In a hotly anticipated decision, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled Tuesday that the buyer of a foreclosed property did not have clear title to the home because the foreclosing entity did not have a valid assignment when it began the foreclosure process.
The decision in Bevilacqua v. Rodriguez reaffirms the court's high-profile U.S. Bank NA v. Ibanez ruling earlier this year and calls into question the validity of other sales in the commonwealth.
"This case is just one example of a much larger problem," Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley said in a statement. "In the rush to foreclose, the banks' reckless origination and foreclosure practices have created a domino effect that has harmed Massachusetts homeowners, as well as third-party purchasers who purchased properties after foreclosure."
According to a report in the Boston Globe, investor Francis J. Bevilacqua purchased a property in Haverhill, Mass., in 2006 from a trust administered by U.S. Bank National Association. However, U.S. Bank did not hold a valid assignment at the time it initiated foreclosure, according to a case summary available on Coakley's website states. As a result, U.S. Bank lacked the legal authority to foreclose on the property and transfer clear title to Bevilacqua.