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 errors.
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."
Why should you hire an appellate attorney? You may be happy with your trial counsel, having already worked and developed a good relationship with your trial counsel for months or perhaps years. Plus, your trial counsel already knows the facts of your case. There are, however, specific advantages to hiring appellate counsel.
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 process; an untimely filing of the Notice of Appeal is subject to dismissal.
Often attorneys and clients think of the appeals process as an abyss - a long, uncertain process where they wait many months (or years) for a final resolution of their legal case. Although a typical trip to the Massachusetts Appeals Court is by no means quick, the process is ordinarily not too complicated.
The Bachelor Party. In the UK, it's known as "Stag Night"; in France, "enterrement de vie de garcon" - literally, "burial/funeral of the life as a bachelor." For grooms-to-be across the globe, it is a time honored tradition, and in the US, Las Vegas is commonly known as the ideal destination for this debaucherous weekend of gambling, drinking and good-natured hazing. Perhaps thanks to the oft-uttered mantra of "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas", most bachelors return home no worse for the wear. For others, however, "what happened in Vegas" has resulted in damaged or broken marriages, and one Massachusetts husband will be paying the price for his misdeeds in cold hard cash.
The Massachusetts Appeals Court has ruled that a party to a business contract could file suit in Massachusetts even though the contract specified that "jurisdiction shall vest in the State of Illinois." The Appeals Court held that the "jurisdiction shall vest" language is merely permissive and does not require that suit between the contracting parties be brought in Illinois. Boland v. George S. May International Company, No. 11-P-1300, slip op. (Mass.App.Ct. June 7, 2012).