Home Fillipe Almeida, Plaintiff v. Tatiana Barbosa, Defendant


January 31, 2020

Housing Court, Southeast Division



This matter came before the Court on Defendant's Motion for Reconsideration and Plaintiff's Motion to Withdraw Satisfaction of Judgment. Both parties appeared represented by counsel. After presentation by the parties via written motion, opposition, and oral argument and through documentary evidence after drawing reasonable inferences therefrom the Court finds the following;

1. That the Plaintiff is the owner of property located at 206 Irving Street, Apt 2 Fall River, Massachusetts ("Premises") where the Defendant currently resides.

2. That for non-payment of rent the Plaintiff terminated the tenancy of the Defendant via a notice to quit dated August 23, 2019. Said notice contained a reservation of rights to accept use and occupancy without reinstating the tenancy.

3. That the parties appeared on October 17, 2019 represented by counsel.

4. That the parties negotiated an Agreement for Judgment ("Agreement") that inter alia entered judgment for possession and $673.00 in damages for unpaid rent to the Plaintiff.

5. In paragraph 6 (c) of the Agreement the Defendant agreed to vacate the Premises on or before December 31, 2019.

6. Additionally in paragraph 6(a) of the Agreement the Defendant agreed to pay the monthly sum of $46 as rent beginning in November 2019 and "continuing until she vacates."

7. The agreement contains no contingency language stating that if Defendant paid the sums due under the judgment that the tenancy would be reinstated.

8. The parties also agreed, with the continued involvement of counsel, to work on the completion of certain forms that would help facilitate the Defendant moving with her Section 8 voucher to another residence.

9. On or about December 30, 2019 the Plaintiff received a text message on behalf of the Defendant stating, "Felipe you or your mother have to be here to receive payment and get this issue resolved so we can begin moving."

10. Plaintiff, without the benefit of counsel, met the Defendant at the Southeast Housing Court and accepted payment of the judgment amount of $673.00 and also executed an acknowledgement of Satisfaction of Judgment.

11. Plaintiff reasonably believed that this form was necessary to assist the Defendant in the transfer of her Section 8 voucher and facilitate her moving out of the Premises.

12. On January 1, 2020 the Defendant was still occupying the Premises and refused to move arguing that the payment of the judgment and execution of the Satisfaction of Judgment voided her obligation to vacate the Premises and operated to reinstate her tenancy.

13. On Thursday January 9, 2020 the Plaintiff appeared on a motion for issuance of the execution claiming that the Defendant had not complied with the terms of the Agreement.

14. The Court after hearing allowed said motion and the Defendant filed a motion for reconsideration which is now before the Court.

15. Plaintiff filed a Motion to Withdraw Satisfaction of Judgment under Mass.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(3)(6) claiming that the Defendant fraudulently induced him into signing the Satisfaction of Judgment.


This case firmly belongs in the category of "No good deed goes unpunished." It also reflects an unfortunate development in the future of good faith negotiations between adverse parties in this Court and more importantly, in the reliance and trust between legal counsel during and after those negotiations. In considering the motion of Plaintiff under Mass.R.Civ.P. 60(b) (3) the Court is authorized to exercise discretion in determining whether a judgment is void under certain conditions due to fraudulent conduct or misrepresentation by a party.

First, in considering the alleged fraudulent conduct of the Defendant, the Court turns to Barron's legal dictionary, which defines fraud as "intentional deception resulting in injury to another." The elements of fraud are further defined as,

"a false and material misrepresentation made by one who knows of its falsity or is ignorant of its truth; the maker's intent that the representation be relied upon by the person and in a manner reasonably contemplated; the persons ignorance of the falsity of the representation and the person's rightful or justified reliance and resulting injury to the person."

In short, fraud generally consists of the misrepresentation, concealment or nondisclosure of a material fact or at least misleading conduct, devices or contrivance by one party that leads to damage to another party.

In the case before the Court, the parties had negotiated an Agreement for Judgment in good faith in which both parties gave up and received certain benefits. In essence, the Plaintiff received a judgment for possession and $673.00 and in exchange for those benefits he agreed to allow the Defendant additional time to find alternate accommodations and to assist her in that endeavor. In pursuit of those joint goals, the Plaintiff and his counsel continued to engage with the Defendant and her counsel concerning the execution of paperwork that would assist in facilitating the Defendant vacating the Premises. (See Plaintiff's Exhibit B)

On the eve of the anticipated exit by Defendant from the Premises, she contacted the Plaintiff and informed him that she needed a satisfaction of judgment so that she could successfully transfer her Section 8 voucher. To that end, the Defendant via text informed the Plaintiff, "Felipe you or your mother have to be here to receive payment and get this issue resolved so we can begin moving." (See Plaintiff's Exhibit C). The Plaintiff, continuing to act in good faith, met the Defendant at the Housing Court and, without the benefit of counsel or knowingly or intelligently understanding the potential consequences of his actions, accepted payment from the Defendant and executed a Satisfaction of Judgment provided to him by the Defendant. As a result, the Defendant now claims that by accepting payment of the judgment amount and executing the Satisfaction of Judgment the Defendant has voided the remaining terms of the Agreement and reinstated her tenancy. The Court disagrees.

I find the statements and the conduct of the Defendant to be misleading and fraudulent in nature. The evidence presented to the Court clearly shows the Defendant [Note 1] acted deliberately and with a specific intention to mislead and fraudulently induce the Plaintiff to accept the funds which were legally due to him and to execute a document that adversely affected his interest. I find that the Plaintiff took such action in reliance upon the Defendant's statement that he needed to do so in order to preserve the Defendants Section 8 voucher and so she "can begin moving." I find that the Plaintiff would not have taken such action but for the fraudulent conduct of the defendant. Defendant's actions are in direct contravention to the conduct required of parties involved in a negotiation and clearly support Plaintiff's motion to withdraw Satisfaction of Judgment under Mass.R.Civ.P. 60(b) (3).

For the above stated reasons,

1. Plaintiff's Motion to withdraw the Satisfaction of Judgment is ALLOWED.

2. Defendant's Motion to Reconsider is DENIED without further hearing.

3. Execution for possession to issue forthwith.



[Note 1] It is unclear from the record whether the Defendant was acting on the advice of counsel with respect to the activites of December 30, 2019.