Bobby Rudolph Featured in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly’s “Land Court judge rescues sale of property from improperly filed lis pendens”

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly featured Bobby Rudolph in its August 14, 2023, issue in “Land Court judge rescues sale of property from improperly filed lis pendens.” The article highlights a case Bobby recently handled, Sharari v. Laura Road Holdings, which involved the sale of a residential property at 20 Laura Road in Newton, MA.

The plaintiff in the case, Kader Sharari, filed a verified complaint alleging that he purchased the residential property in Newton in January 2022 for $2,020,000.00 and it was fraudulently transferred out of his name. He filed a verified complaint that made no claim for relief or demand for judgment and a proposed “Memorandum of Lis Pendens,” but filed no motion seeking approval or endorsement of the memorandum of lis pendens by the Court. The plaintiff’s attorney then improperly presented the unendorsed memorandum of lis pendens for recording at the Middlesex South District Registry of Deeds, and the Registry improperly accepted the memorandum of lis pendens for recording.

With a closing scheduled on July 10, 2023, Bobby filed an emergency motion on July 5 to dissolve the memorandum of lis pendens and a special motion to dismiss on behalf of the corporate defendant, Laura Road Holdings LLC (the owner of record of 20 Laura Road). A hearing was held on July 7, 2023, ahead of the closing for the sale of the property to a third-party buyer. By the afternoon of July 7, 2023, Land Court Judge Howard P. Speicher issued an eight-page decision granting relief to Rudolph Friedmann’s client.

“This case demonstrated exceptional responsiveness by the court and the judge to a time-sensitive issue that would have resulted in substantial hardship to innocent third parties if not dealt with swiftly,” Bobby said. “This is how the system is supposed to work.”

In his ruling, Judge Speicher noted, fatal to the memorandum of lis pendens, was the undisputed fact that it had been presented for recording at the registry of deeds without the required endorsement of the Court. There was also no evidence that the plaintiff’s attorney had given notice of the memorandum of lis pendens to the individual defendants. As for the special motion to dismiss, Judge Speicher said he did not even need to consider the defendants’ affidavits contesting the plaintiff’s factual allegations because the verified complaint was “facially noncompliant with the most basic pleading rules.”

Bobby noted that the case illustrates that a party must comply with G.L. c. 184, §15, to obtain and enforce a memorandum of lis pendens. “The court is not going to permit abuse of the process set forth in the lis pendens statute by an attorney or a client to engage in wrongful gamesmanship. That is expressly why the lis pendens statute was amended in 1985 — to prevent a litigant from recording a memorandum of lis pendens without Court approval and notice to the other party.”

Read the article in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.


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