Jun 26

The SJC today issued its decision in George v. National Water Main Cleaning Company in which it held that “that, under Massachusetts law, statutory prejudgment interest pursuant to G. L. c. 231, § 6H, shall be added by the clerk of court to the amount of lost wages and other benefits awarded as damages pursuant to G. L. c. 149, § 150, but shall not be added to the additional amount of the award arising from the trebling of those damages as liquidated damages.” For the full text of the case, click on the following link: George v. National Water Main Cleaning Company

Additional Legal News from IMLA:  

Last Day of the 2016 Supreme Court Term

Today was the last day of the 2016 Supreme Court term, and the Court did not disappoint. IMLA will send separate analyses out for the cases that warrant it, but here are some highlights from today’s opinions and orders.

In Hernandez v. Mesa, the case that involved a US border patrol agent shooting and killing an unarmed Mexican teenager, in terms of qualified immunity, the Court concluded that “facts an officer learns after the incident ends – whether those facts would support granting immunity or denying it – are not relevant.” The majority of the analysis of this case pertained to Bivens and the extension of that doctrine to these facts, but the qualified immunity issue is important and relevant to local governments.

In Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer, the Court held that the State’s policy of denying grants for the installation of playground surfaces to applicants owned or controlled by a religious entity violated the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment because it denied the Church an otherwise available public benefit on account of its religious status.

The Court also granted two important petitions for certiorari. First, it granted the “travel ban” cases and consolidated them (Trump v. International Refugee Assistance Project and Trump v. Hawaii). The Court also agreed to stay part of the lower court’s injunction. Specifically, the Court granted the stay to “the extent the injunctions prevent enforcement of §2(c) with respect to foreign nationals who lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” But the Court left the remainder of the injunction in place with respect to respondents and those similarly situated. The Court ordered this case to be docketed for oral argument in October. The second notable grant was Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Co. Civil Rights Comm’n. The issue in this case is whether applying Colorado’s public accommodations law to compel the petitioner to create expression that violates his sincerely held religious beliefs about marriage violates the free speech or free exercise clauses of the First Amendment.

The Court denied certiorari in Town of East Hampton v. Friends of East Hampton, a preemption case in which IMLA participated as an amicus. The Court also denied certiorari in Peruta v. California, which involved the question of whether the Second Amendment entitles ordinary, law-abiding citizens to carry handguns outside the home for self-defense in some manner, including concealed carry when open carry is forbidden by state law. Justice Thomas and Gorsuch dissented in the denial of certiorari in the Peruta case.

Finally, as noted on Friday, the Supreme Court issued a major decision in a takings case: Murr v. Wisconsin. IMLA will be hosting a webinar on this case in the coming weeks, so please stay tuned for the announcement of that webinar.

A link to the Supreme Court opinion page where you can find each of the above-referenced opinions is below.

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