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Servicing

Another MERS county recording-fee suit dismissed

County commissioners in Cleveland County, Okla., became the latest plaintiffs to see a recorder-fee lawsuit filed against the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems dismissed by a judge.

The county, like dozens of others, sued MERS claiming the electronic mortgage registry failed to pay recording fees on numerous mortgage recordings and assignments made during the years of mass loan securitizations.

However, Oklahoma State District Judge Lori Walkley ruled in the County of Cleveland v. MERS case that although the state of Oklahoma does require the recording of mortgages and mortgage assignments, the Commissioners had no private right of action to enforce the state provisions in court.

So far, MERS says 8 county lawsuits against the registry over recording fees have been dismissed, two are on appeal and 14 remain active.

It is unknown if an appeal will be filed in the Cleveland County case, but it's a win for MERS for now.

"Courts across the country are dismissing recorder fee lawsuits, including counties in Iowa, Florida, Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri and Kentucky," said Jason Lobo with MERSCORP, the parent company of MERS.

However, several big cases remain active, including one out of Dallas County in which the local district attorney filed a multi-million suit over recording fees that he alleged were owed to the jurisdiction by MERS.

The recording-fee issue has been a contentious one for MERS. And while dismissals have leaned in MERS' favor in several cases, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania green lighted a county recorder's class-action lawsuit on behalf of all Pennsylvania county recorders against MERS last year.

The judge allowed the suit to move forward, saying state law requires the recording of all property conveyances and the legislature intends for plaintiffs to possess the right to try and enforce the statute.

kpanchuk@housingwire.com

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