Ninth Circuit throws out case against MERS
The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upheld a lower court's decision to dismiss a fraud suit filed against the Mortgage Electronic Registration System, Bank of America (BAC) and countless other financial institutions this week. The original suit, which was filed by three homeowners as a putative class action, accused BofA, which now owns mortgage lender Countrywide, and other financial institutions of using MERS, an electronic mortgage registry, for fraudulent purposes, according to court records. The plaintiffs – Olga Cervantes, Carlos Almendarez and Arturo Maximo – also claimed lenders violated the Truth in Lending Act , the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act while also inflicting emotional distress on the plaintiffs for issuing them loans they could not repay. The Ninth Circuit agreed with the lower court and upheld the dismissal, saying even though the "plaintiffs allege that aspects of the MERS system are fraudulent, they cannot establish that they were misinformed about the MERS system, relied on any misinformation in entering into their home loans, or were injured as a result of the misinformation." The court added that in fact the plaintiffs seemed to indicate in their allegations that they had been informed about some aspect of the MERS system. Lawrence Grayson, a spokesperson for BofA, said, "We are pleased by the ruling, which not only resolves the case in favor of the lender and servicer defendants but also correctly addresses some commonly raised misconceptions about MERS." Write to: Kerri Panchuk.