Editor: David Reiss
Brooklyn Law School

June 7, 2013

Mass. Appeals Court Applies Eaton Retroactively

By David Reiss

The intermediate appeals court of Massachusetts applied Eaton retroactively in Lyons v. MERS et al., 11-P-560 (June 5, 2013) notwithstanding the Mass. Supreme Court’s holding that Eaton would only apply prospectively. Eaton held that “a mortgagee may foreclose under a power of sale only if it either holds the note or is acting under the direction or as the agent of the note holder.” (1)

The intermediate appeals court found that it would be inequitable to do otherwise:  “Not only was the present case on appeal when Eaton was decided, the Lyonses actually brought their action before Eaton had even been decided in the trial court. Because the Lyonses are in an identical situation to the plaintiffs in Eaton, not a ‘somewhat similar[]’ position,” the court held “that the rule of Eaton is applicable to the Lyonses’ case, and reverse[d] the judgment” of the trial court. (1, citations omitted)

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