Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS) has faced unceasing controversy from litigators and scholars for its role in foreclosures, its effect on public records transparency, and its role in the housing bubble. While scholarly accounts have described the challenges MERS has faced in foreclosure and bankruptcy courts, this essay seeks to examine the most recent burgeoning challenge to MERS’ manner of business: county clerkand qui tam lawsuits.
All around the nation, county clerks and quitclaim litigants have begun to file lawsuits against MERS, alleging a number of claims, including that (1) MERS violated state laws requiring assignments to be recorded; (2) MERS used deceptive language to avoid recording laws; and (3) MERS has been unjustfully enriched by depriving county clerks of recording fee revenue. Ultimately, the essay finds that most courts have rejected these claims against MERS, but that such lawsuits remain an expensive risk to MERS.
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