Enforcement of Judgments, Massachusetts. Commercial Collections Attorney, Randi Levine, Boston Massachusetts
Massachusetts Enforcement of Judgements, Business Litigation Attorney, Randi Levine, Boston Massachusetts

What You Don’t Know You Don’t Know- Collections and Enforcement of Judgments

(Especially for Lawyers)

1. A Levy on Real Estate Must Be “Brought Forward” Every Six Years

So you have a judgment and you “levy and suspend” on real estate standing in the name of the debtor. Don’t forget to calendar ahead for SIX YEARS. At that time, the levy will expire and become a nullity, unless you “bring it forward” by recording a simple document on the land records. M.G.L. c. 236 § 49A.

2. Real Estate Attachment Must be “recorded” within 30 Days of Issuance to Execution to Preserve “Relation Back” to Prejudgment Attachment

Prejudgment attachments on real estate will expire and become a nullity unless within 30 days of the issuance of execution, the lien is “rerecorded”. M.G.L.A. c. 223, § 59.

3. Holder of Execution May Record Lien on Rental Property and Demand Payment of Rental Income

Under M.G.L.c. 236 § 16, a holder of a judgment lien on rental property may demand payment of rental income from the tenants.

4. Small Claims Judgment in Favor of Plaintiff May Be Appealed to a Jury Trial

Yes, small claims court is quick and efficient, but be aware that if you win, where the case is heard by a magistrate and not a judge, the defendant has a right to appeal the judgment to a jury trial in District Court. Uniform Small Claims Rule 7(f).

5. Claims for Unpaid Professional Fees Brought After Three Years May Still Be Met with a Counterclaim for “Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices”

Some professionals, including attorneys will wait three years to bring a claim for unpaid fees to allow the statute of limitations for malpractice to expire, taking advantage of the longer (six years) statute of limitations for contract claims. However, defendants often raise counterclaims under M.G.L. c 93A “unfair and deceptive trade practices”, to which a four year statute of limitation applies. M.G.L. c. 236 § 5A.

6. A “Special Attachment” Will Allow a Creditor to Attach Real Estate that is Not Standing In the Name of the Debtor

If your debtor is the beneficiary of a trust and you haven’t named the trustee of the trust as a defendant, you can still, under certain circumstances attach the property held in trust under M.G.L. c. 223 § 67. Although the statute is entitled “Fraudulently conveyed realty; general provisions” it in fact has broader application.

Randi Levine, Attorney at Law   20 Walnut Street, Suite 201   Wellesley, MA 02481
phone: 781 997-1602 | fax: 781-465-6055 | email: randi@randilevine.com