Posts tagged "Blanchard"

Blanchard, et al. v. Steward Carney Hospital, Inc., et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-082-17)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us   SJC-12141   LYNNE BLANCHARD & others[1]  vs.  STEWARD CARNEY HOSPITAL, INC., & others.[2]       Suffolk.     November 7, 2016. – May 23, 2017.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Botsford, Lenk, Hines, Gaziano, Lowy, & Budd, JJ.[3]     “Anti-SLAPP” Statute.  Constitutional Law, Right to petition government.  Practice, Civil, Motion to dismiss.  Words, “Based on.”       Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on May 24, 2013.   Special motions to dismiss were heard by Linda E. Giles, J.   After review by the Appeals Court, the Supreme Judicial Court granted leave to obtain further appellate review.     Jeffrey A. Dretler (Joseph W. Ambash also present) for the defendants. Dahlia C. Rudavsky (Ellen J. Messing also present) for the plaintiffs. Donald J. Siegel & Paige W. McKissock, for Massachusetts AFL-CIO, amicus curiae, submitted a brief.     LENK, J.  In the spring of 2011, following reports of abuse at the adolescent psychiatric unit (unit) of Steward Carney Hospital, Inc., then president of the hospital, William Walczak, fired all of the registered nurses and mental health counsellors who worked in the unit.  Walczak subsequently issued statements, both to the hospital’s employees and to the Boston Globe Newspaper Co. (Boston Globe), arguably to the effect that the nurses had been fired based in part on their culpability for the incidents that took place at the unit.  The plaintiffs, nine of the nurses who had been fired, then filed suit against the defendants for, among other things, defamation. The hospital defendants[4] responded by filing a special motion to dismiss the defamation claim pursuant to G. L. c. 231, § 59H, the “anti-SLAPP” statute.  A Superior Court judge denied the motion, concluding that the hospital defendants had failed to meet their threshold burden of showing that the claim was based solely on their petitioning activity.  The hospital defendants filed an interlocutory appeal in the Appeals Court as of right.  See Fabre v. Walton, 436 Mass. 517, 521–522 (2002).  The Appeals Court then reversed the motion judge’s decision in part.  See Blanchard v. Steward Carney Hosp., Inc., 89 Mass. App. Ct. 97, 98 (2016).  We granted the parties’ applications for further appellate review.  We conclude that a portion of the plaintiff nurses’ defamation claim is based solely on the hospital defendants’ petitioning activity.  The hospital defendants as special movants thus having satisfied in […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - May 24, 2017 at 1:48 am

Categories: News   Tags: , , , , , , ,

Commonwealth v. Blanchard (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-036-17)

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; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us   SJC-12041   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  MICHAEL BLANCHARD.     February 27, 2017.     Practice, Criminal, Jury and jurors, Deliberation of jury, Instructions to jury, Voir dire, Mistrial, Confrontation of witnesses, Required finding.  Constitutional Law, Jury, Confrontation of witnesses.  Jury and Jurors.  Evidence, Expert opinion, Cross-examination.  Witness, Cross-examination.  Firearms.  License.     In the early morning hours of March 16, 2010, the defendant, by his own admission, fired multiple shots into the window of the apartment where Stephen Erving, Jr., was asleep, and killed him.  The Commonwealth charged the defendant with murder in the first degree, armed assault with the intent to murder, and carrying a firearm without a license.  At trial, there was an issue whether the defendant’s actions were consistent with manslaughter where he argued that he fired the shots to scare, not kill, Erving, who purportedly had threatened the defendant and his family.  The jury ultimately convicted the defendant of murder in the second degree and carrying a firearm without a license.  He appealed from the convictions to the Appeals Court.   Before the Appeals Court, the defendant argued (among other claims) that the trial judge improperly denied his motion for a mistrial on the ground that during the jury’s deliberations, the jurors were exposed to the contents of a binder belonging to the judge that contained copies of various motions, photographs, and transcripts, and included materials that had been excluded as evidence at trial.[1]  The defendant’s position was that the extraneous materials were a factor in the jury’s decision to convict him of murder in the second degree, and that he was therefore prejudiced by the jurors’ unauthorized exposure to them.  The Appeals Court upheld the judge’s denial of the defendant’s motion for a mistrial, rejected his other claims of error, and affirmed the convictions.  Commonwealth v. Blanchard, 88 Mass. App. Ct. 637 (2016).  We granted the defendant’s application for further appellate review, and affirm the convictions.   The principal issue before us is whether the jury’s exposure to the judge’s binder during deliberations should have resulted in a mistrial.  Where a jury have been exposed to extraneous materials, we have differentiated between cases in which the exposure comes to light before a seated jury have completed deliberations, and cases where the exposure is discovered after jurors have already had been discharged.[2]  Compare Commonwealth v. Mejia, 461 Mass. […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - February 28, 2017 at 11:56 pm

Categories: News   Tags: , , , ,

Blanchard, et al. v. Steward Carney Hospital, Inc., et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-020-16)

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   14-P-717                                        Appeals Court   LYNNE BLANCHARD & others[1]  vs.  STEWARD CARNEY HOSPITAL, INC., & others.[2]     No. 14-P-717. Suffolk.     January 14, 2015. – February 24, 2016.   Present:  Katzmann, Sullivan, & Blake, JJ.     “Anti-SLAPP” Statute.  Constitutional Law, Right to petition government.  Practice, Civil, Standing, Motion to dismiss.       Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on May 24, 2013.   A special motion to dismiss was heard by Linda E. Giles, J.     Jeffrey A. Dretler (Katharine A. Crawford & Joseph W. Ambash with him) for the defendants. Dahlia C. Rudavsky for the plaintiffs.     KATZMANN, J.  In this case we consider whether the defendants’ special motion to dismiss the plaintiffs’ defamation claim pursuant to G. L. c. 231, § 59H, widely known as the “anti-SLAPP”[3] statute, was properly denied.  The central question is whether, during a period of crisis when Steward Carney Hospital (Carney Hospital or hospital) faced the loss of its license to operate an in-patient adolescent psychiatric unit (unit) because of purported patient abuse and neglect, statements quoted in a newspaper made by the president of the hospital, and an electronic mail message (e-mail) the president sent to hospital staff announcing the dismissal of unnamed employees in the unit under review, constituted protected petitioning activity.  A judge in the Superior Court denied the motion because she found that the statements upon which the claim was based did not qualify as protected petitioning activity and, therefore, the defendants could not seek protection of the anti-SLAPP statute.  We conclude that the statements quoted in the newspaper constitute protected petitioning activity, but that the internal e-mail does not.  Accordingly, we affirm in part and reverse in part. Background.  The key facts of this case, as derived from the judge’s decision below, the newspaper articles at issue, affidavits by those involved in the investigation, testimony in a related arbitration proceeding (see note 4, infra), and relevant reports, are as follows.  The plaintiffs are all registered nurses (RNs) who had been working in the unit for a number of years.  In April, 2011, complaints were made concerning four incidents of alleged patient abuse or neglect within the unit.  None of the alleged incidents involved abuse or neglect of a patient by any of the plaintiffs (or any other RN).  The incidents were reported to the Department of […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - February 24, 2016 at 8:22 pm

Categories: News   Tags: , , , , , , ,

Commonwealth v. Blanchard (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-177-15)

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   14-P-645                                        Appeals Court   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  MICHAEL BLANCHARD. No. 14-P-645. Norfolk.     October 2, 2015. – November 12, 2015.   Present:  Katzmann, Grainger, & Maldonado, JJ. Practice, Criminal, Jury and jurors, Deliberation of jury, Instructions to jury, Voir dire, Mistrial, Confrontation of witnesses, Required finding.  Constitutional Law, Jury, Confrontation of witnesses.  Jury and Jurors.  Evidence, Expert opinion, Cross-examination.  Witness, Cross-examination.  Firearms.  License.       Indictments found and returned in the Superior Court Department on April 16, 2010.   The cases were tried before Elizabeth M. Fahey, J.     William S. Smith for the defendant. Pamela L. Alford, Assistant District Attorney (Gregory P. Connor, Assistant District Attorney, with her) for the Commonwealth.      GRAINGER, J.  The defendant was convicted by a jury in Superior Court of murder in the second degree, G. L. c. 265, § 1, and carrying a firearm without a license, G. L. c. 269, § 10(a).[1]  On appeal, he asserts that the trial judge improperly denied his motion for a mistrial, erred in admitting testimony of a substitute medical examiner, erred in preventing his line of questioning on cross-examination, and that there was insufficient evidence to support the firearms conviction.  We set forth the background of the case as it pertains to the issues on appeal. Background.  After the jury had reached their verdicts, but before they were announced, the prosecutor was informed by a court officer that a white three-ring binder containing the judge’s copy of the motions in limine, including documents and photographs excluded from trial and a complete unredacted set of jail telephone call transcripts, had been delivered into the jury deliberations room.[2]  The prosecutor alerted defense counsel and, after reviewing the binder together, they recognized that it was not in evidence.  Outside the presence of the jury, counsel then brought this matter to the attention of the judge.  The judge noted that the binder was not intended to be submitted to the jury.  Upon inquiry, it was discovered that the binder had been inadvertently included with the exhibits brought over to the jury room.  The judge stated to counsel:  “I would be shocked if I don’t have to declare a mistrial if [the jury] did review it.” The judge then conducted individual voir dire examinations of each juror about the binder in accordance with Commonwealth v. Mejia, 461 Mass. 384, 393-396 (2012) (Mejia).[3]  Several jurors recalled having looked through […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - November 12, 2015 at 7:03 pm

Categories: News   Tags: , , , ,