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Civil Litigation

Massachusetts Guide to Evidence

Massachusetts is one of the few states that has not adopted some version of the Federal Rules of Evidence. The rules of evidence in Massachusetts are not codified, meaning that evidentiary issues are governed by common law. In 1982, the Supreme Judicial Court ("SJC")...

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Changes to Mass. R. Civ. P. 45

The Supreme Judicial Court recently amended Rule 45 of the Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure, effective as of April 1, 2015. The most significant change in the amended Rule 45 is the allowance of "documents only" subpoenas to non-parties. Previously, if only...

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Stages of a Lawsuit (Part 2)

In an earlier post, we discussed the initial pleadings and discovery stages of a lawsuit. This post will address the pre-trial and trial stages. The Pre-Trial StageBy the time discovery ends, the parties should have an understanding of what evidence, including...

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Stages of a Lawsuit (Part 1)

Most first-time litigants are unfamiliar with the process by which a lawsuit moves from filing to resolution. While every lawsuit is unique and different courts have different rules governing litigation procedure, most lawsuits in most courts follow a similar path...

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Electronic Submissions to the Appeals Court

The Massachusetts Appeals Court requires some pleadings to be filed electronically, rather than through hard copy. Although the Standing Order concerning electronic filings has been effective for nearly three years, it is still a confusing process that is ripe for...

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Commencement of Appeal Period

The Supreme Court of the United States issued a recent decision answering the question of whether an appeal period begins after a court determines the merits of the case or after it awards attorney's fees and costs.In Haluch Gravel Co. et al. v. Central Pension Fund...

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Post-Oral Argument Letters to the Panel

I recently attended a continuing legal education seminar where the Clerk of the Massachusetts Appeals Court, Joseph Stanton, provided useful information concerning post-oral argument letters, often described as "16L Letters." "16L Letters" originate from Rule 16(l) of...

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How Long Will My Appeal Take?

A party must act quickly to appeal an adverse judgment. Rule 3(a) of the Massachusetts Rules of Appellate Procedure requires that a Notice of Appeal be filed within 30 days with the clerk of the lower court. This is the most important deadline of the appellate...

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