For the second day in a row, MERSCORP is celebrating a legal victory in a case brought by disgruntled mortgagors who claim that MERS doesn’t have the authority to assign a mortgage.
On Thursday, the company announced a series of victories in Rhode Island, including a ruling by the Supreme Court of Rhode Island. In that case, the Supreme Court dismissed a series of appeals, in which borrowers had challenged MERS’ authority to hold or assign mortgage interests and promissory notes under Rhode Island state law.
And Friday, the company announced that it had secured another favorable verdict, this time in Texas.
According to a release from MERS, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed a District Court judgment on the pleadings, dismissing the borrower-plaintiffs’ complaint in Van Duzer v. U.S. Bank, N.A., MERSCORP Holdings, MERS, et al.
In that case, the plaintiffs questioned MERS’ authority to assign a mortgage in a case related to the origination, subsequent assignment, and attempted foreclosure of a home equity loan.
In its ruling, the Court of Appeals cited its previous ruling Martins v. BAC Home Loans Servicing, L.P, which upheld the validity of a MERS mortgage assignment to a foreclosing entity, stating, “MERS ‘qualifies as a mortgagee’ under Texas law, and we have repeatedly upheld MERS’ assignment of mortgages to other entities.”
In addition to challenging MERS authority to assign the mortgage to U.S. Bank, the plaintiffs also brought 15 additional courses of action.
The appellate court upheld the lower court’s dismissal of these claims, stating, “These counts largely consist of baseless attacks on the MERS system, which has been upheld in this circuit on numerous occasions, as noted.”
The Texas triumph continues a string of legal victories for MERS.
In August, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit also affirmed MERS’ authority to assign a mortgage in a case in which the plaintiff appealed the dismissal of his wrongful foreclosure suit, claiming, among other things, that the recorded security instrument “constituted a fraudulent claim against real property because MERS never acquired a security interest in the mortgage properties, and therefore, the recording denominating MERS as a beneficiary of the security instruments are fraudulent.”
Also in August, the U.S. District Court of Minnesota issued three rulings confirming lower court rulings that showed that Bank of America, Wells Fargo (WFC), and Bank of New York Mellon (BK) had all established unbroken chains of title under Minnesota law by producing mortgages in which MERS was named the original mortgagee and subsequent assignments by MERS to the foreclosing entities.
MERSCORP Holdings Vice President for Corporate Communications Janis Smith hailed the latest legal victory for MERS.
“We are most pleased that the Fifth Circuit has ruled many times that MERS qualifies as mortgagee under Texas law and has repeatedly upheld MERS assignments,” Smith said.