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Suffolk Group Client Rail to Boston Coalition to Host Press Event on Re establishing South Coast Rail
Legislature Approves MSPCA backed Animal Cruelty Legislation
Gov Signs Associated Subcontractors of MA Bill Regulating Retainage on Private Construction Projects
Suffolk Group Client March of Dimes Hails Folic Acid Legislation
Suffolk Group Representing South Coast Rail Business Coalition
Suffolk Group Client EMD Serono President Highlighted in Boston Globe
NAIFA Massachusetts Holds Day on the Hill
Rep Khan and Midwifery Supporters Host Legislative Briefing
Senate Passes Mass Land Title Association Priority Bill to Overhaul Foreclosures
WBUR Opinion Post License Professional Midwives for More Childbirth Options
Suffolk Group Client EMD Serono Creates Spinoff to Develop a Pill for Infertility
Consumer Groups Urge Support of MA Licensure for Certified Professional Midwives
Suffolk Group Client March of Dimes Presents FDR Humanitarian Award to Rep Pat Haddad
Suffolk Client Oracle Called in to Fix State s Obamacare Website
State Bill Would Regulate Debt Settlement Firms
March of Dimes Member of the Tobacco Free Mass Coalition Applauds State s Efforts to Increase Tobacco Taxes
Oracle and Intel Participate at State House Forum to Urge Computer Science Classes in MA Public Schools
Suffolk Group Client EMD Serono to Add Jobs in Mass
Suffolk Group Associate Krina Patel Elected to Women s Bar Association Board of Directors
Centene Corp Partners With Suffolk Group Client MHM Services To Serve MA State Correctional System
MSPCA Looking to Clarify Animal Cruelty Law
March of Dimes Files Folic Acid Awareness Bill
Association of Developmental Disability Providers Host Legislative Luncheon at State House
Gov Signs Bill Regulating Life Settlements and STOLI
Lt Gov Visits Harris Corp and Juniper Networks
ASM Selects Suffolk Group for Massachusetts Representation
March of Dimes and Rep Haddad host New Legislator Briefing on Infant Health
BBJ Profiles Gary Blumenthal President and CEO of Association of Developmental Disabilities Providers ADDP
Gov Patrick Signs Comprehensive Long Term Care Standards Bill
Long Term Care Insurance Bill Nears Govs Desk
Senator Clark Editorial on Passage of Premature Infant Legislation
Gov Patrick Proclaims September Life Insurance Awareness Month
MSPCA Joins Gov Patrick for Signing of Landmark Animal Welfare Legislation
Gov Announces Neuroscience Consortium Including Suffolk Group Client EMD Serono
Suffolk Group Partner Bill Cass to Speak at Boston Bar Association Event on Healthcare Payment Reform Legislation
Gov Patrick Signs Bill to Increase Access to HIV Screening
SJC Decision Deepens Foreclosure Morass
Gov Patrick Signs Casino Bill Into Law
Gov Signs Proclamation Designating Sep as Life Insurance Awareness Month
Increase in Home Births Shows Need for New Rules on Midwives
Mass March of Dimes Director Takes Mission Personally
Insurance Agents Gain Support on Beacon Hill
Globe EMD Serono Marks Opening of Billerica Facility
Globe Gov Signs MSPCA Bill Allowing Pet Trusts in Mass
SH News March of Dimes Rep Haddad Host New Legislator Reception at Statehouse
Herald Gov Signs Antifreeze Bill at Suffolk Group Client MSPCA s facility
National Flea Market Association NFMA Announcement that The Suffolk Group Rasky Baerlein to Lead NFMA Federal Public Affairs
Gov PR Gov Signs Safe Driving Legislation
Gov Signs Assault Battery on Correction Officers Bill SB Into Law
Nuvera Fuel Cells Receives Two DOE Tech Research Awards
Lowell Wireless Company Harris Corp Looks to be a Market Changer
U S Sen Scott Brown Visits Suffolk Group client Zoll Medical Corp

SJC Decision Deepens Foreclosure Morass


Boston Business Journal by Edward M. Bloom and Seth A. Malamut

Date: Friday, November 25, 2011, 6:00am EST  

Who could have imagined that the choice to publish a foreclosure notice in the Boston Globe instead of the Springfield Republican would cast doubt on the titles of thousands of Massachusetts homeowners? Yet this publication issue sparked the pivotal case of U.S. Bank v. Ibanez (Jan. 7, 2011), where the Supreme Judicial Court held that state law requires a foreclosing party to hold good title to a mortgage when it begins foreclosure.

The original case focused on whether publication in the Globe satisfied the requirements of the foreclosure statute. The judge said that publication was fine, but then, out of the blue, ruled the foreclosure void because the bank did not hold a valid assignment of mortgage when it began foreclosure proceedings. The SJC agreed.

On the day the SJC issued its Ibanez decision, bank stocks plummeted across the nation. Investors recognized the danger inherent in homeowner disarray, lender uncertainty and title confusion. A concurring opinion in Ibanez questioned how the decision might affect third-party purchasers who relied in good faith on banks’ foreclosure titles.

Cue Bevilacqua v. Rodriguez (Oct. 18, 2011). In Bevilacqua, the bank received an assignment of its mortgage executed after it had already begun foreclosure. It then deeded the property to Bevilacqua, who filed a petition with the Land Court, claiming that his title was better than the defaulting borrower’s. The Land Court disagreed, and Bevilacqua appealed.

The SJC, standing behind Ibanez, held that the bank had no right to foreclose because it was not holding a valid mortgage assignment when it executed the foreclosure deed. With the foreclosure voided, Bevilacqua no longer had a valid deed, and thus did not hold record title, a prerequisite to maintaining the Land Court action. The SJC dismissed the case because of Bevilacqua’s lack of standing, dealing another blow to homeowners whose titles remain clouded by Ibanez.

When the SJC took Bevilacqua, there was hope that the decision would quiet the title turmoil created by Ibanez. Those of us more familiar with these cases doubted that Bevilacqua would solve the Ibanez chaos. Nonetheless, we wished the SJC would figure out how to give relief to distraught homeowners.

While the Legislature has thus far resisted intervention, such action may be necessary to rescue the legions of Massachusetts homeowners whose titles are affected by improper bank foreclosures.

Edward M. Bloom is a partner at Sherin and Lodgen LLP and president of The Real Estate Bar Association for Massachusetts. Seth A. Malamut is an associate at Sherin and Lodgen.