Posts tagged "1018014"

Bellerman, et al. v. Fitchburg Gas and Electric Light Company (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-180-14)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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-11492   MARCIA D. BELLERMANN & others1  vs.  FITCHBURG GAS AND ELECTRIC LIGHT COMPANY. Worcester.     March 4, 2014. – October 30, 2014.   Present:  Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Gants, Duffly, & Lenk, JJ. Electric Company.  Public Utilities, Electric company.  Practice, Civil, Class action, Consumer protection case, Judicial discretion.  Consumer Protection Act, Class action, Unfair or deceptive act.  Administrative Law, Preclusive effect of decision.  Collateral Estoppel.  Estoppel.       Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on January 7, 2009.   Motions for class certification and for summary judgment were heard by Douglas H. Wilkins, J., and a decision denying class certification was reported by him to the Appeals Court.   A proceeding for interlocutory review was heard in the Appeals court by Cynthia J. Cohen, J., and after consolidation of the appeals, the Supreme Judicial Court granted an application for direct appellate review.     Barry M. Altman & C. Deborah Phillips (James L. O’Connor, Jr., Edwin H. Howard, & James M. Galliher with them) for the plaintiffs. Gavin J. Rooney, of New Jersey (Natalie J. Kraner, of New Jersey, with him) for the defendant. Robin L. Main for Massachusetts Electric Company & others, amici curiae, submitted a brief.     DUFFLY, J.  This case arises out of a major ice storm that struck areas of the northeastern United States in December, 2008 (Winter Storm 2008).  The defendant, Fitchburg Gas and Electric Light Company (FG&E), is a public utility that provides electric service to customers in the municipalities of Fitchburg, Lunenburg, Townsend, and Ashby, which were among those affected by the storm.  FG&E is one of the utilities owned by Unitil Corporation (Unitil).  The plaintiffs are twelve residential and business customers of FG&E who lost power during Winter Storm 2008.  They filed a suit in the Superior Court on behalf of themselves and those similarly situated, asserting claims of gross negligence and violation of G. L. c. 93A.  Pursuant to G. L. c. 93A, §§ 9 (2) and 11,2 and Mass. R. Civ. P. 23, as amended, 452 Mass. 1401 (2008) (rule 23),3 the plaintiffs moved to certify a class consisting of FG&E’s residential and business customers; their dependents, tenants, and employees; and other users of electricity who sustained damages as a result of FG&E’s inadequate preparation for and response to Winter Storm 2008.  The parties also filed cross-motions for partial summary judgment on the plaintiffs’ […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - October 30, 2014 at 5:47 pm

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