Massachusetts Civil Procedure Rule 70: Judgment for Specific Acts: Vesting Title
If a judgment directs a party to execute a conveyance of land or to deliver deeds or other documents or to perform any other specific act and the party fails to comply within the time specified, the court may direct the act to be done at the cost of the disobedient party by some other person appointed by the court and the act when so done has like effect as if done by the party. On application of the party entitled to performance, the clerk shall issue a writ of attachment against the property of the disobedient party to compel obedience to the judgment. The court may also in proper cases adjudge the party in contempt. If real or personal property is within the Commonwealth, the court in lieu of directing a conveyance thereof may enter a judgment divesting the title of any party and vesting it in others and such judgment has the effect of a conveyance executed in due form of law. When any order or judgment is for the delivery of possession, the party in whose favor it is entered is entitled to a writ of execution upon application to the clerk.
Effective Date July 1, 1974.
(1996) With the merger of the District Court Rules into the Mass.R.Civ.P., minor differences which had existed between Mass.R.Civ.P. 70 and Dist./Mun.Cts.R.Civ.P. 70 have been eliminated. These differences related to judgments for specified types of equitable relief not within District Court jurisdiction. The elimination of these differences does not broaden District Court jurisdiction. See Rule 82.
(1973) Rule 70, with a few minor changes, is the same as Federal Rule 70. Former Massachusetts practice with respect to enforcement of judgments for specific acts was generally less permissive, making no provision for alternative performance by a person appointed by the court.
G.L. c. 183, §§ 43, 44 operates identically to that portion of Rule 70 concerning the vesting of title to real property "in the party entitled thereto by the decree". Rule 70 however applies also to personal property.
Rule 70 allows the application of what are essentially legal remedies to the enforcement of equitable decrees. The effect is to ensure swift performance of obligations established by the court.