News from the Courts

Issue June 2015

New class action rule change requires IOLTA notification

The Supreme Judicial Court has amended the rule governing class action lawsuits to require plaintiffs to notify the Massachusetts IOLTA Committee before a judgment is entered or a compromise approved regarding the disposition of class action residuals. The April 24 amendment to Rule 23 follows a 2008 amendment to the same rule directing the payment of residual funds to the IOLTA Committee or to one or more nonprofit organizations (including legal services programs) that benefit the class directly.

Mass. R. Civ. P. 23 outlines the requirements for bringing and maintaining a class action lawsuit. Such suits often end with residual funds, that is, funds that couldn't be distributed to the plaintiffs. Up until 2008, Rule 23 did not provide direction with respect to how such funds should be disbursed.

The new amendment is effective July 1. In addition to the notification requirement, it authorizes the IOLTA Committee to respond by making a limited appearance to be heard on whether it ought to be a recipient of any of the residual funds.

For more information, please contact Jayne Tyrrell, Massachusetts IOLTA Committee, 7 Winthrop Square, 3rd Floor Boston, MA 02110-1245; [email jtyrrell]; Tel: (617) 723-9093.

2015 edition of the Massachusetts Guide to Evidence now available

The Supreme Judicial Court and its Executive Committee on Massachusetts Evidence Law recently announced the release of the 2015 edition of the Massachusetts Guide to Evidence. The Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court recommend use of the guide by the bench, bar and public.

The 2015 edition is the seventh annual edition of the guide. It is available without charge on the court's website, where it can be searched and downloaded. The Official Print Edition of the 2015 edition of the Massachusetts Guide to Evidence is available for purchase from the Flaschner Judicial Institute. The Massachusetts Guide to Evidence assembles existing Massachusetts evidence law in an easy-to-use document organized similarly to the Federal Rules of Evidence. The guide includes extensive explanatory notes and citations to pertinent authorities.