Trahan v. Pelczar

Annotate this Case
Justia Opinion Summary

The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the single justice of the court denying Petitioner's petition pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3 and related motions, holding that the single justice did not err or abuse her discretion in denying relief.

In her petition, Petitioner requested an order requiring the superior court judge to recuse himself in civil litigation between herself and Respondent. Petitioner also filed motions in relation to the civil matter. The single justice denied the petition and all other relief sought in Petitioner's motions. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that Petitioner could have sought interlocutory review of the judge's rulings and, as to the motion to recuse, could have directly appealed from the adverse judgment.

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NOTICE: All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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; SJCReportersjc.state.ma.us SJC-12822 KATHLEEN TRAHAN vs. STANLEY J. PELCZAR. January 10, 2020. Supreme Judicial Court, Superintendence of inferior courts. Practice, Civil, Disqualification of judge. The petitioner, Kathleen Trahan, appeals from a judgment of a single justice of this court denying her petition pursuant to G. L. c. 211, § 3, and related motions. We affirm. Trahan and the respondent, Stanley J. Pelczar, are in the midst of civil litigation in the Superior Court over payments owed to Trahan under a settlement agreement. Thus far, Trahan has prevailed on the issue of liability in her claims against Pelczar, and a judge in that court has ordered that a portion of certain monthly payments Pelczar was to receive under a divorce settlement be placed into escrow.1 Some remaining counterclaims by Pelczar, as well as the issue of damages concerning Trahan's claims, continue to be litigated. Following the allowance of certain additional discovery related to Pelczar's counterclaims, Trahan moved for the Superior Court judge to recuse himself. The judge denied the motion. In her petition pursuant to G. L. c. 211, § 3, Trahan requested an order requiring the Superior Court judge to recuse himself. She also filed motions in the county court to amend the attachment and escrow arrangements that the Superior Court had put into place and to restrain Pelczar from pursuing a contempt action in the Essex Division of the Probate and Family Court Department related to the payments subject to escrow. The Pelczar's former wife is named as a reach-and-apply defendant in the underlying Superior Court action. 1 2 single justice denied the petition and all other relief sought in Trahan's motions. This appeal followed. The case is now before us pursuant to S.J.C. Rule 2:21, as amended, 434 Mass. 1301 (2001), which requires a showing that "review of the trial court decision cannot adequately be obtained on appeal from any final adverse judgment in the trial court or by other available means." S.J.C. Rule 2:21 (2). We see no reason why Trahan could not have sought interlocutory review of the judge's rulings under G. L. c. 231, § 118, first par. See Greco v. Plymouth Sav. Bank, 423 Mass. 1019, 1019-1020 (1996) ("Review under G. L. c. 211, § 3, does not lie where review under c. 231, § 118, would suffice."). And, as to the motion to recuse, "there is no reason why the denial of any such motion could not be adequately addressed in a direct appeal from any adverse judgment." Jian Jiang v. Qilun Liu, 481 Mass. 1024, 1024 (2019), citing Bloise v. Bloise, 437 Mass. 1010, 1010 (2002). The single justice did not err or abuse her discretion in denying relief. Judgment affirmed. The case was submitted on the papers filed, accompanied by a memorandum of law. Steven E. Kramer for the petitioner.
Primary Holding
The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the single justice's denial of Petitioner's petition pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3 and related motions, holding that the single justice did not err or abuse her discretion in 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.