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Glovsky v. Roche Bros. Supermarkets, Inc. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-167-14)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us   SJC-11434   STEVEN M. GLOVSKY  vs.  ROCHE BROS. SUPERMARKETS, INC. Norfolk.     February 3, 2014. – October 10, 2014.   Present:  Ireland, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Gants, Duffly, & Lenk, JJ.[1]     Massachusetts Civil Rights Act.  Elections, Ballot.  Constitutional Law, Elections.  Civil Rights, Coercion.  Practice, Civil, Election case, Civil rights, Motion to dismiss.       Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on April 2, 2012.   A motion to dismiss was heard by Renée P. Dupuis, J.   The Supreme Judicial Court granted an application for direct appellate review.     Steven M. Glovsky, pro se. Mark W. Batten for the defendant. John Pagliaro & Martin J. Newhouse, for New England Legal Foundation & others, amici curiae, submitted a brief. Adam J. Kessel, Frank L. Gerratana, & Sarah R. Wunsch, for American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, amicus curiae, submitted a brief.     DUFFLY, J.  Steven M. Glovsky sought to solicit signatures for his nomination to public office outside the entrance to a supermarket owned by the defendant, Roche Bros. Supermarkets, Inc. (Roche Bros.), but was informed that Roche Bros. prohibited this activity on its property.  Glovsky filed suit in the Superior Court claiming that Roche Bros. had violated his right to equal ballot access under art. 9 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights.  He requested relief under the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act, G. L. c. 12, § 11I (act), for a violation of his rights “by threats, intimidation or coercion.”[2]  Roche Bros.’ motion to dismiss pursuant to Mass. R. Civ. P. 12 (b) (6), 365 Mass. 754 (1974), was allowed.  Glovsky appealed, and we granted his application for direct appellate review.  We conclude that Glovsky adequately has alleged a right under art. 9 to solicit nominating signatures outside Roche Bros.’ supermarket, but that Roche Bros. did not violate this right “by threats, intimidation or coercion.”[3] Background.  The complaint sets forth the following allegations.  In early 2012, Glovsky undertook a bid for election to the second district seat on the Governor’s Council.  To place his name on the September 6, 2012, State primary ballot, Glovsky needed to submit, by May 29, 2012, nomination papers containing at least 1,000 certified names.  On February 7, 2012, Glovsky obtained nomination papers from the office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth and began collecting signatures. On the afternoon of March 14, 2012, Glovsky traveled to a location […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - October 10, 2014 at 2:47 pm

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