Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same,
Section 23 of chapter 218 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 1984 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out the first two paragraphs and inserting in place thereof the following five paragraphs:-
Every cause begun under the procedure shall be determined initially in the district court department. No such cause may be removed for trial in the superior court department. In any action for property damage caused by a motor vehicle where the action is transferred to the regular civil docket in the district court department by the insurer and the unpaid party recovers a judgment for any amount due and payable by the insurer, the court shall assess against the insurer in addition thereto, costs and reasonable attorney's fees.
A plaintiff beginning a cause under the procedure shall be deemed to have waived a trial by jury and any right of appeal to a jury of six session in the district court department; but if said cause shall be appealed to a jury of six session in the district court department by the defendant as hereinafter provided, the plaintiff shall have the same right to claim a trial by a jury of six. The defendant may, within ten days after receipt of the court's finding, file in the court where the cause was determined a claim of trial by jury, and his affidavit that there are questions of law and fact in the cause requiring a trial by jury, with specifications thereof, and that such trial is intended in good faith. Trial by jury of six in the district court department shall proceed in accordance with the provisions of law applicable to trials by jury in the superior court department, except that each party shall be entitled to two preemptory challenges. Jurors shall be drawn from the pool of jurors available for the jury sessions in civil cases in the superior court department.
The administrative justice of the district court department shall designate at least one division in each region for the purpose of hearing cases where a claim for trial by a jury of six is entered; provided, however, that claims for trial by a jury of six from divisions within Suffolk county shall be held in the Boston municipal court department or district courts in Suffolk county or, with the approval of the administrative justice of the district court department, may be held in such district courts the judicial districts of which adjoin Suffolk county as are designated by said administrative justice; and, provided further, that with the approval of the chief administrative justice of the trial court, facilities of any other department of the trial court may be designated by the chief administrative justice for trial by jury of six in the district court department or the Boston municipal court department. The Boston municipal court department shall be authorized to hear such appeals in said Boston municipal court department, or shall hear such appeals for the divisions of the district court department in Suffolk county.
The defendant's claim of trial by jury shall be accompanied by twenty-five dollars for the entry of the cause in the division of the department to which the case has been appealed, and a bond in the penal sum of one hundred dollars, with such surety or sureties as may be approved by the plaintiff or the clerk or an assistant clerk of the district court department, payable to the other party or parties to the cause, conditioned to satisfy any judgment and costs which may be entered against him in the jury of six proceeding in said cause within thirty days after the entry thereof; provided, however, that in any action brought by a tenant of residential premises pursuant to the provisions of section fifteen B of chapter one hundred and eighty-six, bond shall be given in an amount equal to three times the amount of the security deposit or balance thereof to which the tenant is entitled, plus interest at the rate of five per cent from the date when such payment became due, together with court costs and an amount equal to a reasonable attorney's fee for service which had been performed by an attorney, if any, or which may be expected to be performed by an attorney during the pendency of the appeal.
The clerk shall forthwith transmit such original papers or attested copies thereof as the rules for the procedure may provide, and the division of the department to which the case has been appealed may try the cause as transmitted or may require pleadings pursuant to the District/Municipal Courts Rules of Civil Procedure, but the cause may be marked for trial on the list of causes advanced for speedy trial by jury. A finding for the plaintiff in the district court department shall be prima facie evidence for the plaintiff in the trial by jury of six. At such trial the plaintiff may, but need not, introduce evidence.