Massachusetts Housing Court
The Massachusetts Housing Court (also known as the Housing Court Department of the Trial Court) is a trial court in Massachusetts that hears a wide range of housing cases of "common law and statutory jurisdiction" dealing "with the health, safety, or welfare, of any occupant of any place...of human habitation" and "the possession, condition, or use of any particular housing accommodations or household goods or services." The housing court has concurrent jurisdiction with the Massachusetts District Court and Massachusetts Superior Court over most housing actions including summary process evictions.
In civil matters, Housing Court judges conduct both jury and jury-waived trials, and determine with finality any matter within the court's subject matter jurisdiction. Cases from the housing court may be appealed to the Massachusetts Appeals Court. The housing court has divisions in the Southeast, Boston, Northeast, Worcester and Western. Housing Court specialists are available for mediation in all courthouses.
As of 2012, the housing court judges are:
- Chief Justice Steven D. Pierce
- First Justice Jeffrey Winik (Boston)
- Associate Justice MaryLou Muirhead (Boston)
- First Justice Diana H. Horan (Worcester)
- Associate Justice Timothy F. Sullivan (Worcester)
- First Justice David Kerman (Northeast)
- First Justice Anne Kenney Chaplin (Southeast)
- Associate Justice Wilbur Edwards (Southeast)
- First Justice Dina E. Fein (Western)
- Associate Justice Robert G. Fields (Western)
In March 2012 a Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly,' article revealed that State Senator Mark Montigny's (D) brother-in-law Mark R. Jeffries was appointed to be clerk magistrate of the Southeast Housing Court, despite lacking a bachelor's degree and law degree. Jeffries makes $110,000 a year (81.57% of the salary of the housing court chief justice by statute). Jeffries was nominated after the previous candidate's Stephen Carreiro's nomination was terminated due to sexual harassment allegations, although Carreiro retained his job as First Assistant Clerk making $92,000 per year. Approximately a dozen political donors to Montigny were also appointed to positions at the court.