Posts tagged "Carney"

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NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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: , , , , , , ,

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. Carney (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-125-15)

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   SJC-11092   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  AARON CARNEY.       Bristol.     May 5, 2015. – July 20, 2015.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Duffly, Lenk, & Hines, JJ.     Homicide.  Evidence, Photograph, Relevancy and materiality, Firearm.  Practice, Criminal, Capital case, Argument by prosecutor.       Indictment found and returned in the Superior Court Department on December 11, 2009.   The case was tried before Robert J. Kane, J.     Alan Jay Black for the defendant. Tara L. Blackman, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.     SPINA, J.  The defendant was convicted of deliberately premeditated murder.  On appeal he asserts error in the admission in evidence of (1) an autopsy photograph, and (2) a BB rifle together with ammunition that were unrelated to the killing.  He also argues that the prosecutor’s closing argument was improper.  We affirm the conviction and decline the defendant’s request for relief under G. L. c. 278, § 33E. 1.  Background.  The jury could have found the following facts.  We reserve other details for discussion of particular issues.  The defendant and Kenneth Fontaine became friends at sometime around 2005.  Kenneth lived with his mother, Elizabeth Fontaine, the victim.  Elizabeth was a registered nurse.  She had significant issues with her health, including obesity.  Kenneth assisted his mother with some of her needs.  Kenneth and his mother purchased a single-family house in Attleboro during 2007.  Because of her health and limited mobility, Elizabeth converted the first-floor living room into her bedroom.  They took in boarders to help with their finances.  The defendant was one such boarder.  His rent was $ 400 per month.  Kenneth and the boarders had bedrooms on the second and third floors.  There also was a bedroom on the third floor that the boarders used for storage.  Kenneth did not use that room. During 2008, some of Elizabeth’s medication began to disappear.  Kenneth and Elizabeth believed it was taken by one of the other boarders, so they evicted him.  Kenneth also discovered that an old shotgun he had kept in his closet was missing.  He assumed it had been stolen by the same boarder who he thought had taken his mother’s medication.  Kenneth had discussed these losses with the defendant, but he did not suspect the defendant of taking them. At one point, the defendant’s employment situation changed and he fell behind […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - July 21, 2015 at 12:08 am

Categories: News   Tags: , , , ,