Justia Professional Malpractice & Ethics Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Massachusetts Supreme Court
Clark v. Bd. of Registration of Social Workers
After allegations of professional misconduct, the Board of Registration of Social Workers suspended Sandra Clark's license to practice as a licensed independent clinical social worker for five years. A single justice of the Supreme Court affirmed the Board's order. The Supreme Court affirmed the single justice's judgment, holding that the decision of the justice correctly rejected Clark's claims of error, as (1) Clark failed to demonstrate that the Board's decision to suspend her license was not supported by substantial evidence, or that it was arbitrary or capricious or based on any error of law; and (2) the Board's proceedings did not violate Clark's due process rights. View "Clark v. Bd. of Registration of Social Workers" on Justia Law
McCarthy v. Slade Assocs., Inc.
In 1990 McCarthy bought land at a mortgage foreclosure sale conducted by defendant, Seamen's, the mortgage holder. The advertisement described the parcel as "at the end of the paved portion of Higgins Hollow Road, Truro." McCarthy obtained a mortgage from Seamen's and retained defendant, Snow, an attorney. Before closing, Snow and issued to Seamen's a certificate of title. McCarthy received a copy. The foreclosure deed and mortgage were recorded. McCarthy purchased the property under the belief that it was in a specific location; it is actually another parcel. Following a land court action concerning a boundary dispute with a neighbor, McCarthy sued those involved in her purchase. During discovery, defendants sought, from the land court action, time sheets, correspondence between or among McCarthy and her attorneys, land surveyors, title abstractors, and title examiners; and all documents concerning the parcels. The Massachusetts Supreme Court held that the defendants did not establish entitlement to discovery of communications protected by attorney-client privilege under a theory of at issue waiver, but may discover the other information that qualifies as "fact" work product under Mass. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(3), because they have shown substantial need for the material and cannot without undue hardship obtain it from another source. View "McCarthy v. Slade Assocs., Inc." on Justia Law
Hoffer v. Board of Registration in Medicine
This case arose when the Board issued a statement of allegations against plaintiff, alleging that her ability to practice medicine had become impaired by "mental instability." At issue was whether the order of the Board denying plaintiff's petition to stay the indefinite suspension of her medical license could be reviewed by a single justice of the court pursuant to G.L.c. 112, section 64, or whether the order must be reviewed in the Superior Court pursuant to G.L.c. 30A, section 14. The court concluded that neither statute applied, but that plaintiff could nonetheless obtain review before a single justice under the certiorari statute, G.L.c. 249, section 4. View "Hoffer v. Board of Registration in Medicine" on Justia Law
Chadwick v. Board of Registration in Dentistry
This was an action for judicial review of a final decision and order of the board suspending Stephen Chadwick's license to practice dentistry in Massachusetts. Because the court agreed that the United States Supreme Court's decision in Gade v. National Solid Wastes Mgt. Ass'n applied to the disciplinary proceeding, the court concluded that, while the board could mandate compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), 29 U.S.C. 651 et seq., standards in dental practices and sanction dentists for professional misconduct after OSHA determined that a violation had occurred, the board could not interpret, apply, and enforce OSHA standards regarding workplace safety on its own record. The court further concluded that the preemptive effect of OSHA articulated in Gade also barred the board from sanctioning Chadwick based on conduct it found to be violative of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and department regulations, where such action constituted the direct and substantial regulation of occupational safety and health issues for which Federal OSHA standards were in effect. The court further concluded that the board's one finding unrelated to a formal OSHA standard was supported by substantial evidence View "Chadwick v. Board of Registration in Dentistry" on Justia Law
Kellogg v. Board of Registration in Medicine
Vernon S. Kellogg sought review of a memorandum and judgment of a single justice of the court affirming a decision and order of the Board of Registration in Medicine (board) that revoked Kellogg's license to practice medicine. Kellogg asserted that various aspects of the board's proceedings violated his Federal and State constitutional rights and that the requirement that he obtain malpractice insurance violated the contracts clause of art. I, section 10, of the United States Constitution, and that the board's regulatory authority violated the principle of the separation of powers articulated in art. 30 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights. Having reviewed the single justice's thorough memorandum and judgment in which he addressed each of Kellogg's claims of errors, the court was satisfied that there was nothing that warranted further consideration. Here, Kellogg failed to support his claims of error with sufficient legal argument or factual detail, and failed to cite to sufficient supporting authority. As both a legal and practical matter, Kellogg's submissions provided an insufficient basis for the court to reasonably consider his claims. Accordingly, judgment was affirmed. View "Kellogg v. Board of Registration in Medicine" on Justia Law
The Real Estate Bar Assoc. for MA vs. Nat’l Real Estate Information Services, et al
The Real Estate Bar Association of Massachusettes ("REBA") claimed that certain activities undertaken by the National Real Estate Information Services ("NREIS") constituted an unauthorized practice of law. At issue was whether NREIS's activities, either in whole or in part, based on the record and as described in the parties' filings, constituted the unauthorized practice of law in violation of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 221, section 46 et seq. Also at issue was whether NREIS's activities, in contracting with Massachusetts attorneys to attend real estate closings, violated Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 221, section 46 et seq. The court held that certain of the real estate settlement activities undertaken by NREIS did not constitute the unauthorized practice of law but the court could not determine based on the record whether the other described settlement activities did. The court also held that the closing or settlement of the types of real estate transactions described in the record required not only the presence but the substantive participation of an attorney on behalf of the mortgage lender and that certain services connected with real property conveyances constituted the practice of law.