The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today Saugus could charge a developer a special fee to connect to its sewer system.
At issue was whether the required payment was a fee, which towns can charge, or a tax, which they cannot, at least not without permission from the legislature.
The family of a man who died from the aftermath of a fight he had nothing to do with at the Lansdowne Pub is suing the bar for $4 million.
Michael DiMaria, 23, was visiting from New York with some friends when they went to the bar in August, 2010. On their way out, Hector Guardiola of South Boston and a member of DiMaria's party bumped, which led to an argument, which led to Guardiola throwing a glass mug at the back of the man's head. It missed him, hit another man in the head, then shattered, sending a large glass shard into DiMaria's neck, severing his jugular vein and causing his death.
In the suit, DiMaria's parents charge the bar was "grossly negligent" and failed to provide the sort of security that would have prevented their son from dying.
Guardiola pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter last fall and was sentenced to four to seven years in state prison.
DiMaria's parents originally filed its suit in Suffolk District Court earlier this month, but the bar yesterday petitioned to have the suit transferred to federal court because the DiMarias live in another state.
The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today Secretary of State Bill Galvin did nothing wrong in 2008 by refusing to print election ballots that listed the actual Libertarian presidential candidate for president that year.
Local Libertarian leader George Phillies had submitted enough signatures to get his own name on the ballot that year, but after he lost the nomination to Bob Barr at the national convention, he asked Galvin to swap in Barr's name on the November ballot.
The state's highest court said Barr didn't appear to lift a finger to meet a requirement that minor parties collect at least 10,000 signatures to appear on the ballot and the party basically has to either live with that or get enough votes in a state election to qualify for automatic ballot inclusion in the following presidential election:
In a moral, if not practical, victory for Chuck Turner, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled today that while the Boston City Council has the right to pass rules on the fitness of members, it went too far in kicking the convicted Roxbury councilor out after he was convicted but before he got his three-year federal extortion sentence.
In a ruling today, the state's highest court said that procedures for removing elected officials from office need to be set out in laws passed by the state legislature. When councilors realized the state-approved city charter did not set out specific rules for booting convicts from office, they drafted and passed a special rule for the purpose - a rule Turner voted for even as he faced trial. But because that rule was not enshrined in state law, it should never have been enforced:
Perfect Curve, a Chinatown company that sells accessories for maintaining your collection of baseball caps, is suing the owner of a mall chain that sells baseball caps for selling allegedly patent-violating knockoffs.
In its lawsuit, filed yesterday in US District Court in Boston, Perfect Curve said it had long sold cap storage devices and deodorizers to Hat World, Inc. - which owns the Lids stores typically found in malls - without problem. In 2005, the two companies even discussed Hat World buying Perfect Curve. But, negotiations failed and then last year, Hat World stopped buying Perfect Curve products. And then, Perfect Curve charges, Lids began selling similar looking and named products - one of which even came with an instruction booklet identical to the one Perfect Curve distributes.
Perfect Curve says one of the products violates its patent for:
In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, R&B legend Herb Reed demanded a Florida promoter stop advertising it could get him to appear in concerts.
Reed, a longtime Arlington resident, died Monday, so presumably that part of the suit becomes moot, although there's still the question of damages sought for alleged past practices.
The suit, filed in US District Court in Boston, charges the company falsely listed Herb Reed and the Platters as one of the groups it represented.
Reed, 83, performed until last June - the last surviving member of the original band. The suit says he never worked with the promoter and that the false advertising damaged his reputation and cost him money.
A federal appeals court said today a state contract with a Globe subsidiary to include ads in car-registration renewal notices a few years back did not violate a federal law aimed at protecting the privacy of drivers' personal information.
The US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston ruled today that depriving same-sex spouses of federal benefits available to other spouses violates their equal protection rights.
MIT yesterday sued two TV makers for refusing to pay licensing fees on digital-television patents it was granted in the 1990s.
In lawsuits against Funai - which makes Philips, Magnavox, Sylvania, Emerson, Funai, and Symphonic products - and Vizio - MIT says it held four patents at the heart of American digital television and that it's owed licensing fees and penalties because the two companies refused to buy licenses for the technologies, unlike other makers of TVs and Blu-ray players.
The shrinking Phoenix Media Group still has one possible ace in the hole - a patent lawsuit against Facebook that, if successful, would give it ownership over one of the most fundamental parts of social networking.
Who could forget that McDonald's commercial with the singing fish? Not Daniel Thomas Calden of Norwood, who says the ad agency that came up with it ripped off his idea, to the tune of $20 million in damages.
In his copyright-infringement lawsuit, originally filed in state court but now in US District Court in Boston, Calden says the ad by Arnold Worldwide of Boston is based on a music video he posted to a McDonald's contest on MySpace in 2008. Calden's video was about the Big Mac and featured a singing sock puppet, but Calden says it's obvious Arnold took his work and parodied it for use in what became one of the earwormiest TV campaigns of the decade.
Compare for yourself:
A resident of the West End apartment complex has filed what she hopes will become a class-action lawsuit against her landlord over a $500 "amenity fee" that supposedly helps pay for a fitness center, concierge and freight elevator, but which she says violates a Massachusetts tenant-rights law.
If a tree falls in a park and a softball player is under it, the city might have to pay damages, court rulesBy adamg - 5/7/12 - 11:38 am
The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today the city of Newton will have to show a lower court why it shouldn't be made to pay a softball player for serious injuries caused by a tree falling on him while he was waiting his turn at bat.
Appeals court: Judge in divorce case has power to bar ex from going into business against former spouseBy adamg - 5/4/12 - 6:22 pm
The Massachusetts Appeals Court today gave a probate judge permission to block a Cape woman from setting up a competitor to her ex-husband's feed and grain business as part of the divorce settlement.
The ruling does not mean the woman will now have to give up the feed and grain she set up - in the same building from which her husband's concern was evicted on her request - only that the judge in the case will have the legal authority to reconsider the husband's request that she be forced to knock it off.
The husband was awarded control of the family feed and grain business in divorce proceedings in 2009. To keep the concern going, he asked the judge to block his soon-to-be ex, a veterinarian, from setting up a competing feed and grain.
Award-winning director sues local cardiologists for wire he says was left in his chest after a heart procedureBy adamg - 5/4/12 - 9:01 am
William Fertik, a New York director who has won both an Academy Award and three Emmy Awards, says he suffered a series of strokes after a 15.5-inch wire snapped off while still embedded in his heart and doctors at Brigham and Women's Hospital failed to realize that for more than three days - after they had discharged him and he was on his way back to New York.
The Massachusetts Appeals Court today tossed a Norwood couple's lawsuit against a local hardware chain for selling them a can of paint stripper that burst into flames after they stored it next to their basement water heater, giving both of them serious burns.
The court said the can was prominently labeled as both flammable and poisonous and that people need to use common sense when dealing with such chemicals:
Over the past couple of months, companies that produce porn films have filed a series of lawsuits in US District Court in Boston against scores of unidentified BitTorrent users they claim are illegally distributing such classics as "Illegal Ass 2" and "Big Wet Brazilian Asses 7."
The copyright suits list the defendants only as Does, but say the plaintiffs have their IP numbers and will use that to seek their names and addresses from their ISPs. The suits seek an end to the file swapping, destruction of any copies of the films and, naturally, lots of money.
- Patrick Collins vs. Does 1-30 - Copy of one of the suits (they're all pretty much the same, save for the name of the plaintiff, the number of Does and the film details).
- How BitTorrent is used to distribute files illegally - 5M PDF by the plaintiffs' consultant.
- Sample listing of IP addresses
The bank declined to admit it jiggered its transaction software to increase the odds patrons would rack up overdraft fees, says it's pleased to move forward and "provide our customers with choices to help them manage their accounts and their finances," the Globe reports.
The Atlantic recently reported a company in Luxembourg is methodically suing public-transit agencies across the US, alleging real-time bus and train information violates patents it holds with a partner in the British Virgin Islands.
One transportation authority it won't sue, however, is our own MBTA.
The two companies actually sued the T in 2010 for alleged patent violations involving T alerts. Just four months later, however, both sides filed paperwork with US District Court in Boston that they had settled the case "with prejudice" - which means the two companies are barred from suing the T again.
"The settlement provides MBTA customers with uninterrupted access to the information they use regularly to make their commutes easier and more convenient," spokesman Joe Pesaturo said this morning. So did the T pay the two companies to leave it alone? "By mutual agreement, the parties are not discussing the terms," he said.
In 2010, the T's response to the lawsuit began: "This lawsuit offends any notion of justice," and called the lawsuit an attempted "shakedown" by companies that exist solely to attempt to extort money through lawsuits.
A federal appeals court ruled today that Dana-Farber can keep the $11.4 million a federal judge awarded it from a settlement pool for consumers overcharged for the cost of a prescription drug in the 1990s.
Heidi Erickson, who gained fame for her large collection of cats, several dozen of them stored in a freezer, has just lost her latest case before the Supreme Judicial Court.
And this time, the justices are signalling they're nearing the end of their patience with Erickson, now a South Shore resident who has now been involved in nearly a gross of cases to reach either the SJC or the Massachusetts Appeals Court:
Appeals judges to former court clerk who gave blank search warrants to robbers: Tough, you're not getting a pension or health insuranceBy adamg - 4/17/12 - 2:06 pm
A federal appeals court today refused to reinstate the pension and health benefits of a one-time Cambridge District Court clerk-magistrate even though he agreed to a plea deal because he thought it would let him keep his pension and benefits.
Arbitrator can't force Roxbury Community College to give a professor another shot at tenure, court rulesBy adamg - 4/6/12 - 4:40 pm
The Supreme Judicial Court today overturned an arbitrator's ruling that the college had to give a social-sciences professor a second crack at tenure after it told him he would be terminated.
In a lawsuit filed yesterday in US District Court in Boston, Bain alleges that when its lawyers asked Him Woods to knock it off, he responded by telling them they could "kiss my black ass" and that unless Bain backed off - or paid him $20,000 for the bainconsultinggroup.com domain name - he would unleash "a social media onslaught" against the Boston-based firm.