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Mass Supreme Court Homeowner Gets Shafted; Court Holds No Standing to Challenge Assignment Bank's MTD Granted

March 13, 2015

Abate v. Fremont Inv. & Loan
Court: Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court 
Docket: SJC-11638
Opinion Date: March 9, 2015
Areas of Law: Banking, Real Estate & Property Law
At issue in this appeal was whether a respondent in a try title action may test the substantive merits of a petition’s claims in the first step of such an action, where the first step requires that the petition satisfy the jurisdictional elements of the statute. Petitioner in this case filed a petition to try title in the Land Court asserting that a purported assignment of a mortgage was invalid, thereby challenging a foreclosure by a Bank as trustee. Respondents filed motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim because, at the time of filing, the Bank as the assignee of the mortgage had already foreclosed on Petitioner’s mortgage. The Land Court allowed the motion, concluding that Petitioner’s petition failed to sufficiently allege effective record title, which in turn resulted in a lack of standing, because none of the allegations established any ground on which the assignment could be found invalid. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) a petitioner claiming defect in the legal title of a purported mortgagee may only meet the jurisdictional element of an “adverse claim” after that mortgagee has foreclosed; and (2) the judge correctly considered the merits of Petitioner’s claims as a necessary step in determining the absence of his record title, and therefore, dismissal with prejudice was proper.

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Nancy Duffy McCarron, CBN 164780
Attorney, Real Estate Broker, BBB Arbitrator, CA Notary Public
Certified Forensic Loan Auditor, Property Manager


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