The Plaintiff law firm, Russell & Associates, LLC (Russell), filed its Verified Complaint in this action on March 25, 2010, seeking declarations as to the priority of certain liens it claimed to hold on the real property known and numbered as 1040 Broadway (Route 1 North) in Saugus, Massachusetts (the Property). The Property, which was once owned by Interested Party Link Development, LLC, is approximately 23 acres in size and includes one registered parcel and three unregistered parcels.
At the time Russell commenced this lawsuit, Russell and Defendant RFF Family Partnership, LP (RFF) both held mortgages granted by Link on the Property. [Note 1] In addition to Russells claim to hold a first priority attorneys lien on the Property, [Note 2] the Verified Complaint sought declaratory judgment that the mortgage on the registered parcel given by Link to Defendant Desert Pine, LLC, a/k/a Desert Palm, LLC (Desert Pine) and later assigned to Russell (the Desert Palm Mortgage), was in first position priority against the registered parcel. RFF, among other defenses, claimed that Desert Pine expressly subordinated the Desert Palm Mortgage to RFFs mortgage. Counsel for the two active parties remaining in this case, Russell and RFF, have since represented to the court that the sole remaining controversy in the instant case centers on the relative priorities of the mortgage liens Link granted to RFF and Desert Pine on the registered parcel.
Defendant RFF filed its Motion for Summary Judgment on April 16, 2014. Russell filed its Opposition to RFFs Motion for Summary Judgment on June 2, 2014. A hearing on RFFs Motion for Summary Judgment was conducted on February 23, 2015.
By Summary Judgment Decision issued July 20, 2016, as set forth more fully therein, this court granted summary judgment to RFF. In accordance with that Decision, it is hereby:
ORDERED, ADJUDGED, and DECLARED that Desert Pine is not entitled to invoke the protections of the registration statute, G.L. c. 185, § 46, to claim that the Desert Palm Mortgage is a valid first lien on the registered parcel.
ORDERED, ADJUDGED, and DECLARED that Desert Pine may not enforce the Desert Palm Mortgage as a lien on the registered parcel beyond any surplus proceeds of the foreclosure of RFFs mortgage. [Note 3]
[Note 1] Neither Russell nor RFF have held a lien on the Property since 2012. RFF foreclosed on its mortgage lien in 2011, the day after this lawsuit was commenced. Russell re-assigned the mortgage it held to Desert Pine in 2012, as part of a settlement agreement in yet a third lawsuit involving the Property. No Party, however, has ever attempted to amend the pleadings to reflect the changed circumstances by adding or substituting parties or asserting new claims.
[Note 2] Plaintiffs Verified Complaint included a claim for declaratory judgment that it held a statutory attorneys lien on the Property with first priority, as well as an order requiring the Recorder to accept Plaintiffs certificate of attorneys lien for filing. In an Order dated December 3, 2010, this Court allowed in part and denied in part RFFs Special Motion to Dismiss, dismissing Plaintiffs claims that it held a priority lien on the Property in the form of an attorneys lien, but denying the Special Motion to Dismiss as to Plaintiffs claim that its mortgage held by assignment has priority over RFFs mortgage. The Appeals Court affirmed the December 3, 2010 order on December 22, 2011 in Case No. 2011-P-0552.
[Note 3] Because this declaratory judgment is in rem, it does not alter or otherwise amend the certificate of title to the registered parcel.