Unable to leave well enough alone, the Supreme Judicial Court used a series of wooden puns in deciding not to change the longstanding rule that a landowner cannot hold a neighbor responsible for damage caused by that neighbor’s healthy tree.  Shiel v. Rowell addressed Shiel’s nuisance and trespass claims that algae on her roof was caused by the Rowells’ overhanging tree.

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In a closely-watched case affecting hundreds of stores and other commercial establishments across Massachusetts, the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) today ruled that Article 9 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights – which protects the right of equal access to ballots – trumps the right of private property owners to bar individuals from soliciting signatures in

In a case of first impression, the Appeals Court ruled last week in Allen v. Allen that a recorded deed with an acknowledgement falsely stating that the grantor had personally appeared before the notary public was unenforceable against a family member with a competing, subsequently recorded deed. 

Allen pitted the plaintiff sister, Deborah, against her defendant brother, Harold Jr.  In July

In its recent decision in Bernier v. Fredette, the Appeals Court affirmed a Land Court ruling concerning the importance of monuments in deed descriptions.  In real estate parlance, a monument is a fixed object used by surveyors to establish land boundaries.  While it doesn’t break new ground, this decision provides a good illustration of

In a decision issued last week, the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) ruled that New England Forestry Foundation, Inc. (NEFF) is a qualifying charitable organization whose forest land is exempt from property taxes under M.G.L. c. 59, § 5, clause third.  In so ruling, the SJC reversed a contrary decision of the state Appellate Tax Board (ATB).forest

NEFF owns

two (A1074067).jpgIn the last few weeks the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) decided two more cases dealing with the effects of botched foreclosure sales. 

The more important decision is U.S. Bank National Association v. Schumacher (pdf).  Schumacher arises from M.G.L. c. 244, §35A, which the Legislature enacted in 2007 in response to the foreclosure crisis.  This statute requires foreclosing banks