Posts tagged "1017617"

Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice v. Court Administrator of the Trial Court, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-176-17)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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;   SJC-12379   LAWYERS’ COMMITTEE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS AND ECONOMIC JUSTICE  vs.  court administrator of the Trial Court & others.[1]     November 6, 2017.     Moot Question.  Practice, Civil, Moot case.  Trial Court.  Public Records.     The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice (Lawyers’ Committee) appeals from a judgment of the county court dismissing as moot its petition seeking declaratory and injunctive relief requiring the respondents, who are the court administrator, office of court management, and executive office of the Trial Court, to produce certain records pursuant to the public records law.  G. L. c. 66, § 10.  We directed the parties to file memoranda addressing whether the single justice erred or abused his discretion in dismissing the case as moot.  After reviewing the parties’ submissions, we affirm the judgment.   The facts are not in dispute.  The Lawyers’ Committee requested that the respondents produce documents concerning the demographics of the security department of the Trial Court, by race and gender, and the department’s hiring and promotion practices.  The Lawyers’ Committee cited the public records law, G. L. c. 66, § 10, as the basis of its request.  In response, the respondents stated that “[a]s part of the [j]udicial branch of government, the Massachusetts Trial Court . . . is not subject to the [p]ublic [r]ecords [l]aw.[[2]] . . . Despite that exemption, we are considering your request and will respond appropriately in due course.”  The Lawyers’ Committee petitioned the supervisor of records for a determination that the requested records were public records under G. L. c. 66.  The supervisor of records responded that “[r]ecords in the custody of the [c]ourt are records of the judiciary and are outside the jurisdiction of the public records law.”  Some months later, having received no documents in response to its request, the Lawyers’ Committee filed its petition.  Thereafter, the court administrator wrote to the Lawyers’ Committee, stating that the Trial Court intended to collect responsive documents and produce them.[3]  The respondents did in fact voluntarily produce documents that were responsive to the Lawyers’ Committee’s request.   The respondents represent, as they did before the single justice, that they have produced all responsive documents in their possession, custody, or control that are not confidential or privileged.  The Lawyers’ Committee does not dispute this or claim that any documents are being wrongfully withheld.  There is nothing further that a court can order […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - November 6, 2017 at 9:21 pm

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