Massachusetts Appellate Procedure
Rule 16: Briefs
(a) Brief of the Appellant. The brief of the appellant shall contain under appropriate headings and in the order here indicated:
(1) In all briefs, a table of contents, with page references, and a table of cases (alphabetically arranged), statutes and other authorities cited, with references to the pages of the brief where they are cited.
(2) A statement of the issues presented for review.
(3) A statement of the case, which shall first indicate briefly the nature of the case, the course of proceedings, and its disposition in the court below. There shall follow a statement of the facts relevant to the issues presented for review, with appropriate references to the record (see subdivision (e)).
(4) The argument, which shall contain the contentions of the appellant with respect to the issues presented, and the reasons therefor, with citations to the authorities, statutes and parts of the record relied on. In a brief with more than twenty-four pages of argument, there shall be a short summary of argument, suitably paragraphed and with page references to later material in the brief dealing with the same subject matter, which should be a condensation of the argument actually made in the body of the brief, and not a mere repetition of the headings under which the argument is arranged. The appellate court need not pass upon questions or issues not argued in the brief. Nothing argued in the brief shall be deemed to be waived by a failure to argue orally.
(5) A short conclusion stating the precise relief sought.
(6) Any written or oral findings or memorandum of decision by the court pertinent to an issue on appeal included as an addendum to the brief.
(7) In cases where geographical facts are of importance, unless appropriate plans are reproduced in the printed record or record appendix, an outline plan or chalk (preferably based on exhibits in evidence) shall be included. This outline plan should be suitable for reproduction on one page of the printed law reports.
(8) The printed names, Board of Bar Overseers (BBO) numbers, addresses, and telephone numbers of individual counsel, and, if an individual counsel is affiliated with a firm, the firm name.
(b) Brief of the Appellee. The brief of the appellee shall conform to the requirements of subdivision (a)(1)-(4) and (7), except that a statement of the issues or of the case need not be made unless the appellee is dissatisfied with the statement of the appellant.
(c) Reply Brief. The appellant may file a brief in reply to the brief of the appellee, and if the appellee has cross-appealed, the appellee may file a brief in reply to the response of the appellant to the issues presented by the cross appeal. No further briefs may be filed except with leave of the appellate court. Reply briefs shall comply with the requirements of Rule 16 (a)(1).
(d) References in Briefs to Parties. Counsel will be expected in their briefs and oral arguments to keep to a minimum references to parties by such designations as "appellant" and "appellee." It promotes clarity to use the designations used in the lower court, or the actual names of the parties, or descriptive term such as "the employee," "the injured person," "the taxpayer," "the landlord," etc. If the name of a party has been impounded or has been made confidential by statute, rule, or court order, counsel shall preserve confidentiality in briefs and oral arguments.
(e) References in Briefs to the Record. References in the briefs to parts of the record reproduced in an appendix filed with a brief (see Rule 18(a)) shall be to the pages of the appendix at which those parts appear. If the appendix is prepared after the briefs are filed, references in the briefs to the record shall be made by one of the methods allowed by Rule 18(c). If the record is reproduced in accordance with the provisions of Rule 18(f), or if references are made in the briefs to parts of the record not reproduced, the references shall be to the pages of the parts of the record involved; e.g., Answer p. 7, Motion for Judgment p. 2, Transcript p. 231. Intelligible abbreviations may be used. If reference is made to evidence the admissibility of which is in controversy, reference shall be made to the pages of the appendix or of the transcript at which the evidence was identified, offered, and received or rejected. No statement of a fact of the case shall be made in any part of the brief without an appropriate and accurate record reference.
(f) Reproduction of Statutes, Rules, Regulations, etc. If determination of the issues presented requires consideration of constitutional provisions, statutes, rules, regulations, etc. or relevant parts thereof, they shall be reproduced in the brief or in an addendum at the end.
(g) Massachusetts Citations. Massachusetts Reports between 17 Massachusetts and 97 Massachusetts shall be cited by the name of the reporter. Any other citation shall include, wherever reasonably possible, a reference to any official report of the case or to the official publication containing statutory or similar material. References to decisions and other authorities should include, in addition to the page at which the decision or section begins, a page reference to the particular material therein upon which reliance is placed, and the year of the decision; as, for example: 334 Mass. 593, 597-598 (1956). Quotations of Massachusetts statutory material shall include a citation to either the Acts and Resolves of Massachusetts or to the current edition of the General Laws published pursuant to a resolve of the General Court.
(h) Length of Briefs. Except by permission of the court, principal briefs shall not exceed fifty pages, exclusive of pages containing the table of contents, tables of citations and any addendum containing statutes, rules, regulations, etc. Except by permission of the court, reply briefs shall not exceed twenty pages. Permission of the court shall not be granted unless the moving party specifies the relevant issue or issues and why such issues merit additional pages. A motion of a party to exceed the page limits stated in this rule will not be granted except for extraordinary reasons.
(i) Briefs in Cases Involving Cross Appeals. If a cross appeal is filed, the plaintiff in the court below shall be deemed the appellant for the purposes of this rule and Rules 18 and 19, unless the parties otherwise agree or the court otherwise orders. The brief of the appellee shall contain the issues and argument involved in his appeal as well as the answer to the brief of the appellant.
(j) Briefs in Cases Involving Multiple Appellants or Appellees. In cases involving more than one appellant or appellee, including cases consolidated for purposes of the appeal, any number of either may join in a single brief, and any appellant or appellee may adopt by reference any part of the brief of another. Parties may similarly join in reply briefs.
(k) Required Certification; Non-complying Briefs. The last page of each brief shall include a certification by counsel, or, if a party is proceeding pro se, by the party, that the brief complies with the rules of court that pertain to the filing of briefs, including, but not limited to: Mass. R. A. P. 16(a)(6) (pertinent findings or memorandum of decision); Mass. R. A. P. 16(e) (references to the record); Mass. R. A. P. 16(f) (reproduction of statutes, rules, regulations); Mass. R. A. P. 16(h) (length of briefs); Mass. R. A. P. 18 (appendix to the briefs); and Mass. R. A. P. 20 (form of briefs, appendices, and other papers). A brief not complying with these rules (including a brief that does not contain a certification) may be struck from the files by the appellate court or a single justice.
(l) Citation of Supplemental Authorities. When pertinent and significant authorities come to the attention of a party after his brief has been filed, or after oral argument but before decision, a party may promptly advise the clerk of the court, by letter, with a copy to all counsel, setting forth the citations. There shall be a reference either to the page of the brief or to a point argued orally to which the citations pertain, but the letter shall without argument state the reasons for the supplemental citations. Any response shall be made promptly and shall be similarly limited.
(m) References to Impounded Material. Upon the filing of any brief or other document containing references to matters that are impounded or have been made confidential by statute, rule, or order counsel (or a party if pro se), shall file a written notice with the clerk, with a copy to all parties, so indicating. Wherever possible, counsel shall not disclose impounded material. Where it is necessary to include impounded material in a brief, the cover of the brief shall clearly indicate that impounded information is included herein.
Amended effective February 24, 1975; amended May 15, 1979, effective July 1, 1979; May 25, 1982, effective July 1, 1982; November 17, 1986, effective January 1, 1987; November 24, 1987, effective January 1, 1988, amended effective May 5, 1989; February 1, 1991; January 1, 1992; January 1, 1997; amended June 11, 1997, effective July 1, 1997; December 1, 1998, effective January 1, 1999; February 5, 2003, effective March 3, 2003; amended effective October 1, 2005.