Posts tagged "1015113"

Alicea v. Commonwealth (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-151-13)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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‑11293 LUIS ALICEA  vs.  COMMONWEALTH.   Suffolk.     April 4, 2013.  ‑  August 9, 2013. Present:  Ireland, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Gants, Duffly, & Lenk, JJ.     Collateral Estoppel.  Practice, Civil, Judgment, Summary judgment.  Res Judicata.  Judgment, Preclusive effect.     Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on December 9, 2008.   The case was heard by Paul E. Troy, J., on motions for summary judgment.   The Supreme Judicial Court on its own initiative transferred the case from the Appeals Court.     Dakota D. Martin for the plaintiff. Sarah M. Joss, Assistant Attorney General, for the Commonwealth. Alex G. Philipson, pro se, amicus curiae, submitted a brief.     DUFFLY, J.  After spending three and one-half years in State prison, Luis Alicea filed suit in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts against his former defense counsel, Lawrence J. McGuire, an attorney employed by the Committee for Public Counsel Services.[1]  Alicea’s complaint asserted claims of intentional infliction of emotional distress and violation of 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1988.[2]  These claims were based on Alicea’s assertions that he should have received a one-year sentence in connection with his plea of guilty to a firearm offense, and that McGuire’s conduct, allegedly having conspired with the prosecutor, had resulted in Alicea’s serving an illegal sentence of three and one-half years.  A United States District Court judge granted summary judgment in favor of McGuire; the judgment was affirmed by the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit (First Circuit).   While his United States District Court case was pending, Alicea commenced the underlying action in the Superior Court against the Commonwealth as McGuire’s employer; McGuire was not named as a defendant.  The Superior Court action asserted claims of malpractice and negligent infliction of emotional distress, premised on the allegation that McGuire had caused Alicea to serve an illegal sentence.  Concluding that the judgment entered in the Federal action precluded Alicea from litigating the issue of his purported entitlement to a one-year sentence, a Superior Court judge allowed the Commonwealth’s motion for summary judgment.  Alicea appealed, and we transferred the case from the Appeals Court on our own motion. Because the issue central to Alicea’s claims in the Superior Court was decided in the Federal action, application of the doctrine of issue preclusion under Federal common law […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - August 10, 2013 at 9:54 am

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