered to provide a defense without a reservation of rights. Briefly, the insured, a leading producer of acetyl chemical products, was subject…
The First Circuit Court of Appeals recently released its proposed amendments to Local Rule 25.0, governing the use of electronic document filing (“e-filing”). While Many of the proposed amendments incorporate familiar aspects of the e-filing system in Massachusetts Federal District Court, there are some notable differences and aspects to point out. The following is a brief collection of highlights from the proposed rule amendments. The full text of the rule can be found here.…
The Supreme Court recently decided a case involving an Xbox 360, although the issue before them had nothing in particular to do with the video game system itself. It got me wondering, however, how many justices would you guess have played a video game on an Xbox 360? The answer might be zero. But the Chief Justice and newly-minted Justice Gorsuch have teenagers at home. And I could envision Justice Sotomayor or Justice Kagan playing…
Appellate lawyers are constantly asked (and asking themselves) some variant of the same question: “How long until we get a decision?” The reality is that it’s hard to know. Nevertheless, most will, after being pressed, venture a guess based on their informed experience. To supplement our informed experience, we conducted an analysis of twenty-one recent civil decisions issued by the Massachusetts Appeals Court since March 1, 2017, as well as another ten Supreme Judicial Court…
In April 2017, the Appeals Court launched an oral argument pilot program that staggers attorney appearance times. This means that the “old days” of arriving at oral argument before 9:30 a.m. and waiting through a series of arguments before your case is called may soon be history. The pilot program organizes the oral arguments in three groups based on the order the cases are listed on the Court’s argument calendar. Parties for the first three…
I chair the Appellate Law Section of the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel. Members of our section recently put on a great program on how to make legal briefs more effective for judges and law clerks who read them on electronic devices rather than on paper. While the Massachusetts state appellate courts still have not implemented electronic filing, the SJC posts briefs online,  the First Circuit has electronic filing, and some judges and…
On November 7, 2016, the Appeals Court heard oral argument for Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Company v. Ryan Casey & Another (16-P-32).  Defendants Ryan Casey and Evan Williams appealed a Superior Court’s summary judgment decision in favor of Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Company (“Liberty Mutual”) that concluded that the insured, Casey, expected or intended to cause William’s bodily injury as a matter of law. The Superior Court held that Liberty Mutual had no duty to defend…