Litigation Alert: SJC Announces New Civil Pleading Standard and Revises G.L. c. 93A, Section 9 Injury Requirement


Defendants in Massachusetts will now be better equipped to fend off speculative lawsuits, as the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) announced last week that it is adopting the more stringent federal pleading standard promulgated by the United States Supreme Court in Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S. Ct. 1955 (2007), for the courts of the Commonwealth. See Iannacchino v. Ford Motor Company, SJC-10059 (June 13, 2008). By adopting the Twombly standard, the SJC has made it easier for defendants to obtain dismissal of civil lawsuits at the outset of a case. The Iannacchino decision also addresses for the second time in the past two years what constitutes an “injury” under Massachusetts’ consumer protection statute, G.L. c. 93A, § 9. While the SJC found for the defendant based on the insufficiency of the plaintiffs’ allegations, the court’s holding with respect to the injury requirement may potentially make it more difficult to defend products liability claims under G.L. c. 93A. Going forward, defense counsel will be well-served to underscore the continued importance of the injury requirement.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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