Sullivan v. Judges of Superior Court

CourtUnited States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
Writing for the CourtRUGG
Citation171 N.E. 490,271 Mass. 435
Decision Date28 May 1930


Exceptions from Supreme Judicial Court, Suffolk County.

Petition by Nora F. Sullivan for writ of prohibition to be directed to the Judges of the Superior Court. A single justice dismissed the petition, and petitioner brings exceptions.

Exceptions overruled.

B. J. Killion and R. E. Sullivan, both of Boston, for plaintiff.

E. K. Nash, Asst. Atty. Gen., for defendants.


This is a petition for a writ of prohibition. The petitioner alleges that she is plaintiff in an action of tort now pending in the Superior Court and already assigned for trial; that the defendant therein filed a motion requesting the court to determine her mental condition in accordance with G. L. c. 123, § 99; and that the motion is being entertained and evidence heard thereon in the Superior Court. The respondents demurred.

The case comes before us on exceptions wherein it is said that at the hearing before the single justice no evidence was heard, the case being presented on statements of counsel for the petitioner and on exhibits introduced by him. That was irregular. On a demurrer only questions of law raised by the causes assigned in the demurrer are proper for consideration. No evidence by testimony, by statements of counsel or by exhibits rightly can be received. The bill of exceptions when critically analyzed sets forth nothing except matters open for consideration on the demurrer.

It is provided by G. L. c. 123, § 99, that ‘In order to determine the mental condition of any person coming before any court of the Commonwealth, the presiding judge may, in his discretion, request the department to assign a member of the medical staff of a state hospital to make such examinations as he may deem necessary. No fee shall be paid for such examination, but the examining physician may be reimbursed for his reasonable traveling expenses.’ This statute, although placed in the General Laws under a heading ‘Insane Prisoners, etc.,’ is equally applicable to civil as to criminal cases. That is apparent from the original act which was St. 1918, c. 153. It was there phrased in general terms and was not confined to criminal cases. The inclusion of this provision in said section 99 did not work any change in its scope. Main v. County of Plymouth, 223 Mass. 66, 111 N. E. 694. In this respect the case at bar is distinguishable from Boston & Maine Railroad v. Billerica, 262 Mass. 439, 449, 160 N. E. 419. The statute provides a simple, efficient...

To continue reading

Request your trial
14 cases
  • Com. v. Widrick
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court
    • 23 Agosto 1984 capable of conducting the litigation [or of testifying] by reason of minority or mental incapacity." Sullivan v. Superior Court, 271 Mass. 435, 437, 171 N.E. 490 (1930). This interpretation applies with equal force to G.L. c. 123, § 19, inserted by St. 1970, c. 888, § 4, because it is a ......
  • In re Guardianship of Zaltman
    • United States
    • Appeals Court of Massachusetts
    • 6 Marzo 2006
    ...ward's competence, Gershaw v. Gershfield, 52 Mass.App.Ct. 81, 96, 751 N.E.2d 424 (2001), quoting from Sullivan v. Judges of the Superior Ct., 271 Mass. 435, 437, 171 N.E. 490 (1930), was error. The "crucial issue" in such proceedings is "whether [the ward] was currently [emphasis in origina......
  • Com. v. Nieves
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court
    • 27 Abril 2006
    ...should appoint a guardian ad litem. 9. A judge has inherent authority to appoint a guardian ad litem. Sullivan v. Judges of the Superior Court, 271 Mass. 435, 437, 171 N.E. 490 (1930). In addition, pursuant to a general statute, a judge may appoint a guardian if, unlike this case, there is ......
  • Com. v. Knowlton
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court
    • 17 Julio 1979 made that such incapacity exists to cause some competent person to be appointed to conduct the litigation." Sullivan v. Superior Court, 271 Mass. 435, 437, 171 N.E. 490 (1930). See Welch v. Fox, 205 Mass. 113, 114, 91 N.E. 145 (1910). Cf. Hermanson v. Seppala, 255 Mass. 607, 611, 152 N.E......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT