Articles Posted in Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court

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Bahig Bishay brought an action bringing various claims arising from Plaintiff’s eviction from his home. Bishay named as defendants National Investigations, Inc. and its principals (collectively, National), Harvard 45 Associates, LLC and its principals (collectively, Harvard), and Allied Finance Adjusters Conference, Inc. (Allied). Allied’s motion to dismiss was allowed. Also allowed was Harvard’s motion for summary judgment as to both the claims against it and a counterclaim it asserted against Bishay. Thereafter, Bishay and National (collectively, Petitioners) settled their dispute and moved for entry of final judgment. The motion was denied. Petitioners then filed a petition seeking relief in the nature of mandamus and requesting that the clerk of the superior court be ordered to enter final judgment as Petitioners proposed. A single justice denied relief without a hearing. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that the single justice neither erred nor abused her discretion by denying extraordinary relief, as Petitioners had other remedies available to them. View "Bishay v. Clerk of the Superior Court in Norfolk County" on Justia Law

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Landlord brought a summary process action against Tenant for possession of the premises. Tenant counterclaimed, alleging violations of the security deposit statute and other causes of action. The Housing Court found in favor of Landlord on all but the security deposit claim, ruling that Tenant could properly assert a violation of the security deposit statute as a counterclaim for damages but that a counterclaim on this basis was not a defense to Landlord’s claim for possession. The Supreme Judicial Court reversed the Housing Court judgment granting possession to Landlord, holding that a counterclaim or defense on the basis of a violation of the security deposit statute may be asserted as a defense to a landlord’s possession in a summary process action under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 239, 1A. View "Meikle v. Nurse" on Justia Law

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Defendants, the principals and owners of Burbank Apartments (Burbank), decided not to renew Burbank’s project-based Section 8 housing assistance payments contract (HAP) with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development when its mortgage subsidy contract expired. Instead of the project-based subsidies, Defendants chose to accept from its tenants Section 8 enhanced vouchers. Plaintiffs, current and potential Burbank tenants, filed a complaint alleging subsidy discrimination in violation of Massachusetts antidiscrimination law and the Federal Fair Housing Act. Specifically, Plaintiffs claimed that Defendants’ decision not to renew the HAP was discriminatory based on both disparate treatment and disparate impact on members of otherwise protected classes of citizens. The motion judge granted Defendants’ motion to dismiss both counts for failure to state a claim. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding (1) even where the property owner has acted in accord with statute, regulation, and contract, a disparate impact claim can be brought under the fair housing statutes, subject to “rigorous pleading requirements”; but (2) Plaintiffs in this case failed sufficiently to plead a prima facie case of disparate impact discrimination. View "Burbank Apartments Tenant Ass’n v. Kargman" on Justia Law