Casner & Edwards

Casner & Edwards Team Wins Unanimous Decision From Supreme Judicial Court In Ballot Question Case


On June 18, 2018, on behalf of their client, the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA), Casner & Edwards litigation attorneys Edward V. Colbert III, David Koha, and Carmen F. Francella III secured a unanimous decision from the Supreme Judicial Court upholding the Attorney General’s decision to certify Initiative Petition 17-07, which seeks to create a new statute, entitled The Patient Safety Act, that would amend Chapter 111 of the General Laws. Among other things, The Patient Safety Act would set limits on the number of patients who could be assigned to a registered nurse in acute care hospital units. The SJC also upheld the Attorney General’s decision not to certify a similar question with additional legal requirements.

With this ruling, the SJC cleared the way for voters to express their views on the question of nurse staffing levels in Massachusetts on the statewide ballot in November. The Casner & Edwards Team represented the MNA in the Article 48 Initiative Petition process which began in the summer of 2017 with the drafting and submission of the petition to the Attorney General for certification. Following the legal challenges in court, oral argument was held on April 3, 2018 with the primary question being whether the subjects addressed in the petition are related or mutually dependent under Article 48 of the Massachusetts Constitution.

While ballot questions are a unique practice area, Attorneys Colbert, Koha, and Francella are experienced in the procedural nuances surrounding the drafting, formatting, submission and challenges associated with the process.

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