Under its recently issued Standing Order 1-22 (link here), the Massachusetts Superior Court increased the number of hearing types that it will “presumptively” conduct by videoconference. The standing order applies to Massachusetts state trial courts, including the Massachusetts Business Litigation Session.
The Superior Court, according to Chief Justice Heidi Brieger, designated the types of hearings that it will presumptively hold by videoconference or in-person “consistent with constitutional, statutory, and other applicable rights, and in the interest of justice.”
In conjunction with the Massachusetts Bar Association, the current BLS judges prepared personalized responses to practice-related questions. Those questions and answers were then turned into a practice guide, which you can link to here. The guide, presented in question-and-answer format, has a wealth of information on topics of interest to practitioners and clients alike.
The judges sitting in the BLS during calendar year 2022 recently adopted and published guidance about their preferences and practices on court proceedings and filings. These preferences and practices include:
- encouraging the active participation in court proceedings by junior attorneys;
- asking parties to include in motion papers a brief explanation of their preference between in-person versus virtual proceedings;
- promoting in-person trials and evidentiary hearings; and
- explaining the circumstances where paper or digital copies should accompany electronic filings.
The complete guidance can be found here.
Last month, the Social Law Library sponsored the Business Litigation Session 2021 Year in Review. The panel included Judge Kenneth Salinger, the BLS Administrative Justice, as well as Michael Tuteur and Andrew Yost, attorneys at Foley & Lardner LLP.
Judge Sanders denied a summary judgment motion that involved questions of fact—such as a defendant’s knowledge and reasonable reliance—that almost always require determination by the finder of fact. The case involved claims of violation of the Massachusetts Securities Act, fraud, and negligent misrepresentation (among others) arising out of defendants’ sale of common stock of a closely held corporation to plaintiffs. Judge Sanders denied the defendants’ motion for summary judgment, noting in particular the high burdens placed on defendants under the Securities Act and issues of fact involved in the fraud and negligent misrepresentation claims.