News from the Courts

Issue October 2013

Hon. Paul C. Dawley appointed District Court chief justice

Chief Justice of the Trial Court Paula M. Carey recently announced the appointment of Judge Paul C. Dawley as chief justice of the District Court for a five-year term effective Sept. 1, 2013, in accordance with G.L. c.211B, §5. Dawley has served on the District Court since 2001, and as a regional administrative judge for that department since 2004. Acting Chief Justice of the District Court Paul F. LoConto had served on an interim basis since March.

"Chief Justice of the Trial Court Paula M. Carey made an excellent decision with her selection of Judge Dawley, who brings years of hands-on experience and leadership, having served as both a regional administrative judge and the first justice of one of the commonwealth's busiest courts," said MBA Chief Operating Officer and Chief Legal Counsel Martin W. Healy. "Judge Dawley has risen through the ranks of the judiciary and is well-respected by his colleagues and the bar for his intellect and temperament."

Probate and Family Court pilots Limited Issues Settlement Conference program

Probate and Family Court Chief Justice Angela M. Ordoñez announced the creation of a pilot program designed to settle cases where the majority of the contested issues have already been resolved.

The Limited Issues Settlement Conference (LISC) program is envisioned as a judicial case management tool to bring parties and counsel together, by agreement, to settle any kind of Probate and Family Court matter, with the involvement and expertise of an active or retired judge of the Probate and Family Court. Potential cases range from divorce settlements, child custody and support issues, and will contests, to guardianships of children or the elderly, among others. To be eligible to request a conference, the parties to the case need to have been before the court on at least one prior occasion, one side must be represented by counsel, and the parties must agree to bring a working agreement to the scheduled hearing.

The LISC program is intended to assist the parties in resolving outstanding issues. If complete resolution is achieved at the conference, a decree or judgment necessary to conclude the matter will enter immediately after the conference thus saving parties, counsel, and the courts from additional expense of time and money in preparation for, and presentation of, a trial.

Cases pending in any county may participate in this process. The conferences will be held on the first Friday of each month at the Norfolk Probate and Family Court in Canton. The first conference session will be held on Nov. 1, 2013. Free parking is available at the conference site.

More details about the program, and the form that needs to be completed for consideration and scheduling, are available online.

Chief Justice Carey and Court Administrator Spence announce appointments

Chief Justice of the Trial Court Paula M. Carey and Court Administrator Harry Spence have announced appointments to several Trial Court senior management positions in the Office of Court Management and in the Executive Office of the Trial Court. They have established an organizational chart in consultation with the chief justices to explain the functions and structure of the Trial Court's central administrative offices.

  • Jeffrey Morrow, a security professional with more than 30 years of federal law enforcement and national security experience, has been named Trial Court director of security, effective Sept. 30, 2013.
  • Maria Fournier, now in the Administrative Office of the Juvenile Court, has been named the director of support services, effective Sept. 3, 2013.

Carey and Spence jointly lead the Executive Office of the Trial Court and have modified the staffing of that office to support the new governance structure in the areas of judicial policy, administration and communications. They are operating the Executive Office in an integrated, collaborative way and have designed two new positions to provide support on strategic planning, policy and operational issues that replace the chief of staff and executive director positions.

  • Kim Wright was appointed to the position of senior assistant - judicial policy.
  • Mary Rafferty was named the senior assistant - administration & communications.

Medonis appointed Probate and Family Court deputy administrator

Probate and Family Court Chief Justice Angela M. Ordoñez and Court Administrator Harry Spence have announced the appointment of Linda M. Medonis as the deputy court administrator for the Probate and Family Court department of the Massachusetts Trial Court, effective Sept. 23. Medonis succeeds Kim J. Wright, who was recently named senior assistant for judicial policy of the Executive Office of the Trial Court.

Medonis is currently a partner in the Domestic Relations Department of Prince, Lobel Tye LLP in Boston, where she has practiced since 1995. Her practice has included child custody disputes, analysis and litigation involving complicated financial structures, estate administration, will contests, guardianships and conservatorships. She has served as a guardian ad litem, mediator, special master and court-appointed counsel for children and has developed and implemented departmental policies and has participated in budget development and oversight.

Medonis served as the Massachusetts Bar Association representative to the First Assistant Registers Committee while practicing at Louison, Witt & Medonis PC in Brockton. She is an active community volunteer in her hometown of Marshfield and is a graduate of Westfield State University and New England School of Law.