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Hon. Judith  Fabricant

Hon. Judith Fabricant (Ret.)

Latest Insights
Upcoming Events
General Biography
Practice Areas
Business Commercial
Civil Rights
Class Action & Mass Tort
Employment Law
Environmental Law
Governmental & Public Agency
Health Care
Intellectual Property
Life Sciences
Personal Injury
Real Property
Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities
Background and Education

Hon. Judith Fabricant (Ret.) was appointed to the Massachusetts Superior Court in 1996 and served as its chief justice from 2014 until her retirement in 2021. During her years on the bench, Judge Fabricant has heard many types of civil and criminal case, presiding over jury and non-jury trials, ruling on motions of almost every type, conducting case settlement conferences and managing the litigation process at various stages. For five years, she presided in the Business Litigation Session (BLS), the preferred statewide forum for the resolution of complex business litigation and commercial disputes. As chief justice of the Superior Court, she managed statewide operations for the commonwealth’s trial court of general jurisdiction, with 82 judges and 15 elected clerks.

Judge Fabricant gained a well-deserved reputation for her intelligence, flawless preparation and energy. She is a patient listener who is receptive to input while getting right to the heart of a matter. She skillfully manages the thorniest of problems with wisdom and common sense. 

Judge Fabricant is the consummate example of civility in the profession in the way she treats counsel and colleagues. She is thoughtful and has an unsurpassed work ethic and a genuine sense of fairness.

Judge Fabricant’s judicial experience, pragmatism and expertise in a wide variety of civil disputes uniquely qualify her to assist parties in resolving even the most difficult disputes. 

Experience and Qualifications:

During her 18 years as a sitting judge, prior to her appointment as chief justice, Judge Fabricant presided over litigation in all areas of civil law, including contract disputes, professional liability, employment, personal injury, wrongful death, real estate, class actions and government regulation. While presiding in the BLS, she resolved complex litigation, including matters involving trade secrets, intellectual property, non-competition agreements, executive employment contracts, commercial leases, antitrust, governance and dissolution of business entities, shareholder rights, insurance coverage, and legal and accounting malpractice. 

Judge Fabricant also chaired the statutory Jury Management Advisory Committee, which is responsible for advising the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on the resumption of jury trials during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Representative Matters

  • Business Commercial
      • Disputes over governance and dissolution of closely held businesses, including partnerships and LLCs, presenting issues of ownership of intellectual property and goodwill
      • Five-week jury-waived trial of accounting malpractice claims in connection with audits of business borrower alleged to have defrauded lending bank in documents supporting credit lines during long-term financing relationship
  • Class Action & Mass Tort
      • Multiple cases raising claims for enforcement of noncompetition and nondisclosure agreements in various industries, including technology, insurance brokerage and financial services
      • Shareholder class actions raising issues of adequacy of disclosures in connection with mergers and acquisitions
      • Class actions alleging violations of Massachusetts Wage Act
      • Class action under Massachusetts Antitrust Act relating to well-known consumer product
  • Employment Law
      • Jury trial of claim of constructive discharge of high-level executive in pharmaceutical industry, with issues under executive compensation agreement; after mistrial resulting from hung jury, mediated at parties’ request, achieving settlement
      • Multiple cases, including jury trials, of claims of employment discrimination, constructive discharge and violation of noncompetition and nondisclosure agreements, in various industries, including technology, biotech, insurance and real estate
  • Environmental Law
      • Disputes over insurance coverage and duty to defend claims for liability for environmental damage occurring over decades.
  • Life Sciences
      • Multi-party, multi-prong dispute arising from acquisition agreement in biotechnology industry; ruled on multiple complex motions and conducted jury-waived trial of claims including nondisclosure of potential liability for patent infringement
  • Personal Injury
      • Defamation claim against major news media outlet arising from coverage of Boston Marathon bombing; ruling on summary judgment led to settlement
      • Multi-party jury trial arising from catastrophic personal injury to pedestrian at site of major public construction project, with cross-claims among multiple project participants, including complex indemnification and insurance coverage issues; assisted parties in reaching comprehensive settlement after several weeks of trial
      • Numerous jury trials of serious personal injury cases, including medical malpractice and wrongful death
      • Jury trial of wrongful death case against common carrier, raising issues of gross negligence based on failure to maintain rescue equipment.
  • Real Property
      • Matters raising issues of zoning, land use, wetlands protection and historic preservation
      • Jury-waived trial of claims of lender liability and counterclaims of misrepresentation arising from failed large-scale real estate development project
      • Disputes arising from leases and insurance coverage issues for large-scale commercial buildings

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

Memberships and Affiliations

  • Member, Supreme Judicial Court Committees, 2012–2021
    • Jury Management Advisory Committee, Chair, 2020–2021
    • Judicial Performance Evaluation, 2015–2021
    • Juror Voir Dire, 2014–2016
    • Study the Massachusetts Code of Judicial Conduct, 2012–2015
    • Committee on Plain English Jury Instructions, (Joint with MBA) 2007–2010
  • Member, Commission on Judicial Conduct, 2010–2014
    • Vice-Chair, 2012–2014
  • Trial Court Strategic Planning, 2012–2019
    • Process Steering Committee, 2012-2013
    • Strategy Leadership Team, 2013–2019
    • Moderator, 2013–2016
  • Member, Trial Court Working Group on Employment Discrimination Policy and Procedures, 2018–2019
  • Member, Superior Court New Justices Training and Mentoring Committee, 2005–2014
    • Chair, 2007–2009
  • Judicial Mentor, Trial Court Judge-to-Judge Mentor Program, 2011–2014
  • Member, Superior Court Education Committee, 2005–2014
    • Chair, 2009–2014
  • Member, American College of Business Court Judges, 2007–2014
  • Fellow, Massachusetts Bar Foundation, 2009–2021
    • Grant Review Committee, 2011–2012
  • Member, Boston Bar Association Administration of Justice Section, Workgroup on Cost and Time Efficiencies in Massachusetts Courts, 2004–2005
  • Member, Boston Inn of Court, 2002–2015
    • Judicial Co-President, 2004–2005, 2011–2012
  • Member, Editorial Board, Boston Bar Journal, 2004–2010
  • Member, Editorial Board, Massachusetts Law Review, 2000–2010
  • Member, Boston Bar Association Task Force on Civil Litigation Standards, 1993–1996
  • Member, Hearing Committee, Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers, 1994–1996
  • Member, Trial Court Standing Committee on Alternative Dispute Resolution, Taskforce on Early Court Intervention, 1995
  • Attorney General Designee, Supreme Judicial Court Standing Advisory Committee on Rules of Civil Procedure, 1992–1996

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Haskell Cohn Distinguished Judicial Service Award, Boston Bar Association, 2020
  • President’s Award, Massachusetts Judges Conference, 2016
  • Judicial Excellence Award, Massachusetts Judges Conference, 2013
  • Trial Court Excellence Award, 2013
  • Judge of the Year, Frank J. Murray Inn of Court, 2007

Selected Publications

  • “Ralph Gants, Superior Among Supremes,” Massachusetts Law Review,
    102, No. 2, April 2021 (with Alex P. Philipson, Esq.)
  • “Reflections After (Nearly) 25 Years on the Superior Court,” Massachusetts Law Review, Vol. 102, No. 3, July 2021
  • Interview, Boston Bar Journal, July 2021
  • “Superior Court Judge Ralph Gants,” Boston Bar Journal, December 2020
  • “The Superior Court Looks Ahead,” Boston Bar Journal, Spring 2015
  • “Just the Facts: Practical Tips on Summary Judgment,” Boston Bar Journal, Summer 2011
  • “Continuity and Change in the Business Litigation Session,” Boston Bar Journal, September/October 2008 (with Hon. Ralph D. Gants and Hon. Stephen E. Neel)
  • “The Jury Waived Civil Trial,” Boston Bar Journal, September/October 2006
  • “The Superior Court Is Open for (Civil) Business,” Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, July 2020
  • “Civil Business Continues in the Superior Court,” Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, April 2021 (with Hon. Mark Mason)
  • Massachusetts Evidence: A Courtroom Reference, 6th Ed., 2011, 2012 Supp., 2013 Supp., 7th Ed., 2014, Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, Judicial Commentator
  • Massachusetts Discovery Practice, 2002, 2004, 2009, 2011, 2014, Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, Judicial Commentator

Background and Education

  • Massachusetts Superior Court, 1996–2021
    • Chief Justice, 2014–2021
    • Associate Justice, 1996–2014
    • Associate Justice, Business Litigation Session, 2007–2011
    • Administrative Justice, Business Litigation Session, 2011–2013
    • Regional Administrative Justice, Norfolk County, 2005–2007
  • Assistant Attorney General, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 1988–1996
    • Chief, Government Bureau, 1992–1996
    • Chief, Administrative Law Division, 1991–1992
    • Managing Attorney, Government Bureau, 1989–1991
  • Harvard Law School
    • Teaching Team Member, Trial Advocacy Workshop, 1991–2002
    • Wasserstein Public Interest Fellow, 1995–1996
    • Clinical Instructor, Consumer Protection, 1991
  • Assistant District Attorney; Appeals Division; Essex County, Massachusetts; 1987–1988
  • Assistant District Attorney; Wake County, North Carolina; 1984–1986
  • Associate, Hill & Barlow, Boston, 1981–1984
  • Lecturer in Legal Writing, Boston University School of Law, 1983–1984
  • Law Clerk to Hon. Levin H. Campbell, United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, 1980–1981
  • J.D., Yale Law School, 1980
    • Yale Moot Court of Appeals, 1979
      • Finalist, Harlan Fiske Stone Prize Competition and Benjamin N. Cardozo Brief-Writing Competition
    • New Haven Legal Assistance Association, 1978–1979
  • B.A., summa cum laude, Yale College, 1976
    • Distinction in History
    • Phi Beta Kappa


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