Litigants Should Take Note Of Recent Changes To Superior Court Rules
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) recently approved a number of amendments to the rules governing civil actions brought in state Superior Court,
The amendments are to the following rules:
- Rule 9A (which sets forth procedural requirements for filing motions)
- Rule 9B (relating to certificates of service)
- Rule 9C (relating to pretrial discovery disputes)
- Rule 9D (governing motions for reconsideration)
In addition, the SJC approved a new Superior Court Rule 9F, governing requests by litigants to extend tracking orders (i.e., pretrial deadlines) in pending cases.
These changes to the Superior Court rules took effect as of September 1, 2023.
As amended, Superior Court Rule 9A requires that exhibits “attached to a motion or affidavit, or contained in a separate appendix,” including summary judgment joint appendices, be separated by off-set tab dividers, with the pages consecutively numbered. If there is more than one exhibit, a table of contents is required. In essence, the Superior Court is now following the protocols of the Massachusetts appellate courts, which require parties to prepare a “record appendix.”
Superior Court Rule 9A now also requires that if a summary judgment package is e-filed, the moving party must deliver a courtesy copy of the joint appendix to the Session Clerk.
Amended Superior Court Rule 9B requires that a certificate of service set forth with specificity (i) the manner of service, (ii) the names and addresses (mailing or email) of all counsel (or parties), and (iii) the party represented by each counsel served. Merely stating that service is being made on “all counsel of record” is no longer acceptable.
Superior Court Rule 9C requires that motions arising out of discovery disputes identify the text of the discovery request at issue, the opponent’s response, and the movant’s argument. Amended Superior Court Rule 9C allows a movant to attach as an exhibit the discovery request and response. However, the argument must be included in the brief.
Amended Superior Court Rule 9D requires that a motion for reconsideration be based on one of the following reasons, which must be specified in the first paragraph of the motion:
- Newly discovered evidence that could not be discovered through the exercise of due diligence before the original motion was filed;
- A change in relevant law; or
- A particular and demonstrable error in the original ruling or decision.
The amended rule makes clear that a motion for reconsideration shall “raise no new grounds for relief not raised in the original motion or opposition and shall not reiterate previously advanced arguments.”
A motion for reconsideration must be served pursuant to Rule 9A within 21 days of the original ruling or decision. Motions for reconsideration (and supporting memoranda) must be contained in one document and cannot exceed 10 pages in length. Likewise, opposition briefs may not exceed 10 pages.
Finally, newly enacted Superior Court Rule 9F amends the method for seeking an extension of a tracking order. A motion to amend a tracking order must now include the following:
- The number of times the tracking order has previously been enlarged;
- A brief summary of the discovery that has been conducted to date;
- Discovery remaining to be conducted;
- A brief summary of the nature of the claims in the case; and
- Any other information deemed relevant by the movant(s).
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Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about the amended Massachusetts Superior Court Rules or any other litigation matter.