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Eaton v. Federal National Mortgage Association

Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
969 N.E.2d 1118 (2012)


Facts

Henrietta Eaton (plaintiff) owned property in Massachusetts subject to a mortgage. In 2007, Eaton refinanced the mortgage with BankUnited, FSB, naming Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS) as mortgagee and signing a note payable to BankUnited. In April 2009, MERS assigned its interest as mortgagee to Green Tree Servicing, LLC (Green Tree) (defendant). The mortgage assignment was recorded in the county deed registry, but there was no evidence that the corresponding note was transferred to Green Tree. Later that year, Eaton defaulted on the mortgage, and Green Tree foreclosed on and purchased the property as the highest bidder. Green Tree assigned the rights to its bid to Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) (defendant). In 2010, Fannie Mae brought an action in housing court to evict Eaton from the property. Eaton counterclaimed that she still owned the property, because Green Tree did not possess the underlying note and, therefore, had no authority to conduct the foreclosure sale. The housing court stayed the action while Eaton filed a complaint in trial court requesting that the foreclosure sale be declared null and void. The trial court enjoined Fannie Mae from pursuing Eaton’s eviction. Fannie Mae appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Botsford, J.)

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