Posts tagged "1008715"

Walter E. Fernald Corporation v. The Governor, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-087-15)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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;   SJC-11801   WALTER E. FERNALD CORPORATION  vs.  THE GOVERNOR & others.[1]       Suffolk.     February 5, 2015. – May 29, 2015. Present:  Gants, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Duffly, Lenk, & Hines, JJ.     Corporation, Charitable corporation.  Real Property, Ownership. Governmental Immunity.  Agency, Public agent.       Civil action commenced in the Land Court Department on September 8, 2010.   The case was heard by Keith C. Long, J., on a motion for summary judgment.   The Supreme Judicial Court on its own initiative transferred the case from the Appeals Court.     Joseph Callanan, Assistant Attorney General (John M. Donnelly, Assistant Attorney General, with him) for the defendants. Thomas J. Frain (C. Alex Hahn with him) for the plaintiff.     LENK, J.  The Walter E. Fernald Corporation (corporation), established in 1850, is a charitable organization devoted to serving the needs of the developmentally disabled.  The corporation brought an action in the Land Court, seeking, among other things, a declaration under G. L. c. 231A, § 1 (declaratory judgment act), that it is the owner of certain parcels of recorded land.  The parcels are located on Norcross Hill in Templeton (Templeton parcels).  As defendants in its suit, the corporation named the Governor, the Department of Developmental Services, and the Division of Capital Asset Management (collectively, the Commonwealth); the Commonwealth had asserted ownership of the Templeton parcels by, among other things, naming several of them in a statute designating an expanse of land for conservation and public recreational purposes.  See St. 2002, c. 504. A judge of the Land Court denied the Commonwealth’s motion to dismiss the corporation’s suit on grounds of sovereign immunity.  Subsequently, the judge allowed the corporation’s motion for summary judgment.  The judge concluded that there could be no genuine dispute that, although a school established by the corporation became an agency of the Commonwealth in the early Twentieth Century, the corporation itself remained independent of the Commonwealth, and purchased the Templeton parcels on its own behalf.  The judge therefore entered judgment declaring the corporation’s ownership of the parcels. We affirm, holding that sovereign immunity does not apply to the particular type of action brought here and adopting the same analysis of the facts taken by the judge below. 1.  Background.  We outline the facts that gave rise to this litigation, reserving the details for later discussion. The corporation was created by […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - May 29, 2015 at 4:20 pm

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