Banker and Tradesman is reporting that Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank will appeal the controversial U.S. Bank v. Ibanez Massachusetts Land Court decision that stung the lenders earlier this year by invalidating two foreclosures in Springfield because of improperly recorded mortgage assignments.
Lenders filed the appeal on Oct. 29, according to Lawrence Scofield, a senior real estate attorney at Ablitt Law Offices of Woburn, who represented the lenders in the Land Court case. Scofield said Ablitt Law Office would not handle the appeal, but would work with an unnamed “downtown law office” that will be retained to argue in Appeals Court. Scofield said the lenders, lawyers, and parties that filed amicus briefs in the Land Court will meet this week to discuss the more substantive details of the appeal. The disputed decision has raised questions in the mortgage industry regarding potentially thousands of clouded titles, as the practice of back-dating mortgage assignments had been widely used in recent years. “This is a big deal,” Scofield said. “I hope in the worst case situation, the court will recognize the public policy impact this would have, and make this prospective decision and not a retroactive decision, which could really mitigate some of the collateral damage.”
My prior posts on this very important and far-reaching decision can be found here.
If the appeal takes the typical course in the Appeals Court, a decision may not come for up to one year. Given the importance of the decision, I had originally predicted that the lenders would file a direct appeal to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, the highest appellate court in the state. There’s no indication that the case is going up to the Supreme Judicial Court.