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Serving
Massachusetts Agencies

Sale in Parcels

Foreclosure

Holmes v. Turner's Fall Co., 150 Mass. 535, 23 N.E. 305 (1890) held that where a mortgage covered separate and distinct parcels they might be sold at one foreclosure sale to separate purchasers.

In Pryor v. Baker, 133 Mass 459 (1882), where a mortgage covered three separate parcels and each parcel was sold separately, it was held that the sale of the first parcel was valid; whether the subsequent sales of the two remaining parcels were valid also was not determined by the court. The court held that it did not have to pass upon the validity of the sale of the second parcel at some future date, and that question remains undecided to this day, although the court intimated that the first sale might very well have—or that it should—exhaust the power:

If it be conceded that the terms of the power of sale permit only a single advertisement and sale of the mortgage premises, and that the power of sale would be exhausted by a single act, the question recurs whether the mortgagee might lawfully sell a single parcel unconnected with other parcels, even if he did not thereby obtain enough to satisfy the mortgage. The exercise of the power of sale by the mortgagee is always carefully watched, and is to be exercised with careful regard to the interest of the mortgagor.

Had all the tracts been advertised, and, upon the sale of one, enough had been received to satisfy the mortgage, the mortgagee could not have proceeded to sell the other tracts. If, after such an advertisement, upon the sale of one, enough not having been received to satisfy the mortgage, he sees fit to proceed no further with the sale, no injury can have been done to the mortgagor. If the effect of such a transaction has been to exhaust the power, or release the remaining parcels, it would be certainly an advantage.

Pryor raises a serious question as to whether multiple sales can be conduced.