PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE
SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT
John Adams Courthouse
One Pemberton Square
Boston, Massachusetts 02108
Jennifer Donahue/Erika Gully-Santiago
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 22, 2019
Supreme Judicial Court Increases Procedural Amount for Civil Actions in District Court and Boston Municipal Court
BOSTON, MA -- The Supreme Judicial Court today announced that it will increase the procedural amount for civil actions in Boston Municipal and District Courts from $25,000 to $50,000, effective on January 1, 2020, and increase the minimum procedural amount required for cases filed in the Superior Court to $50,000. The procedural amount, last set in 1986, refers to the amount of damages sought by a plaintiff in a civil money damage action which, if exceeded in the District and Boston Municipal Courts or is not met in the Superior Court, may be the basis for dismissal.
In recent years, the District and Boston Municipal Courts have taken measures aimed at reducing the delay historically associated with the disposition of civil cases.
"The BMC's designation of a lead civil judge and a clerk's contact in each division means that civil cases will be resolved promptly and efficiently," said Boston Municipal Court Chief Justice Roberto Ronquillo.
Last year, the District Court appointed civil liaisons in every District Court to serve as a point of contact for members of the bar and others with pending civil matters. The District Court also operated a successful pilot program in Norfolk County to test the feasibility of dedicated civil sessions. Notably, in fiscal year 2017, over 96% of the District Courts civil case filings were disposed of within the applicable time standards. In the Boston Municipal Court, almost 97% of those cases were disposed of within time standards.
"The District Court is committed to expanding dedicated civil sessions to each of its six administrative regions," said District Court Chief Justice Paul C. Dawley. "These sessions, with assigned judges and assistant clerk magistrates, will ensure that adequate resources are available for civil cases." Chief Justice Dawley also noted that in 2017 the District Court adopted a Standing Order which expanded jury voir dire practices.
The Supreme Judicial Court Order Regarding Amount-in-Controversy Requirement Under G.L. c. 218, s. 19 and G.L. c.212, s. 3 is available on the court system's website.