Posts tagged "1000717"

Oggiani v. Chief Justice of the Trial Court, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-007-17)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA, 02108-1750; (617) 557-1030; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us   SJC-12120   JOAN E. OGGIANI  vs.  CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE TRIAL COURT & others.[1]       January 6, 2017.     Supreme Judicial Court, Superintendence of inferior courts, Removal of register of probate.     Joan E. Oggiani appeals from a judgment of the county court denying her petition for relief under G. L. c. 211, § 3, from a decision of the register of the Berkshire Division of the Probate and Family Court Department of the Trial Court, with the approval of the Chief Justice of the Probate and Family Court, removing her designation as deputy assistant register pursuant to G. L. c. 217, § 29D.[2]  We affirm the judgment.   Oggiani, who has been an employee of the Berkshire Division of the Probate and Family Court since 1980, was designated as the deputy assistant register when that position was created in 1993.  As deputy assistant register, she had certain responsibilities in addition to those of her primary position as a judicial secretary, and she received additional compensation as required by the statute.  In 2015, the register requested the approval of the Chief Justice of the Probate and Family Court to remove Oggiani’s designation, stating that her performance as deputy assistant register did not meet his expectations.[3]  Oggiani objected and disagreed with the register’s characterization of her performance, but the Chief Justice of the Probate and Family Court approved the register’s request.  Oggiani then asked the Chief Justice of the Trial Court and the Court Administrator to review the decision.[4]  They responded that the decision was final.   The single justice did not abuse his discretion or commit an error of law by denying Oggiani’s petition for relief in these circumstances.[5]  Under the plain language of G. L. c. 217, § 29D, a register has the authority to designate and remove a deputy assistant register.  These appear to be discretionary decisions for the register to make, subject only to the approval of the Chief Justice of the Probate and Family Court.[6]  The statute does not state that a register must establish good cause — or indeed, any reason at all — for removal.  This is not a case where the employee alleges that her designation was removed on an improper basis such as race or gender discrimination under G. L. c. 151B, in violation of any public policy, or without good faith.  She only disagrees with […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - January 7, 2017 at 1:50 am

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