Massachusetts foreclosure proceedings may involve multiple legal challenges from different parties and extend over many years. In a May 13, 2019 case, the Appeals Court of Massachusetts reviewed a dispute over the surplus sale proceeds following a real estate tax taking. The action was brought by an individual plaintiff against the defendant, who was the owner of a foreclosed property.
In 2010, the town executed a tax taking on property owned by the defendant. The town subsequently filed a petition in Land Court to foreclose all rights of redemption on the property, and in 2014, obtained a foreclosure judgment in its favor. The town sold the property at auction for approximately $815,000 in 2016.
The plaintiff in the case had brought a Massachusetts Wage Act claim against the defendant in 2012. She was awarded a judgment in the amount of $250,000, to be secured by a mortgage on the defendant’s property, which the plaintiff recorded in August of 2014. After learning that the town planned to sell the property at auction, the plaintiff filed an action against the defendant and the town seeking a declaratory judgment that she was entitled to the surplus of the tax debt from the sale. After the judge entered summary judgment in favor of the town, the plaintiff filed the instant appeal.