The Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, or MERS for short, won another recording-fee lawsuit in Rhode Island.

The case, Town of Johnson v. MERS, revolves around a town’s lawsuit against MERS and various financial firms over claims that the town was damaged by MERS and the banks’ failure to pay recording fees for each mortgage assignment made over the course of several years.

MERS has faced similar suits across the U.S., with counties and municipalities challenging the registry’s ability to track mortgage assignments in a manner that does not involve the paying of a recording fee each time.  

Citing a precedential Rhode Island Supreme Court case - Bucci v. Lehman Bros. Bank – the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island held that Rhode Island "does not require that all mortgages and mortgage assignments be recorded."

Absent a statutory requirement in the state, damages in the case are not appropriate, the court held.