Posts tagged "1108615"

Brown v. Office of the Commissioner of Probation (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-086-15)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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;   14-P-1055                                       Appeals Court   HELEN BROWN  vs.  OFFICE OF THE COMMISSIONER OF PROBATION. No. 14-P-1055. Suffolk.     April 21, 2015. – August 4, 2015.   Present:  Green, Fecteau, & Agnes, JJ.     Public Employment.  Governmental Immunity.  Judgment, Interest. Damages, Punitive, Interest, Attorney’s fees.  Interest. Waiver.  Practice, Civil, Interest, Waiver, Attorney’s fees, Costs.       Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on August 13, 2007.   Following review by this court, 84 Mass. App. Ct. 1109 (2013), a motion for postjudgment interest was considered by Paul E. Troy, J., and judgment was entered by him.     Jonathan J. Margolis (Beth R. Myers with him) for the plaintiff. Sally A. VanderWeele, Assistant Attorney General, for the defendant. David A. Russcol, for Massachusetts Employment Lawyers Association, amicus curiae, submitted a brief.      FECTEAU, J.  This case presents the novel issue of whether a plaintiff who recovers punitive damages as part of a judgment under the provisions of G. L. c. 151B, § 9, against a subdivision of the Commonwealth may be awarded postjudgment interest on that award and on the award of attorney’s fees and costs, or whether sovereign immunity bars such interest.[1]  The statutes relevant to the issue, including those under which the punitive damages were awarded, i.e., c. 151B, and G. L. c. 235, § 8 (interest on judgments), are silent on the matter.  Neither the Appeals Court nor the Supreme Judicial Court has squarely addressed the issue in a published opinion with respect to     c. 151B.  In Sheriff of Suffolk County v. Jail Officers & Employees of Suffolk County, 465 Mass. 584, 597‑598 (2013), the Supreme Judicial Court stated, “the general rule is that ‘the Commonwealth . . . is not liable for postjudgment interest in the absence of a clear statutory waiver of sovereign immunity in that regard,’” and “entities entitled to sovereign immunity are not liable for interest under G. L. c. 235, § 8, absent an unequivocal statutory waiver,” citing Chapman v. University of Mass. Med. Center, 423 Mass. 584, 586 (1996).  Thus, we must discern whether this case presents an exception to the general rule. In Todino v. Wellfleet, 448 Mass. 234, 238 (2007) (Todino), the court generally observed that “[m]unicipal liability implicates the doctrine of sovereign immunity, which protects the public treasury from unanticipated money judgments.  Sovereign immunity prohibits liability against the Commonwealth [and] . . . its instrumentalities […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - August 4, 2015 at 2:45 pm

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