Justia Legal Ethics Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court

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In 1993, Joan Oggiani, a judicial secretary, was designated as the deputy assistant register when that position was created. In 2015, the register requested approval to remove Aggiani’s designation. The Chief Justice of the Probate and Family Court approved the register’s request. Oggiani requested review, but Oggiani was told that the decision was final. Oggiani then filed a petition for relief under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 217, 29D. The county court denied relief. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that the single justice did not abuse his discretion or commit an error of law by denying Oggiani’s petition for relief under the circumstances. View "Oggiani v. Chief Justice of the Trial Court" on Justia Law

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Bryan Corporation (the company) commenced an action against Bryan Abrano (Bryan), who was a shareholder of the company, for breach of fiduciary duty. The company moved to disqualify Bryan’s attorneys, members of the firm of Yurko, Salvesen & Remz, P.C. (YSR) as Bryan’s counsel, alleging an impermissible conflict of interest because YSR had represented the company in an action eight months earlier. The superior court granted the motion. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that YSR’s representation of Bryan violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.7, which prohibits the simultaneous representation of adverse parties. View "Bryan Corp. v. Abrano" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff engaged Defendants, a law firm and three individual attorneys, to represent him in connection with the prosecution of patents for Plaintiff’s inventions for a new screwless eyeglasses. After learning that Defendants had been simultaneously representing another client that competed with Plaintiff in the screwless eyeglass market, Plaintiff commenced this action alleging harm resulting Defendants’ failure to disclose the alleged conflict of interest. The trial judge dismissed Plaintiff’s complaint for failure to state a claim. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding (1) the simultaneous representation by a law firm in the prosecution of patents for two clients competing in the same technology area for similar inventions is not a per se violation of the Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct; and (2) based on the facts alleged in his complaint, Plaintiff failed to state a claim for relief. View "Maling v. Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP" on Justia Law