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Wells Fargo Bank N.A. v. Bobadilla

Appeals Court of Massachusetts, Essex

May 1, 2019

WELLS FARGO BANK N.A., trustee, [1]
v.
MARIA BOBADILLA.

          Heard: February 4, 2019.

         Summary Process. Complaint filed in the Northeast Division of the Housing Court Department on February 16, 2017.

         The case was heard by Fairlie A. Dalton, J.; a motion for relief from judgment was heard by David D. Kerman, J., and a motion to reinstate the original judgment was also heard by him.

          Lucas B. McArdle for the defendant.

          Brian Linehan for the plaintiff.

          Present: Maldonado, Singh, & Wendlandt, JJ.

          WENDLANDT, J.

         This appeal concerns a Housing Court judge's (motion judge) discretionary decision to allow, on a limited basis, a motion for relief from judgment pursuant to Mass. R. Civ. P. 60 (b), 365 Mass. 828 (1974). Specifically, after a trial on the merits, at which the defendant, Maria Bobadilla, appeared pro se, judgment entered in favor of the plaintiff, Wells Fargo Bank N.A. (Wells Fargo) on its summary process complaint (original judgment). Bobadilla moved for relief from the judgment on various grounds, including that a 2010 default judgment entered in the Land Court (default judgment) erroneously permitted Wells Fargo's predecessor in interest to reform the mortgage to add her as comortgagor. The motion judge allowed the motion for the limited purpose of permitting Bobadilla the opportunity to bring a motion in the Land Court to vacate the default judgment. After a Land Court judge denied Bobadilla's motion to vacate and the time to appeal had expired, the motion judge reentered judgment in favor of Wells Fargo. Discerning no abuse of discretion in the motion judge's decision to limit reopening of the summary process action to the collateral Land Court issue, we affirm.

         Background.

         Bobadilla and Carmelo Francisco acquired the subject property as tenants by the entirety by quitclaim deed in 2004. In 2006, Francisco executed a promissory note secured by a mortgage to New Century Mortgage Corporation (New Century). Bobadilla was not named on the mortgage. In 2007, Francisco defaulted on the loan payments.

         In 2010, New Century filed an action in the Land Court to reform the mortgage to add Bobadilla as a comortgagor. Although Bobadilla received notice of the Land Court action, she did not appear. The default judgment entered, and the mortgage was reformed to include Bobadilla as comortgagor. Bobadilla did not appeal.

         In 2012, New Century assigned the mortgage to Wells Fargo as trustee for Carrington Mortgage Loan Trust Series 2006-NC2 Asset-Backed Pass-Through Certificates. In 2015, after providing notice of the foreclosure sale, Wells Fargo conducted a foreclosure sale, at which it was the highest bidder.

         Wells Fargo thereafter commenced the present summary process action. Bobadilla received notice of the action, [2] and in March 2017, a trial on the merits was held. Bobadilla and Francisco testified at the trial and presented various defenses. Wells Fargo relied on an affidavit of sale, as well as the default judgment. Following the trial, a Housing Court judge (trial judge) found the defenses raised to be without merit, and the original judgment entered in favor of Wells Fargo.

         Subsequently, Bobadilla and Francisco obtained counsel and filed a motion for relief from judgment. The motion judge (who was not the trial judge) allowed the motion. The motion judge subsequently clarified that the motion was allowed for the limited purpose of permitting Bobadilla time to attempt to vacate the default judgment. Consistent with that scope of relief, Bobadilla filed a ...


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