This is the third in a series of posts on challenges to zoning bylaws and ordinances, and the second addressing the question of where to bring a challenge to a zoning bylaw or ordinance. The prior post covered the Land Court. The Land Court, however, is not the only court of competent jurisdiction to hear these cases. As the Department of the Massachusetts Trial Court having general jurisdiction, the Superior Court has the authority to hear all manner of claims challenging zoning bylaws and ordinances. As discussed below, the United States District Court, depending on the type of challenge, has the subject matter jurisdiction to hear these types of cases as well.
As always, the real estate market is unpredictable. While looking at the neighborhood and county level, Boston Globe findings demonstrated in recent years that there has been recovery in certain markets while stagnant or nonexistent growth in other Boston area localities.
A pending commercial real estate transaction may involve between $5 billion to $6 billion changing hands. This deal involves a number of large investors including Blackstone Group LP vying for an apartment complex that contains 11,200 units. "There's been a tremendous demand for multifamily as homeownership rates have declined," said on real estate debt analyst. However, there also is a challenge for the new owners to keep rates for the tenants affordable in order to achieve success.
In Christakis v. D'Arc, 471 Mass. 365 (2015), the SJC addressed the interplay between Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code, judicial liens on real property, and the interplay between state and federal law. Specifically, the issue on appeal was "whether judicial liens on real property remain valid after the owner of the property receives a discharge under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code."
"'It is a principle of general application in Anglo-American jurisprudence that one is not bound by a judgment in personam in a litigation in which he is not designated as a party or to which he has not been made a party by service of process.'" Taylor v. Sturgell, 553 U.S. 880, 884 (2008), quoting Hansberry v. Lee, 311 U.S. 32, 40 (1940). Likewise, strangers to a judgment do not generally have the standing to enforce the same. Blue Chip Stamps v. Manor Drug Stores, 421 U.S. 723, 750 (1975). These principles also find their expression in the requirement under the res judicata doctrines of claim and issue preclusion that there be identity of the parties in order for a claim to be barred or an issue closed for consideration by prior litigation. See, e.g., Heacock v. Heacock, 402 Mass. 21, 23-24, 25 (1988). These principles also reflect substantive and procedural Due Process concerns. People should have their days in court, and not be bound by others' days in court. It is for this reason also that default judgments, Treglia v. MacDonald, 430 Mass. 237, 242 (1999), and consent decrees, New York Cent. & H.R.R. Co. v. T. Stuart & Sons, Co., 260 Mass. 242, 248-249 (1927), have no preclusive effect in subsequent litigation.