Posts tagged "General"

Exxon Mobil Corporation v. Attorney General (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-058-18)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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-12376   EXXON MOBIL CORPORATION  vs.  ATTORNEY GENERAL.       Suffolk.     December 5, 2017. – April 13, 2018.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Gaziano, Lowy, Budd, Cypher, & Kafker, JJ.     Attorney General.  Consumer Protection Act, Investigative demand.  Jurisdiction, Personal, Foreign corporation, Long-arm statute.  Due Process of Law, Jurisdiction over nonresident.       Motion filed in the Superior Court Department on June 16, 2016.   The proceeding was heard by Heidi E. Brieger, J.   The Supreme Judicial Court on its own initiative transferred the case from the Appeals Court.     Justin Anderson, of the District of Columbia (Jamie D. Brooks & Theodore V. Wells, Jr., of New York, Thomas C. Frongillo, & Caroline K. Simons also present) for the plaintiff. Richard A. Johnston, Assistant Attorney General (Melissa A. Hoffer, I. Andrew Goldberg, Christopher G. Courchesne, Peter C. Mulcahy, & Seth Schofield, Assistant Attorneys General, also present) for the defendant. Wendy B. Jacobs & Shaun A. Goho, for Francis X. Bellotti & others, amici curiae, submitted a brief. Archis A. Parasharami, of the District of Columbia, & Steven P. Lehotsky, for Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America, amicus curiae, submitted a brief.          CYPHER, J.  In 2015, news reporters released internal documents from Exxon Mobil Corporation (Exxon) purporting to show that the company knew, long before the general public, that emissions from fossil fuels — Exxon’s principal product — contributed to global warming and climate change, and that in order to avoid the consequences of climate change it would be necessary to reduce drastically global fossil fuel consumption.  The documents also purported to establish that despite Exxon’s knowledge of climate risks, the company failed to disclose that knowledge to the public, and instead sought to undermine the evidence of climate change altogether, in order to preserve its value as a company. Upon reviewing this information, the Attorney General believed that Exxon’s marketing or sale of fossil fuel products in Massachusetts may have violated the State’s primary consumer protection law, G. L. c. 93A.  Based on her authority under G. L. c. 93A, § 6, the Attorney General issued a civil investigative demand (C.I.D.) to Exxon, seeking documents and information relating to Exxon’s knowledge of and activities related to climate change. Exxon responded by filing a motion in the Superior Court, pursuant to G. L. c. […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - April 13, 2018 at 2:37 pm

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Committee for Public Counsel Services, et al. v. Attorney General of Massachusetts, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-051-18)

SUFFOLK, ss. COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT FOR SUFFOLK COUNTY No. SJ-2017-347 COMMITTEE FOR PUBLIC COUNSEL SERVICES, HAMPDEN COUNTY LAWYERS FOR JUSTICE, INC., HERSCHELLE REAVES, and NICOLE WESTCOTT vs. ATTORNEY GENERAL of MASSACHUSETTS, DISTRICT ATTORNEY for BERKSHIRE COUNTY, DISTRICT ATTORNEY for BRISTOL COUNTY, DISTRICT ATTORNEY for the CAPE and ISLANDS, DISTRICT ATTORNEY for ESSEX COUNTY, DISTRICT ATTORNEY for HAMPDEN COUNTY, DISTRICT ATTORNEY for MIDDLESEX COUNTY, DISTRICT ATTORNEY for NORFOLK COUNTY, DISTRICT ATTORNEY for the NORTHWESTERN DISTRICT, DISTRICT ATTORNEY for PLYMOUTH COUNTY, DISTRICT ATTORNEY for SUFFOLK COUNTY, and DISTRICT ATTORNEY for WORCESTER COUNTY DECLARATORY JUDGMENT This matter came before the court, Gaziano, J., on a petition pursuant to G L. c. 211, § 3, seeking relief for defendants affected by the misconduct of state chemist Sonja Farak. As an initial matter, the respondents — the Attorney General and the offices of the Massachusetts District Attorneys — have agreed to vacate certain convictions obtained using drug certificates signed by Sonja Farak. The respondents have filed with the court, and served on the petitioners, formatted interim lists identifying the defendants and their convictions, delinquency or youthful offender adjudications, or other adverse dispositions that the respondents agree should be vacated and dismissed with prejudice. The convictions, adjudications, or other dispositions of those cases are addressed in this orcler. Final lists are to be provided by the respondents and filed with this court no later than April 30, 2018. Those lists may result in additional dismissals. Accordingly, it is ORDERED that the convictions of drug offenses under G. L. 94C that have been so identified by the respondents in the interim lists filed with this court on or before March 30,2018, shall be and are hereby VACATED AND DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE, and any outstanding warrants associated with those convictions are recalled. The clerk shall provide copies of the formatted lists to the Judicial Information Services Department of the trial comi fmihwith in order to effectuate the dismissals. Entered: April 5, 2018 ~ Comi (Gaz.·ia./n.o, J.), fiJ1{y- , ‘\ (‘ – . f;} – /8 r. ;/ . I !f~{A /1 2~U lriaura S. Doy~~re~J I /~ ‘4 Full-text Opinions

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - April 6, 2018 at 12:09 am

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Dunn, et al. v. Attorney General, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-094-16)

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   SJC-12107   JAMES H. DUNN & another[1]  vs.  ATTORNEY GENERAL & others.[2]       Suffolk.     June 8, 2016. – July 6, 2016.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Duffly, Lenk, & Hines, JJ.     Initiative.  Constitutional Law, Initiative petition.  Attorney General.  Animal.       Civil action commenced in the Supreme Judicial Court for the county of Suffolk on April 25, 2016.   The case was reported by Duffly, J.     Katherine J. Spohn, of Nebraska (Mary Jacobson, of Nebraska, with her) for the plaintiffs. Elizabeth N. Dewar, Assistant Attorney General, for the defendants. Thomas O. Bean for the interveners.     GANTS, C.J.  In this appeal, we consider whether the Attorney General properly certified an initiative petition proposing a new law that would prohibit (1) confinement of egg-laying hens, calves raised for veal, and breeding pigs on a commercial farm “in a cruel manner,” i.e., under conditions that prevent them from lying down, standing up, fully extending their limbs, or turning around freely; and (2) the sale by any business within the Commonwealth of “shell” eggs, “whole veal meat,” and “whole pork meat” that the business owner or operator “knows or should know” was produced from animals so confined.  The plaintiffs contend that this initiative petition was not properly certified because the animal confinement restriction and the prohibition against sale are not related or mutually dependent subjects, and because the petition is not in “proper form” insofar as it contains a statement of purpose that does not constitute a “law” to be voted upon by the people.  See art. 48, The Initiative, II, §§ 2, 3, of the Amendments to the Massachusetts Constitution, as amended by art. 74 of the Amendments.  We conclude that the subjects contained in the petition are sufficiently related to meet the requirements of art. 48, and that the brief statement of purpose in the proposed measure does not render it unfit for submission to the voters.  We therefore conclude that the initiative petition was properly certified by the Attorney General. Background.  In August, 2015, the Attorney General received a signed initiative petition entitled “An Act to prevent cruelty to farm animals,” which she numbered as Initiative Petition 15-11 (petition 15-11 or petition).  The petition contains two principal provisions, which we shall refer to as the “farm provision” and the “sales provision.” […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - July 6, 2016 at 7:41 pm

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Hensley, et al. v. Attorney General, et al; Allen, et al. v. Attorney General, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-093-16)

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   SJC-12106 SJC-12117   JOSEPHINE HENSLEY & others[1]  vs.  ATTORNEY GENERAL & another.[2]   MATTHEW JOHN ALLEN & others[3]  vs.  ATTORNEY GENERAL & another.[4]       Suffolk.     June 8, 2016. – July 6, 2016.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Duffly, Lenk, & Hines, JJ.     Initiative.  Constitutional Law, Initiative petition.  Attorney General.  Marijuana.       Civil action commenced in the Supreme Judicial Court for the county of Suffolk on April 22, 2016.   The case was reported by Duffly, J.   Civil action commenced in the Supreme Judicial Court for the county of Suffolk on May 10, 2016.   The case was reported by Spina, J.     John S. Scheft for Josephine Hensley & others. Robert E. Toone, Assistant Attorney General, for the defendants. Thomas R. Kiley for Matthew John Allen & others. David G. Evans, of New Jersey, for Massachusetts Hospital Association & others, amici curiae, submitted a brief.     GANTS, C.J.  We have before us two cases involving an initiative petition that, if approved by the voters in the November, 2016, election, would legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana and products that contain marijuana concentrate.  The plaintiffs in the first case (Hensley case) claim that the Attorney General erred in certifying the petition for inclusion on the ballot under art. 48 of the Amendments to the Massachusetts Constitution because it contains subjects that are not related or mutually dependent.  They also claim that the Attorney General’s summary of the measure is not fair.  Finally, they contend that, if the question is to be included on the ballot, we should require the Attorney General and the Secretary of the Commonwealth (Secretary) to amend the title and the one-sentence statements they prepared because they are clearly misleading, in violation of G. L. c. 54, § 53.  The plaintiffs in the second case (Allen case) include eleven of the original fifteen signers of the initiative petition.  They challenge only the title and the one-sentence “yes” statement prepared by the Attorney General and the Secretary, but on grounds different from those alleged by the Hensley plaintiffs. We conclude that the Attorney General did not err in certifying the petition for inclusion on the ballot under art. 48 because the petition contains only related subjects.  We also conclude that her summary of it is fair.  Finally, we conclude that it is clear that the […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - July 6, 2016 at 4:08 pm

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Gray, et al. v. Attorney General, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-092-16)

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   SJC-12064   STEPHANIE GRAY & others[1]  vs.  ATTORNEY GENERAL & another.[2]       Suffolk.     May 2, 2016. – July 1, 2016.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Duffly, Lenk, & Hines, JJ.     Initiative.  Constitutional Law, Initiative petition.  Attorney General.  Education, Standards.       Civil action commenced in the Supreme Judicial Court for the county of Suffolk on January 22, 2016.   The case was reported by Cordy, J.     Thaddeus A. Heuer (Andrew M. London with him) for the plaintiffs. Juliana deHaan Rice, Assistant Attorney General (Michael B. Firestone, Assistant Attorney General, with her) for the defendants.     BOTSFORD, J.  The Attorney General has certified an initiative petition that concerns, and seeks to end, the use of the Common Core State Standards (common core standards) in defining the educational curriculum of publicly funded elementary and secondary students in the Commonwealth.  The petition also concerns the standardized testing process used in Massachusetts school districts:  it would require the Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education (commissioner) to publicly release each year all of the questions and other “test items” included in the prior year’s comprehensive assessment tests that all publicly funded students in elementary and secondary schools are required to take.  The plaintiffs, a group of Massachusetts voters, challenge the Attorney General’s certification of the petition and seek to enjoin the Secretary of the Commonwealth (Secretary) from placing the proposed measure on the 2016 Statewide ballot on a number of grounds.  We conclude, as the plaintiffs argue, that the Attorney General’s certification of Initiative Petition 15-12 did not comply with art. 48, The Initiative, II, § 3, of the Amendments to the Massachusetts Constitution because it contains provisions that are not related or mutually dependent.[3]  It is therefore unnecessary to consider the plaintiffs’ other challenges. 1.  Background.[4]  The common core standards were developed in 2009 as part of a State-led initiative that included governors and commissioners of education from forty-eight States, two territories, and the District of Columbia working as members of the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers.  The purpose of the initiative was to create consistent learning goals to ensure that all students graduate from high school with the requisite preparation for “college, career, and life.”  See Development Process, Common Core State Standards Initiative, http://www.corestandards.org/about-the-standards/development-process/ […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - July 1, 2016 at 6:03 pm

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Bogertman, et al. v. Attorney General, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-090-16)

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   SJC-12063   TIMOTHY BOGERTMAN & others[1]  vs.  ATTORNEY GENERAL & another.[2] Suffolk.     May 2, 2016. – June 28, 2016.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Spina, Botsford, Duffly, Lenk, & Hines, JJ.     Initiative.  Constitutional Law, Initiative petition.  Attorney General.  Gaming.       Civil action commenced in the Supreme Judicial Court for the county of Suffolk on December 7, 2015.   The case was reported by Cordy, J.     Matthew S. Cameron for the plaintiffs. Elizabeth N. Dewar, Assistant State Solicitor, for the defendants. Jeffrey S. King & Hayley Trahan-Liptak, for Eugene McCain, amicus curiae, submitted a brief.     GANTS, C.J.  In this appeal, we decide whether the Attorney General properly certified an initiative petition that seeks to amend G. L. c. 23K to authorize the Gaming Commission (commission) to award one additional license for a slot machine parlor.  Article 48 of the Amendments to the Massachusetts Constitution, which governs the process for presenting proposed laws directly to Massachusetts voters through popular initiatives, sets forth certain standards for initiative petitions.  In this case, the plaintiffs contend that the petition violates two of art. 48′s restrictions, which prohibit initiative petitions that are (1) limited to local matters, or (2) substantially the same as those presented at either of the two preceding biennial State elections.  See art. 48, The Initiative, II, §§ 2, 3, of the Amendments to the Massachusetts Constitution, as amended by art. 74 of the Amendments.  We conclude that the petition complies with these provisions and was therefore properly certified by the Attorney General. Background.  In 2011, the Legislature enacted the Expanded Gaming Act, St. 2011, c. 194, which established the commission and a highly structured process for introducing, licensing, and regulating casino and slots gambling in the Commonwealth under a new statute, G. L. c. 23K.  See Abdow v. Attorney Gen., 468 Mass. 478, 480-483 (2014) (describing Expanded Gaming Act).  Chapter 23K authorizes the commission to award up to three “category 1″ licenses for gaming establishments “with table games and slot machines” (i.e., casinos) in certain specified regions of the Commonwealth, and no more than one “category 2″ license for a gaming establishment “with no table games and not more than 1,250 slot machines” (i.e., a slots parlor).  See G. L. c. 23K, § 2 (defining category 1 and 2 licenses); G. L. c. 23K, § 19 (a) (specifying number and regional locations of category […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - June 28, 2016 at 2:55 pm

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Abdow, et al. v. Attorney General, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-111-14)

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‑11641   STEPHEN P. ABDOW & others[1]  vs.  ATTORNEY GENERAL & others.[2]     Suffolk.     May 5, 2014.  ‑  June 24, 2014. Present:  Ireland, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Gants, Duffly, & Lenk, JJ.   Initiative.  Gaming.  Pari Mutuel Wagering.  Attorney General.  Constitutional Law, Initiative petition, Taking of property, Police power.  Due Process of Law, Taking of property.  Elections, Ballot, Validity of petition.  Contract, Implied.  License.       Civil action commenced in the Supreme Judicial Court for the county of Suffolk on September 10, 2013.   The case was reported by Spina, J.     Thomas O. Bean (H. Reed Witherby with him) for the plaintiffs.   Carl Valvo for George Ducharme & others. Peter Sacks, State Solicitor, for the defendants. Mary Katherine Geraghty, Timothy J. Fazio, & Jennifer L. Morse, for Daniel Rizzo & others, were present but did not argue. Edward M. Pikula, City Solicitor, & Frank E. Antonucci, for Dominic J. Sarno & others, were present but did not argue. The following submitted briefs for amici curiae: Daniel O’Connell for Massachusetts Competitive Partnership. Brian D. Tobin for Massachusetts Council of Churches & others. Ellen Weiss Freyman & William J. Smith for Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield & another. Thomas R. Landry for New England Regional Council of Carpenters. Jonathan M. Silverstein & Janelle M. Austin for town of Plainville. Donald J. Siegel & Jasper Groner for Massachusetts Building Trades Council. Melinda M. Phelps & Jennifer K. Cannon for Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau, Inc. Edward L. Sweda, Jr., for Public Health Advocacy Institute. Nicole Micheroni for Coalition of Citizens and Community Leaders. Brian T. Corrigan for Stop Predatory Gambling.   GANTS, J.  The issue presented on appeal is whether an initiative petition meant to prohibit casino and slots gambling and abolish parimutuel wagering on simulcast greyhound races meets the requirements set forth in art. 48 of the Amendments to the Massachusetts Constitution and, therefore, may be considered by voters at the November Statewide election.  The Attorney General concluded that it did not and, accordingly, declined to certify it for inclusion on the ballot.  The plaintiffs, ten Massachusetts voters who submitted the proposed initiative for certification, filed a complaint challenging the Attorney General’s decision and sought an order requiring the Attorney General to certify the petition.  We conclude that the Attorney General erred in declining to […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - June 24, 2014 at 4:29 pm

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Harmon Law Offices, P.C. v. Attorney General (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-085-13)

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; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us     12‑P‑407                                        Appeals Court   HARMON LAW OFFICES, P.C.  vs.  ATTORNEY GENERAL.     No. 12‑P‑407. Suffolk.     October 11, 2012.  ‑  June 28, 2013. Present:  Graham, Vuono, & Hanlon, JJ.       Attorney General.  Consumer Protection Act, Demand letter.  Mortgage, Foreclosure.  Attorney at Law, Attorney‑client relationship.  Privileged Communication.  Practice, Civil, Interlocutory appeal.       Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on October 15, 2010.   The case was heard by Bonnie H. MacLeod‑Mancuso, J.     Evan T. Lawson (Michele A. Hunton with him) for the plaintiff. Jonathan B. Engel, Assistant Attorney General, for the defendant.       VUONO, J.  Acting pursuant to her authority under the Massachusetts consumer protection act, G. L. c. 93A (c. 93A or the statute), the Attorney General issued two civil investigative demands (CIDs or demands) to Harmon Law Offices, P.C. (Harmon), seeking information regarding its foreclosure and eviction practices.[1]  Harmon challenged the demands and filed a complaint seeking relief under § 6(7) of the statute.[2]  After a hearing, a judge of the Superior Court concluded that Harmon had not met its burden of showing good cause to set aside the CIDs and dismissed the complaint.  Harmon appeals, claiming that the judge abused her discretion because the demands interfere with Harmon’s attorney-client relationships, and the requested documents are protected by the litigation privilege.  Harmon also contends that, by representing its clients in foreclosure and eviction proceedings, it is not engaged in trade or commerce and therefore cannot be subject to liability under c. 93A.  Thus, Harmon maintains, the Attorney General exceeded her authority by requesting information directly from Harmon regarding possible violations of c. 93A.  For substantially the reasons articulated by the Superior Court judge in her thorough memorandum of decision and order dismissing Harmon’s complaint, we conclude that Harmon has not met its burden of showing good cause why it should not be required to produce the requested documents.  Accordingly, we affirm. 1.  Appellate review of the judge’s order.  We begin by addressing a procedural issue which neither party has brought to our attention.  An order denying a motion brought pursuant to c. 93A, § 6(7), to set aside or modify a CID is to be distinguished from an order of compliance issued by a court under § 7 of the statute.  The former is interlocutory and not appealable as a final order, see […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - June 28, 2013 at 10:15 pm

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