Posts tagged "1013814"

Service Employees International Union, Local 509 v. Department of Mental Health (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-138-14)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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;   SJC-11544   SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION, LOCAL 509  vs.  DEPARTMENT OF MENTAL HEALTH.       Suffolk.     April 7, 2014. – August 15, 2014.   Present:  Ireland, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Gants, Duffly, & Lenk, JJ.[1] Privatization Act.  Commissioner of Mental Health.  Auditor. Declaratory Relief.  Practice, Civil, Declaratory proceeding, Standing, Parties, Failure to join party.   Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on February 15, 2012.   The case was heard by Merita A. Hopkins, J., on a motion for judgment on the pleadings.   The Supreme Judicial Court granted an application for direct appellate review.     Alfred Gordon O’Connell for the plaintiff. Jo Ann Shotwell Kaplan, Assistant Attorney General, for the defendant. Donald J. Siegel & James A.W. Shaw, for Massachusetts AFL-CIO, amicus curiae, submitted a brief. Gerald A. McDonough, for the Auditor of the Commonwealth, amicus curiae, submitted a brief.     LENK, J.  The plaintiff, Service Employees International Union, Local 509 (union), appeals from an order of a Superior Court judge dismissing its complaint for declaratory judgment pursuant to G. L. c. 231A, §§ 1, 2, and 5. In that complaint, the union alleged that the Department of Mental Health (DMH) violated the Massachusetts privatization statute, G. L. c. 7, §§ 52-55 (Pacheco Law), by entering into contracts with private entities to obtain services substantially similar to those performed by members of the union, but failing to comply with relevant statutory obligations.  DMH filed an answer as well as a motion for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Mass. R. Civ. P. 12 (c), 365 Mass. 754 (1974).  After a hearing, the judge granted DMH’s motion, which she treated as a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under Mass. R. Civ. P. 12 (b) (1), 365 Mass. 754 (1974).  The judge determined that the union lacked both direct and associational standing to seek declaratory relief and, additionally, that the union’s failure to join necessary parties constituted a separate jurisdictional bar requiring dismissal.  The judge did not err in declining to consider the union’s complaint on the basis of its failure to name all necessary parties.  However, because we conclude that the union has direct standing to seek a declaratory judgment under G. L. c. 231A that would invalidate the contracts at issue, we remand the case to the Superior Court for the limited purpose of allowing the union to seek leave to amend […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - August 15, 2014 at 8:41 pm

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