Lawyers e-Journal

Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010
Image for MBA legislative news

Legislative News

The MBA files brief in appeal of REBA v. N.R.E.I.S decision

The Massachusetts Bar Association filed an amicus curiae brief in the United States Court of Appeals in support of the Real Estate Bar Association (REBA), which is appealing the April 2009 ruling of Judge Joseph L. Tauro's decision in Real Estate Bar Association for Massachusetts v. National Real Estate Information Services, Inc. (NREIS).  

REBA brought suit against NREIS arguing that the defendants engaged in the unauthorized practice of law by performing real estate conveyances and issuing title insurance. In his ruling, Tauro sided with NREIS limiting the role of lawyers in residential real estate closings. He also sided with NREIS in their counterclaim that REBA's interpretation of the unauthorized practice of law issue violates the United States Constitution's Dormant Commerce Clause, and awarded fees and costs to NREIS totaling over $900,000.

The MBA believes that due to its order granting summary judgment for the defendants, the district court adopted a definition of the practice of law which is contrary to the policy of the commonwealth.

Although the MBA's arguments centered on support of REBA's claim that Tauro erred in his determination that NREIS is not engaged in the unauthorized practice of law, the MBA also supports the appeal of Tauro's order on legal fees. The MBA believes that the REBA suit was not state action and the imposition of liability on REBA under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 penalizes the free exercise of the constitutionally protected right to bring reasonably based claims for judicial relief.

Click here to see the MBA's amicus curiae brief in Real Estate Bar Association v. National Real Estate Information Services, Inc.

©2014 Massachusetts Bar Association