Prince v. Obelisk, Inc.

Annotate this Case
Justia Opinion Summary

The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the county court denying, without a hearing, Appellant's petition for extraordinary relief under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3, in which Appellant sought relief from a judgment entered in a small claims case in the municipal court, holding that the single justice neither erred nor abused his discretion by denying relief.

In the small claims case, Appellant alleged that two corporations violated Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 93A. The clerk-magistrate entered judgment for Defendants, concluding that Appellant had not proved that they were responsible for the damages he claimed. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that Appellant's argument that the clerk-magistrate should have made detailed findings was unavailing because nothing in the statutes or rules governing small claims procedures required the clerk-magistrate to do so.

Download PDF
NOTICE: All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports. If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA, 02108-1750; (617) 5571030; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us SJC-12801 JARID PRINCE vs. OBELISK, INC., & another.1 February 11, 2020. Supreme Judicial Court, Superintendence of inferior courts. Practice, Civil, Small claims procedure. Jarid Prince appeals from a judgment of the county court denying, without a hearing, his petition for relief under G. L. c. 211, § 3, in which he sought relief from a judgment entered in a small claims case in the Boston Municipal Court. In that case, Prince alleged that the defendants, Obelisk, Inc., and Nebulous, Inc., violated G. L. c. 93A by overcharging him for certain computing devices and by substituting devices of inferior quality. After a hearing, the clerk-magistrate entered judgment for the defendants, finding that Prince had not proved that they were responsible for the damages he claimed. Prince's motion for reconsideration was denied, and it appears that the clerk-magistrate has not acted on his subsequent postjudgment motions. We affirm the judgment of the county court. "We review the single justice's denial of relief only to determine whether there was an abuse of discretion or an error of law." Matter of an Application for a Criminal Complaint, 477 Mass. 1010, 1010 (2017), citing Marides v. Rossi, 446 Mass. 1007, 1007 (2006). "We have repeatedly stated that a plaintiff who chooses to proceed in the small claims session waives the right to appeal from any adverse judgment, and likewise is not entitled to invoke this court's extraordinary power of general superintendence in lieu of an appeal to compel review of the judgment." Zullo v. Culik Law P.C., 467 Mass. 1009, 1009 1 Nebulous, Inc. 2 (2014), and cases cited. See G. L. c. 218, § 23 ("A plaintiff beginning a cause under the [small claims] procedure shall be deemed to have waived a trial by jury and any right of appeal to a jury of six session in the district court department"). Prince argues that the clerk-magistrate should have made detailed findings. However, nothing in the statutes or rules governing small claims procedures requires the clerk-magistrate to do so. By choosing to proceed in the small claims session rather than commencing an ordinary civil action or requesting a transfer to the regular civil docket, Prince submitted to the "simple, informal and inexpensive" small claims procedure. G. L. c. 218, § 21. "Parties who opt to take advantage of its benefits forgo certain rights that they would otherwise have in a regular civil case . . . ." D.R. Peck Excavating, Inc. v. Machado, 481 Mass. 1033, 1034 (2019). The single justice neither erred nor abused his discretion by denying extraordinary relief. Judgment affirmed. The case was submitted on briefs. Jarid Prince, pro se.
Primary Holding
The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the county court denying Appellant's petition for extraordinary relief under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3, in which Appellant sought relief from a judgment entered in a small claims case, holding that the single justice neither erred nor abused his discretion by denying relief.

Disclaimer: Justia Annotations is a forum for attorneys to summarize, comment on, and analyze case law published on our site. Justia makes no guarantees or warranties that the annotations are accurate or reflect the current state of law, and no annotation is intended to be, nor should it be construed as, legal advice. Contacting Justia or any attorney through this site, via web form, email, or otherwise, does not create an attorney-client relationship.