Posts tagged "1012115"

Wong v. Luu, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-121-15)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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-11789 GARY WONG  vs.  GEORGE V.H. LUU & others[1] (and seven consolidated cases[2]).[3] Suffolk.     March 3, 2015. – July 15, 2015.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, & Duffly, JJ.     Practice, Civil, Attorney’s fees.  Attorney at Law, Conduct prejudicial to administration of justice.       Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on August 17, 2009.   A motion for sanctions, filed on March 29, 2011, was heard by D. Lloyd Macdonald, J.   The Supreme Judicial Court granted an application for direct appellate review.     Michael P. Angelini for Richard Goren. Cynthia Mark (Anne R. Sills with her) for Yu Cheng Liu & another. Gregory P. Turner, for Hop Lee Trading Co., Inc., & others, was present but did not argue. Vy Truong, for Tin World, Inc., was present but did not argue. Debra Squires-Lee & Jessica Gray Kelly, for Boston Bar Association, amicus curiae, submitted a brief.     GANTS, C.J.  The issue presented in this case is the scope of a judge’s authority under the inherent powers of the court to order an attorney for a party to pay the other parties’ attorney’s fees as a sanction for the attorney’s misconduct where that sanction is not authorized by any statute or court rule, and where the attorney has not violated a court order or rule of procedure.  We conclude that a judge may exercise the court’s inherent power to sanction an attorney with an assessment of attorney’s fees only if the attorney has engaged in misconduct that threatens the fair administration of justice and the sanction is necessary to preserve the judge’s authority to administer justice.  Because we conclude that the judge abused his discretion in exercising the court’s inherent powers to sanction the attorney under the circumstances in this case, and that the attorney’s alleged misconduct was more appropriately addressed by a referral to the Board of Bar Overseers (board), we reverse the judge’s order imposing sanctions.[4] Background.  Attorney Richard Goren was the attorney for Cheng Lee Co., Inc. (Cheng Lee), one of the plaintiffs in a complex litigation in the Superior Court arising out of the attempted sale of three supermarkets in the Boston area (the Super 88 stores).  Eight cases, later consolidated, were brought by three groups of plaintiffs:  the “trade creditors” (vendors of the Super 88 stores, including […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - July 19, 2015 at 11:05 pm

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