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Monday, July 22, 2019

Order Regarding Amount-in-Controversy Requirement

Today, the Supreme Judicial Court announced that it will increase the procedural amount for civil actions in Boston Municipal and District Courts from $25,000 to $50,000,  thus increasing the minimum procedural amount required for cases filed in the Superior Court to $50,000.  This change will go in to effect on January 1, 2020. 

The reason for this procedural change is to try and reduce delays that are common with the disposition of civil cases.  This will also have a far reaching effect with the filing of cases that had damages which hovered around the $25,000 cut-off, including personal injury cases and contract disputes.

The Order Regarding Amount-in-Controversy Requirement under Massachusetts General Laws chapter 218, § 19 and chapter 212, §3 states:

"Under G.L. c. 218, § 19, civil actions for money damages may proceed in the District and Boston Municipal Court departments "only if there is no reasonable likelihood that recovery by the plaintiff will exceed $25,000, or an amount ordered from time to time by the supreme judicial court."  The Court hereby exercises its authority to order that the amount be increased from $25,000 to $50,000.  Under G.L. c. 212, § 3, a reciprocal $25,000 amount requirement applies to civil actions for money damages commenced in the Superior Court. Under this statute, such actions may proceed in the Superior Court "only if there is no reasonable likelihood that recovery by the plaintiff will be less than or equal to $25,000 or an amount ordered from time to time by the supreme judicial court." The Court hereby exercises its authority to order that this amount also be increased from $25,000 to $50,000.  This Order shall be effective on January 1, 2020, and applicable to civil actions for money damages commenced on or after that date."

If you have any questions about this change in the law, please feel free to contact the Law Offices of Samuel S. Reidy for a free consultation.


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