Idaho Federal Court Sides with MERS
Court affirms MERS’ authority to assign deeds of trust
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Reston, Virginia, February 22, 2012—MERSCORP, Inc. today announced that the United States District Court for the District of Idaho affirmed Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. as the beneficiary, ruling that MERS has the authority to assign its interest in deeds of trust under Idaho law.
In Hobson v. Wells Fargo, Chief Judge B. Lynn Winmill found the plaintiff’s claim meritless. Judge Winmill wrote in a February 15, 2012, decision that the language of the plaintiff’s deed of trust expressly named MERS the beneficiary and gave the company the authority to act as an agent of the lender, which included assigning its interest in the deed of trust to Wells Fargo. Judge Winmill explained that the plaintiff failed to point to any language in the deed of trust or provide any controlling case law that undermined the designation of MERS as beneficiary.
Judge Winmill also dismissed the plaintiff’s claim that in order to foreclose non-judicially under Idaho law the trustee must provide evidence of an ownership interest in the underlying promissory note. Citing the recent Trotter v. Bank of New York decision from the Idaho Supreme Court, the judge stated that, according to the Idaho Deed of Trust Act, “a trustee may initiate non-judicial foreclosure proceedings on a deed of trust without first proving ownership of the underlying note.” As the Supreme Court did in Trotter, the Hobson Court found that Wells Fargo fully complied with Idaho’s non-judicial foreclosure statute.
“While we appreciate the economic difficulties home owners face, MERS’ business practices are consistent with its legal rights to act as a beneficiary and to take actions on behalf of the lender. Borrowers consent to MERS’ role as the beneficiary of the deed of trust when they sign the deed of trust at closing,” said Janis L. Smith, MERSCORP vice president for communications. “In this case, the Court found zero merit to plaintiffs’ complaints of misrepresentation and uncovered zero facts supporting alleged damages. Rather, the ruling has added to growing case law validating our business model.”