March 26, 2020

Housing Court, Southeast Division

Joseph L. Michaud, Associate Justice


This matter came before the court on February 21, 2020 on Defendant Paul Lusby's ("Defendant") Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment. Following a jury trial, judgment entered for Plaintiff Inayat, LLC. ("Plaintiff") for possession of the subject premises, damages of $5,000.00 and costs. This amount was offset by the jury in a finding of a breach of the Warranty of Habitability in the amount of $1,000.00.

With respect to the remaining count concerning unfair and deceptive trade practices under M.G.L. c. 93A the Court in its de novo review of the evidence and testimony determined that the Defendant had not introduced sufficient evidence to prove that the Plaintiff was involved in "trade or commerce" as defined by statute. The Court in undertaking and addressing the present motion reviewed the recordings and evidence presented at trial and still is not convinced the Defendant met this burden. For the sake of argument, even if the Defendant met his burden the remaining evidence presented clearly indicates to me that the Plaintiff met its responsibilities in a timely manner and did not violate 93A. The Court in its de novo review of the aspects of the Defendant's claim finds them to be short of the standard necessary to support a claim under G.L. 93A. Under G.L. c. 239 s. 8A, I find the Plaintiff did not act negligently or otherwise ignore the complaints of Defendant concerning the conditions within his room. The Plaintiff took prompt and effective action to correct serious violations of the State Sanitary Code. See Ianello v Court Management Corp., 400 Mass. 321 (1987) and Simon v Solomon, 385 Mass. 91 (1982). In support of this the Plaintiff provided credible evidence to the Court which demonstrated that the Plaintiff had a regular maintenance staff cleaning the premises and a schedule to address infestation issues such as bedbugs. The Defendant failed to present any credible evidence to indicate otherwise.

Thus while the jury chose to award the Defendant damages for violation of the Warranty of Habitability I find after a de novo review, that the behavior of the Plaintiff does not rise to a level that would support a 93A claim.

Finally, in addition to the above, the Defendant failed to submit his Motion to Alter or Amend during the prescribed time frame allowed under Mass.R.Civ.P. 59(e) which requires any such motion to be served within ten days from the entry of this judgment which was January 30, 2020 and the Defendant motion was not served until February 12, 2020.

Thus based upon my review of the evidence submitted at trial even if the Defendant met the standard necessary to establish that the Plaintiff was engaged in "business or commerce I still do not find that the behavior of the Plaintiff rose to the level of compensability under the statute. Based upon the testimony of the property manager Patricia Oliveira whom the Court found credible and the supporting documentation submitted in support of their statements I do not find that the Plaintiff failed in its duties to the Defendant to a point justifying a doubling or trebling of damages.

For these reasons, Defendant's Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment is DENIED.