Process. Housing Court. Supreme Judicial Court,
Superintendence of inferior courts.,
Maryanne Reynolds, Assistant Attorney General, for the
Central Division of the Housing Court Department.
Linehan for Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation.
Marjorie Evans, pro se.
Christine Hilton, pro se.
Schumacher, pro se.
Annette Bent, pro se.
Mychelyne Oliveira, pro se.
Atkinson, Edna Austell, Steven Bourassa, Samantha Farrar,
Patricia Ferreira Bonilla, Kelly Johnson, Felix Kangaru,
Heather Kozak, Cheryl LeBlanc, Phillippe LeBlanc, William
Marks, Deb McCarthy, Keith McKenzie, Paulette McKenzie,
Miranda Morgan, Joseph Nuzzolilo, Cynthia O'Gara, Susan
Osborne, Brian Potter, Thomas Saxe, Al Solitro, Sherry
Stanley, Myron Swanston, Stefani Tubert, Cynthia White,
Nunciata Sullivan, Lila Ortiz, Carl Rellstab, Carey Souda,
Patricia O'Dell, Linda Potter, Jasmine Alvarez, Chris
Scott, & Tracey Tobin, pro se, amici curiae, submitted a
case is one of three that we decide today involving
self-represented litigants engaged in summary process
proceedings in the Central Division of the Housing Court
Department (Housing Court) . See Adj artey
v. Central Div. of the Housing Court
Dep't, 481 Mass. (2019); Evans v.
Federal Home Loan Mtge. Corp., 481 Mass. (2019). The
complexities of summary process proceedings and the
challenges that self-represented litigants face in such
proceedings are set forth in detail in our opinion in the
Adj artey case and its Appendix. Although most of
the petitioners in this case are also petitioners in the
Adj artey case, and although the two cases have
broad areas of overlap -- including arguments that the
petitioners are being treated unfairly in the Housing Court
on the basis of, among other things, their pro se status --
the specific complaints that the petitioners raise here are
not addressed in the Adj artey case.
case, the petitioners filed a petition in the county court
pursuant to G. L. c. 211, § 3, claiming that the Housing
Court violated their substantive and procedural due process
rights as well as various other constitutional rights,
including their rights to free association and free speech.
The Housing Court opposed the petition, and the single
justice denied it without a hearing. Shortly thereafter, the
petitioners filed several additional papers, including a
motion for reconsideration and an amended G. L. c. 211,
§ 3, petition, all of which the single justice
the petitioners is or was involved in an eviction action
stemming from the foreclosure of his or her
home. Each of them is also a member of the
Worcester Anti-Foreclosure Team (WAFT), a "mutual aid
organization" in which "[e]very member helps every
other member" work through the various stages of summary
process. The petitioners have appeared pro se in the Housing
Court, as they do here, and collectively assert that they
have been subject to disparate treatment in the Housing Court
on the basis of their pro se status and their membership in
specifically, they argue that at least one judge in the
Housing Court has questioned the activities of WAFT and
whether individual petitioners drafted their own motions and
briefs or whether other WAFT members drafted the materials on
their behalf (questioned, in other words, whether any of the
self-represented litigants are improperly being represented
by other individuals or are engaged in the unauthorized
practice of law) and, in the petitioners' view, generally
treated WAFT members differently from other parties in
summary process proceedings. They assert that they sought
various forms of relief in the Housing Court by, for example,
moving for the judge's recusal or seeking a change of
venue, but that their efforts were unsuccessful.
petitioners ask this court to transfer their cases to judges
who will, in their view, treat them fairly. They also ask the
court, among other things, to issue "[a] preliminary
injunction against all executions issued against members of
the WAFT" and to order the Housing Court not "to
seek criminal evidence [against] pro se litigants helping
petitioners have not, however, met their burden "to
demonstrate the absence or inadequacy of other
remedies," as they must for purposes of G. L. c. 211,
§ 3. See, e.g., Russell v. Nichols, 434 Mass.
1015, 1016 (2001) . Relief under G. L. c. 211, § 3, is
extraordinary and to be used sparingly. See
Mass. 505, 510 (2006), citing Sojav.T.P. Sampson Co., 373 Mass. 630, 631 (1977). A
single justice may properly deny a request for this type of
extraordinary relief, as the single justice in this case did,
"where there are adequate and effective routes other
than [G. L.] c. 211, § 3, by which the petitioning party
may seek relief." Grecov.Plymouth Sav. Bank, 423 Mass. 1019, 1019 (1996). We
recognize the difficulties that these petitioners may face as
they navigate the judicial system without attorneys, and the
potential complexities of their individual proceedings, but
this does not ...