The Public Interest Law Center prepared an amicus brief in a Commonwealth Court case brought by several counties and county recorders of deeds to challenge the MERS system. The brief is submitted in support of Pennsylvania counties and recording officials seeking to enforce Pennsylvania law in accordance with their legal duties and the public interest. Our amici include three legal services organizations and two consumer advocacy groups who have allegedly suffered as a result of MERSCORP, Inc.’s malpractice.
MERSCORP, Inc. provides access to registered home mortgages and investor information through a free and nationwide database. MERSCORP, Inc. has a legal responsibility to track the ownership of mortgage loans in the United States.
According to the amicus brief, MERSCORP, Inc. disregards the law and the public’s best interest by allowing investors to bypass the county recorder’s office and withholding information regarding the transfer of loans between lenders. MERSCORP, Inc. is then able to avoid the county recording fee, depriving numerous organizations of their legally-mandated funding.
The brief argues two overarching claims, “Under Pennsylvania Mortgage Law, a Mortgage and the Note It Secures Cannot Be Transferred Separately” and “There Is No Public-Interest Justification for Allowing MERS to Ignore the Pennsylvania Recording Statute.” Essentially, “…consumers and the public at large not only do not benefit from, but in fact are harmed by, incomplete public land records and the evasion of filing fees that fund essential civil legal services and affordable housing for low-income people.” The services rely heavily on these funds to provide for people in need.
The Law Center challenged MERSCORP, Inc.’s practices previously. In 2011, the Law Center supported the Montgomery County Recorder of Deeds in their lawsuit against MERSCORP, Inc. At the time the judge refused our amicus brief for technical reasons and unfortunately the past case, which highlighted the fraud for the first time, failed in the third circuit last year. However, we stand unwavering in support of the organizations affected by the actions of MERSCORP, Inc.