2017 Mass.App.Div. 142, Lake v. Byrd

Citation:2017 Mass.App.Div. 142
Opinion Judge:COVEN, P.J.
Attorney:Marc D. Padellaro for the plaintiff. Dustin F. Hecker for the defendant.
Judge Panel:Present: Coven, P.J., Singh & Flynn, JJ.
Case Date:August 29, 2017
Court:Massachusetts Appellate Division

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2017 Mass.App.Div. 142




Massachusetts Appellate Division, District Court Department, Northern District

August 29, 2017

          May 26, 2017

          Appealed from a decision entered in Worburn District Court by Crane, J. 2

          Marc D. Padellaro for the plaintiff.

          Dustin F. Hecker for the defendant.

          Present: Coven, P.J., Singh & Flynn, JJ.1

          COVEN, P.J.

          In this appeal on the record of the proceedings in a jury-waived trial, the defendant challenges the finding by the trial judge that (a) the promissory note at issue was not paid, and (b) the amount that was not paid was $7,000.00. The defendant also argues that the award of legal fees was error because the note, which allowed for reasonable attorney's fees for collection on the note, was paid and, in any event, was "wildly excessive." We affirm.

         The first part of the defendant's argument is essentially this: the trial judge should have found for the defendant because, by her account, the debt was satisfied. Even if that theory were not adopted, the defendant argues that it was error for the judge to find in favor of the plaintiff for $7,000.00 when the plaintiff was claiming that the amount owed on the promissory note was over $10,000.00.

         Pursuant to Mass. R. Civ. P. 52(c), the defendant filed proposed findings of fact and rulings of law. Under the rule, "the court does not rule on each request but prepares its own findings and rulings, without a requirement to reference the findings and rulings so proposed" by the parties. B. Thomas Heinzer Assoc. v. Xarras, 2010 Mass.App.Div. 218 , 219. Appellate review under Rule 52 focuses on the "correctness of any rulings and whether the findings are supported by the evidence." Id. The rule envisions findings that are "clear, complete, and accurate." Lindsey v. Ogden, 10 Mass.App.Ct. 142 , 155 (1980). Although a judge must "articulat[e] essential grounds of his decision, Schrottman v. Barnicle, 386 Mass. 627 , 638 (1982); he is not required to itemize every component of that decision." Anthony's Pier Four, Inc. v. HBC Assocs., 411 Mass. 451 , 483 (1991). 3

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         We begin with...

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