December 29, 2015 8:49pm

Please be aware of the following changes to certain rules and orders in our courts:

Superior Court

  • Reply Briefs. Effective January 1, 2016, parties litigating civil motions in Superior Court will have an automatic right to file a reply brief.
    • The brief must: 1) be 5 or less pages; and 2) address matters that were not and could not reasonably have been addressed in the movant’s initial memorandum
    • Parties shall no longer seek leave to file a reply
    • If you need a longer memorandum or seek to file a sur-reply, the request should be a pleading addressed to the session clerk with the attention of the session judge. Judges should no longer be sent correspondence directly.
  • Other Rules Amended Effective January 1, 2016:
    • Superior Court Rule 7 (eliminating the bar of reference to ad damnum in opening statements)
    • Superior Court Rule 13 (adding that if a party objects to an application for order of hospital records then an order will not issue unless the parties comply with 9A)
    • Superior Court Rule 17 (eliminating the requirement that orders permitting the use of recording devices in chambers, lobby, courtroom etc. be conditioned upon it not being used to impeach the authenticity of a proceeding made by the official court reporter and adding that he recordings or transmissions must comply with SJC Rule 1:19)
    • Superior Court Rule 22 (adding that money paid into court unclaimed for 30 days after all claims have been eliminated by default or court order will be subject to a hearing where a judge may order final judgment to escheat the funds to the commonwealth with certain conditions)
    • Superior Court Rule 29 (eliminating the ability for of the court to transfer cases to district court when recovery is not likely to exceed $25,000, and requiring that the Court first receive written responses regarding the issue and after hearing and a request by any party to dismiss the case for that reason then the Clerk shall proceed as provided in G.L.c. 212 §3A)
    • Superior Court Rule 30A (former Rule 30A is now 9C(b). Text of new rule available at http://www.mass.gov/courts/case-legal-res/rules-of-court/superior/).
    • Superior Court Rule 31 (text of new rule available at http://www.mass.gov/courts/case-legal-res/rules-of-court/superior/)
    • Superior Court Rule 33 (text of new rule available at http://www.mass.gov/courts/case-legal-res/rules-of-court/superior/
    • Superior Court Rule 9C and 30A (combining and renumbering of discovery rules already enacted)

Federal Court

Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 26: standard is no longer that discovery requests be “reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.” The scope of allowable discovery is now “proportional to the needs of the case.” Rule became effective December 15, 2015. “Proportional” may be determined by:

  • The needs of the case
  • Considering the importance of the issues at stake in the action
  • The amount in controversy
  • The Parties’ relative access to relevant information
  • The Parties’ resources
  • The importance of the discovery in resolving the issues
  • The burden or expense of proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit