Author granted license

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International

Document Type


Publication Date





Boston Bar Association




In Vanessa Redgrave v. Boston Symphony Orchestra, Inc., 399 Mass. 93 (1987), the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) issued an important ruling on the parameters of the Commonwealth's relatively new Civil Rights Act (MCRA)' by answering two questions certified to it by the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. The SJC held that MCRA is essentially the state equivalent of 42 U.S.C. §1983 without the federal "state action" requirement.' This article briefly examines the SJC's decision in Redgrave in light of Massachusetts precedent and the vast federal experience with §1983 actions (Section I) and then considers the implications of the Court's refusal to permit the BSO to raise acquiescence to pressure from third parties as a defense to MCRA liability (Section II).

Link to Publisher Site (BU Community Subscription)



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.