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Massachusetts Civil Procedure Rule 62: Stay of Proceedings to Enforce a Judgment

[Disclaimer]

(a) Automatic Stay; Exceptions — Injunctions and Receiverships. Except as stated herein, no execution shall issue upon a judgment nor shall proceedings be taken for its enforcement until the time for appeal from the judgment has expired. In the District Court, in the case of a default judgment, no execution shall issue until 10 days after entry of such judgment. Unless otherwise ordered by the court, an interlocutory or final judgment in an action for an injunction or in a receivership action shall not be stayed during the period after its entry and until an appeal is taken or during the pendency of an appeal. The provisions of subdivision (c) of this rule govern the suspending, modifying, restoring, or granting of an injunction during the pendency of an appeal.

(b) Stay on Motion to Vacate Judgment. In its discretion and on such conditions for the security of the adverse party as are proper, the court may stay the execution of or any proceedings to enforce a judgment pending the disposition of a motion for relief from a judgment or order made pursuant to Rule 60.

(c) Injunction Pending Appeal. When an appeal is taken from an interlocutory or final judgment granting, dissolving, or denying an injunction, the court in its discretion may suspend, modify, restore, or grant an injunction during the pendency of the appeal upon such terms as to bond or otherwise as it considers proper for the security of the rights of the adverse party.

(d) Stay Upon Appeal. Except as otherwise provided in these rules, the taking of an appeal from a judgment shall stay execution upon the judgment during the pendency of the appeal.

(e) Power of Appellate Court Not Limited. The provisions in this rule do not limit any power of the appellate court or of a single justice thereof to stay proceedings during the pendency of an appeal or to suspend, modify, restore, or grant an injunction during the pendency of an appeal or to make any order appropriate to preserve the status quo or the effectiveness of the judgment subsequently to be entered.

(f) Stay of Judgment as to Multiple Claims or Multiple Parties. When a court has ordered a final judgment under the conditions stated in Rule 54(b) the court may stay enforcement of that judgment until the entering of a subsequent judgment or judgments and may prescribe such conditions as are necessary to secure the benefit thereof to the party in whose favor the judgment is entered.

Amended April 18, 1980, effective July 1, 1980; amended effective July 1, 1996.

Reporter's Notes (1996) The 1996 amendment to Rule 62(a) retains in a new second sentence the procedure that had been applicable in the District Court prior to the merger dealing with default judgments. The "Comments" to Rule 62, as originally adopted in the District Court in 1975, explain the rationale for the District Court approach as follows:

This sentence insures a stay of executions on default judgments for a period of time similar to the stay of executions allowed for other judgments during the period in which they may be appealed. Unless extended, the period for appeal of judgments other than default judgments is ten days ....

(1973) Federal Rule 62, which permits execution to issue immediately after judgment, has been modified to reflect existing Massachusetts law as to the period during which execution is automatically stayed. Federal Rules 62(e) and 62(f) are inapplicable to state practice and have been omitted.

Under Rule 62(a) execution is automatically stayed "until the time for appeal from the judgment has expired." Heretofore, in actions at law in the Superior Court, entry of judgment was delayed until the expiration of the 20-day period for claiming an appeal (former G.L. c. 231, § 96). This obviates provision for stay of execution. However, Rule 58 requires judgment to be entered immediately upon the determination of the rights of the parties. Rule 62(a) will automatically stay execution for 30 days (60 days if the Commonwealth or one of its officers or agencies is a party) following entry of judgment. See Appellate Rule 4. No bond will be required during the waiting period.

Formerly, in equity matters, under G.L. c. 214, § 29, no execution could issue upon a final decree of the Superior Court or the Supreme Judicial Court until the expiration of 20 days from entry of the decree. This was the period allowed by former G.L. c. 214, § 19 for appeal from the decree.

The automatic stay provision of Rule 62(a) does not apply to a judgment ordering an injunction or a judgment in a receivership action. In those cases, the judgment is immediately enforceable, unless a stay is ordered by the court. This provision of Rule 62(a) must be read with Rule 62(c), which provides that when an appeal is taken from an interlocutory or final judgment granting, dissolving, or denying an injunction, the court in its discretion may suspend, modify, restore, or grant an injunction during the pendency of the appeal upon such terms as to bond or otherwise as it considers proper for the security of the rights of the adverse party.

Rules 62(a) and (c) do not substantially alter prior Massachusetts practice with respect to the stay of enforcement of a judgment in an action for an injunction or in a receivership action. "Proceedings under a final decree are stayed under G.L. (Ter.Ed.) c. 214, § 19, but only after an appeal has been seasonably claimed and the appeal is entered.... During the time which must necessarily elapse before appeal can be perfected, there is a statutory power in the court that entered the decree.... to grant any needed injunction and to make any other proper interlocutory order, pending appeal. G.L. (Ter.Ed.) c. 214, §§ 21, 22." Carlson v. Lawrence H. Oppenheim Co., 334 Mass. 462, 465 (1956).

Rule 62(b) is an abbreviated version of Federal Rule 62(b). References to Rules 50, 52 and 59 are omitted. The language of section (a) encompasses these situations since the time for claiming an appeal, as computed under Appellate Rule 4, is suspended during the pendency of such motions. A motion for relief from judgment under Rule 60 replaces those provisions of G.L. c. 250, dealing with writs of error, vacating judgment, and writs of review. Rule 62(b) states familiar Massachusetts practice requiring a bond before an application for such relief can stay proceedings to enforce a judgment.

Rule 62(d) declares prior practice. But because Rule 58 reverses the appeal/entry-of-judgment sequence, Rule 62(d) makes clear that the taking of an appeal stays execution upon the judgment during the pendency of the appeal.

Rule 62(e) also follows prior practice.

Rule 62(f) is a corollary of Rule 54(b), which deals with multiple claims or multiple parties, and allows judgments to be entered as to one or more, but fewer than all, claims or parties upon an express determination that there exists no reason for delay. Rule 62(f) allows the court to stay enforcement of such judgments until the entering of a subsequent judgment or judgments. The stay may relate to a period beyond the time for appeal of such judgments. Rule 62(f) also permits the court to prescribe whatever conditions may be necessary to protect the party in whose favor the judgment has been entered.