HOD presents awards, votes to support amending Mass. R. Civ. P. Rule 4

Issue Februray 2004

The House of Delegates at its January meeting appointed members to the MBA Nominating Committee and took several key votes, including deciding to file suit over anniversary fees. The meeting took place Jan. 22 at the Sheraton Boston Hotel during the first day of Annual Conference 2004.

Among the actions taken, the HOD appointed seven MBA members to the Nominating Committee, which will present a slate of MBA officer and delegate candidates to the membership this spring.

Members of the Nominating Committee include MBA past presidents Joseph P.J. Vrabel, Carol A.G. DiMento, Edward P. Ryan, Kay H. Hodge and Elaine M. Epstein as well as Access to Justice Section Council Chair James T. Van Buren and past New Lawyers Section Council Chair Amy Cashore Mariani. Vrabel will serve as chair of the committee.

During the meeting the HOD also voted to authorize a legal challenge to the state's new "anniversary fee" policy by filing an action in Superior Court on behalf of a number of plaintiffs against the Clerk of Courts. (See related story, Page 1). Delegates also heard a report on the trial court from Chief Justice for Administration and Management Robert Mulligan. (See related story, page 9.)

In other business, the HOD:

•  Presented an award to MBA Insurance Committee members Robert Eurich, chair, Owen Gallagher, Steve Roach and Joe Scardino for their work in selecting CNA as the new professional liability insurance carrier.

•  Approved Ethics Chair Letter as MBA Opinion No. 2004-1 - A lawyer discharged by a client should normally turn over the client's file to a new attorney when requested to do so.

•  Heard a report from the Judicial Evaluation Task Force.

•  Presented the Outstanding New Lawyer of the Year Award to Gerard S. Collins.

•  Approved supporting a resolution of the Judicial Administration Section Council, which recommends amending Rule 4 of the Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure. The council recommends that the notice of commencement of the action and the request that the defendant waive service of the summons be multilingual. It is the council's consensus that in adopting similar provisions, the Rules' Committee accommodates the needs of indigent and pro se litigants.

•  Approved Judicial Administration Section Council request to support and file legislation allowing the setting of conditions for a criminal defendant to be released on personal recognizance.

•  Approved supporting the resolution of the Property Law Section Council endorsing the report of the Housing Appeals Advisory Committee.

The HOD deferred its final matter - an issues forum - until the March HOD meeting. At that meeting, delegates will discuss the Proposed ABA Model Rule on Financial Responsibility, "Should attorneys be required to disclose in their annual registration whether or not they have Professional Liability Insurance?"