Babaletos v. Demoulas Super Markets, Inc.Annotate this Case
The case involves an appeal from a wrongful death action brought by Joni Babaletos, the personal representative of her late husband Thomas Babaletos, against Demoulas Super Markets, Inc., Philip Morris USA Inc., and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. Babaletos claimed that the cigarettes produced and sold by the defendants caused her husband's death. She brought claims for breach of warranty in design, negligence in design and marketing, fraud, civil conspiracy, and unfair and deceptive acts and practices in violation of G. L. c. 93A, § 9. The jury found for the defendants on the four claims presented to them, and the trial judge subsequently found no liability with respect to the c. 93A claim.
On appeal, Babaletos argued that the trial judge's imposition of time limits for the presentation of evidence forced her to omit essential evidence. The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts held that Babaletos failed to demonstrate either an abuse of discretion by the trial judge or how she was prejudiced by the imposition of time limits. The court noted that the trial judge had repeatedly offered to extend scheduled half days to full days should the need arise during trial, but Babaletos made no such requests as the trial progressed. As such, the court affirmed the trial court's judgment. The court also provided guidance for trial judges who believe that setting time limits for the presentation of evidence would be prudent in a particular case.