Practice Pointers: Appealing a Massachusetts Eviction Case


A party who receives an unfavorable decision in a Massachusetts eviction case has the option of appealing.  In an appeal, the party asks the appellate court to review the decisions made by the trial court and decide if they were done correctly.  An appellate court will not decide the case all over again, but instead will review the issues of law made by the trial judge.

There are many, many things to consider and discuss in deciding whether to appeal, but here’s the most important thing to remember: a party who wants to appeal must timely file a notice of appeal.  A notice of appeal is a simple form that tells the court and other side that you wish to appeal.  A party can obtain a notice of appeal form from the clerk’s office, who can also answer questions on how to fill it out.

Massachusetts eviction (“summary process”) law requires a party to file this notice of appeal within ten days of the court’s decision.  The failure to timely file this notice of appeal can be deadly for bringing an appeal:  Massachusetts courts have stated that the failure to file this notice of appeal within this ten-day deadline prevents a party from appealing (regardless of whether the party had a good reason for not timely filing this notice of appeal).

With that said, be sure to file a notice of appeal if you intend to appeal your case, or have any thought of doing so.  An appeal can always be dismissed, but the failure to bring a notice of appeal is an error that is often “unforgivable” by trial courts.

If you are considering appealing your eviction case, contact me for a consultation.  Appeals require an enormous amount of work and it is best to have an experienced attorney on your side.