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Minnesota company owned by a local doctor feels constitutionally oppressed by Massachusetts requirement it register here to sue a local company, so it sues

What started as a dispute between owners of adjoining parcels on Rte. 9 in Brookline over a luxury condo project one of them wants to build has turned into a federal lawsuit over whether companies based outside of the state should be forced to register with Massachusetts just to be able to file a lawsuit in state court here.

At the center of the controversy is a 13-unit complex that developer Merrill Diamond wants to build on a three-acre site overlooking the Brookline Reservoir.

After the town zoning board approved the proposal this past spring, a limited liability company that owns a couple of neighboring parcels sued in state court to block the development - but says it was not allowed to sue in state court at first because it's based in Minnesota and had not registered with the Massachusetts Secretary of State's office as a "foreign" corporation.

So BoylstonD3 LLC - which is registered to Shona Pendse, a doctor at Brigham and Women's Hospital who lives in a house on one of the parcels - paid the registration fees. And then the company sued to stop the project in state Land Court.

Yesterday, BoylstonD3 filed suit in US District Court in Boston, as well, asking for a judge to rule that it shouldn't have been forced to pay the state's fees to register the LLC here because it violates the 14th Amendment right to equal treatment of citizens of one state by another state. The suit also asks for a federal judge to basically order a state Land Court judge to ignore a motion by the developer and the town to dismiss the Land Court case.

In its complaint, the LLC says that Massachusetts does not require Massachusetts residents and companies - and "non-corporate citizens of other states" - to register or pay a fee first just to file a lawsuit. Since companies are legally "citizens," the state is violating the 14th Amendment, the LLC charges.

Pendse is no stranger to federal court in Massachusetts.

Last year, after she and her husband moved up here from the Washington, DC area, the couple unsuccessfully sued to try to get their son into Boston Latin School. The two argued that Pendse and her son were living in Boston - a requirement for admission to the school - but were unable to provide proof that Boston school officials would accept that they actually were after their deal to buy a house in West Roxbury fell through.

A federal judge rejected their argument that even if they didn't live in Boston, their son had a constitutional right - also under the 14th Amendment - to attend Boston Latin.

PDF icon Complete complaint108.83 KB


What's the benefit of registering an LLC in Minnesota versus Massachusetts?

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No clue if that was the rationale here, but Minnesota charges $135 to register ($155 if you want to do it online - source), while Massachusetts charges $500 for initial registration of an LLC (source). By having to register as a "foreign" LLC, the doctor had to pay Mass. $400.

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But assuming they are not representing themselves pro se, what are the legal fees going to be to avoid this $400 registration fee?

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...It can't represent itself pro se, nor can any of the principals or shareholders, etc., unless they are an attorney. Per the Rules of Court, corporations, trusts, organizations, etc. must be represented in Massachusetts courts by a member of the Bar.

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As the guy who owned the fire-ravaged rat trap on Mt. Ida Road in Dorchester that I was forever writing about found out, ignored, then got taught the hard way.

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Restraint of interstate tirade.

Shona Pendse and James Dickey should get a room.

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being a NIMBY, isn't it?

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I wonder how the kid feels about having parents who are total a-holes.

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If you click on the link about their West Roxbury house deal falling through, you'll get a ruling by a Suffolk Superior Court judge that lays out a whole other layer of absurdity involving the owners of that house, more specifically, the daughter, who found herself negotiating to sell the house to the doctors without bothering to tell her mother, with whom she co-owned the house.

Voting closed 18

The divil is in the details.

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