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The 191st General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 87BBB: Investigations and hearings by board of registration of real estate brokers and salesmen; powers; decisions; appeals; costs

Section 87BBB. A. The board is hereby empowered to conduct such investigations and hearings and to take such action as may be appropriate and necessary to administer and enforce the provisions of sections eighty-seven PP to eighty-seven CCC, inclusive, and to report the violation of any provision of said sections to the proper prosecuting officers. The board may require by summons the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of books and papers. Witnesses at hearings shall be duly sworn. Any member, or agent of the board designated for such purpose, may administer oaths, examine witnesses and receive evidence. The board may take testimony by deposition as in civil actions in the superior court. In case of the failure or refusal of a witness to appear and testify or to produce books and papers as required, the superior court for the county in which the investigation is carried on, or for the county in which the witness resides or has his principal place of business, upon application by the board, shall have jurisdiction to issue to such witness an order requiring such witness to appear before the board, there to produce books and papers, if so ordered, or to give testimony concerning the matter under investigation or in question. Witnesses summoned before the board shall be paid the same fees and mileage paid to witnesses in civil cases in the courts.

B. Decisions of the board shall be by at least a majority thereof and shall be in writing, signed by the members making the same, and shall contain a statement of the reasons therefor including determination of each issue of fact or law necessary thereto and shall be sent to each interested party. No renewal of a license shall be refused, and no license shall be suspended or revoked, except after a hearing, of which at least ten days' written notice, including a statement of the grounds and a copy of the complaint or charges, if any, which the board proposes to consider, shall be given to the applicant for renewal or the licensee, who shall have the right to appear personally and by counsel at such hearing and to cross-examine witnesses and to produce evidence. In the case of a decision refusing to grant an original license, such a hearing shall be held, if, within ten days of the receipt of the decision the applicant files a written request with the board for such a hearing. The board shall fix the time and place of all hearings.

C. Any person aggrieved by a decision of the board refusing to grant or renew, or suspending or revoking, a license after a hearing, may appeal to the superior court sitting in equity for the county wherein he resides or has his principal place of business, or to said court sitting in equity for the county of Suffolk; provided, that such appeal shall be filed in such court within twenty days following receipt of notification by the board of such decision. The court shall hear all pertinent evidence and determine the facts, and upon the facts as so determined, annul such decision if found to exceed the authority of the board, or make such decree or decision as justice and equity may require. The foregoing remedy shall be exclusive, but the parties shall have all rights of appeal and exception as in other equity cases.

Costs shall not be allowed against the board unless it shall appear to the court that the board acted with gross negligence or in bad faith or with malice in making the decision appealed from. Costs shall not be allowed against the party appealing from the decision of the board unless it shall appear to the court that said party acted in bad faith or with malice in making the appeal to the court.

Such appeal from a decision of the board refusing renewal of or suspending or revoking a license shall not operate as a stay of such refusal, suspension or revocation pending the final determination of such appeal.