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Recent Court Decisions:

Segadelli Law is a general practice law office, located in the Charlestown neighborhood of Boston. For fifteen years now, Attorney Segadelli has assisted hundreds of individuals and small businesses to successfully resolve a wide-range of criminal, civil and appellate cases.

Duross v. Scudder Bay Capital, LLC & another, No. 18-P-0897 (Mass. App. Ct., Jan. 17, 2020) - The Court affirmed the lower court's "dismissal of all claims" made by the plaintiff/mortgagor that were "predicated [on the] theory that the foreclosure was ineffective to pass title" to the defendant/foreclosing mortgagee, i.e,, Scudder Bay. "In so doing, [the Court] h[e]ld that G. L. c. 239, § 7, does not bar application of the doctrine of issue preclusion to summary process judgments determining title." In arriving at that result the Court explained that "nothing in our jurisprudence suggests that G. L. c. 239, § 7, operates to bar the application of issue preclusion based on summary process judgments where title actually has been determined."

Butts & another v. Freedman & others, No. 18-P-1559 (Mass. App. Ct., Jan. 16, 2020) - In this "appeal [that] ar[o]se[] from the deterioration of the business relationship between the two members of a closely held investment banking firm" the Court affirmed the "judgment in favor of the defendants." The central issue on appeal whether one of the defendants had "breached his fiduciary duty owed to" the plaintiff by pursuing and engaging in another business opportunity that the plaintiff were not made a part of. Per the Court's decision, the "determination [of] whether [the defendant] otherwise acted in violation of his fiduciary duties rests on the interpretation of the 'Other Activities' provision in § 4.09 of [the relevant] operating agreement, a provision that the plaintiffs characterize[d] as 'boilerplate.'" The Court agreed with the lower court that per the "extremely broad" language of that provision that the defendant "could not be held liable for engaging in conduct permitted by the provision."

Rhea R. & others v. Dept. of Children & Families (DCF) , No. 18-P-1568 (Mass. App. Ct., Jan. 16, 2020) - This suit followed DCF's placement of a foster child in the plaintiff's home. "[T]he foster child sexually assaulted the family's young daughter." Per the "written foster care agreement" at issue  DCF "had agreed to provide [plaintiffs] with sufficient information about any child proposed for placement to enable them 'knowledgeably [to] determine whether or not to accept the child.'" At the time that the foster child's placement with the plaintiff's DCF "was aware [but failed to disclose] ... that the child had a history as both a victim and a perpetrator of sexual abuse." Concluding that the dismissal of the plaintiff's claims was in error, the Court reasoned hat if the "plaintiffs' allegations are proven, the department violated its contractual commitment by failing to provide the parents with information known to it, and plainly material to the parents' evaluation of whether to accept placement of the foster child in their home." Further, those "claims fall within the saving provision of [G.L. c. 258,] § 10 (j) (1), and thus are not barred by § 10 (j)."

Automile Holdings, LLC & others v. McGovern & others, No. SJC-12698 (Jan. 14, 2020) - "At issue in the instant case [wa]s an 'anti- raiding' restrictive covenant entered into between an automotive dealership group and a former executive and minority owner." Although agreeing that under the circumstances "the restrictive covenant [at issue] was necessary to protect a legitimate business interest" the Court disagreed with the "equitable remedy fashioned by the [lower court], which expanded the restrictive covenant beyond its plain terms."

Butcher v. Univ. .of Mass. & others, No. SJC-12698 (Dec. 31, 2019) - Affirming the lower court's determination as to both defendants that the "that the purportedly defamatory statements fell under the 'fair report privilege' and, as such, were not actionable," the Court concluded that under the circumstances that that privileged did apply to the re-reprinting of the reporting produced by the University's police department. The Court reasoned that the "police response [to the incident] became an 'official action[]' that fell within the fair report privilege."].

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