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MERS Wins Dismissal of Arkansas County Recorder Fee Suit

Court Says Counties are Not Deprived of Recording Fees

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jason Lobo
Phone: 703.652.1660
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Reston, Virginia, September 18, 2012— MERSCORP Holdings, Inc. today announced that U.S. District Judge Susan O. Hickey of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas, Hot Springs Division, yesterday dismissed a recording fee suit filed by the Circuit Clerk of Hot Spring County, Arkansas, ruling in favor of Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS) and other defendants.

In pdf Brown v. MERS (310 KB) , Judge Hickey dismissed the class action suit filed on behalf of Hot Spring County and all of the circuit clerks in Arkansas. The plaintiff alleged that the defendants used MERS to deprive Arkansas counties of recording fees and claimed the defendants had a duty to record every mortgage transfer.

Citing long-standing Arkansas law, Judge Hickey held that “Arkansas’s statutes ‘do not require assignments to be recorded.’ In fact, existing law is to the contrary.” She further described the original intent behind mortgage land recording: “The purpose of recording is simply to give constructive notice to subsequent purchasers.”

Judge Hickey additionally dismissed the notion that counties are deprived of recording fees. “Because they had no duty to record their mortgages, Defendants have not deprived Plaintiff of her proposed class of anything to which they are entitled,” she ruled.

Other courts have also dismissed county recorder fee suits in Iowa, Florida and Kentucky.

“As clearly described in this ruling, recording statutes are intended to give subsequent purchasers and lenders notice of recorded liens and to allow creditors to give notice of their secured interest in the property,” said Janis Smith, MERSCORP Holdings’ Vice President for Corporate Communications. “Use of the MERS® System to register mortgage loans fulfills the purpose of the recording statutes. MERS mortgages are recorded in the public land records and MERS members pay recording fees when the mortgage is recorded.”

For descriptions of cases and other materials pertaining to MERS’ business model and role in U.S. housing, please visit www.mersinc.org.

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MERSCORP Holdings, Inc. is a privately held corporation that owns and manages the MERS® System and all other MERS® products. It is a member-based organization made up of thousands of lenders, servicers, sub-servicers, investors and government institutions. Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS) serves as the mortgagee in the land records for loans registered on the MERS® System, and is a nominee (or agent) for the owner of the promissory note. The MERS® System is a national electronic database that tracks changes in mortgage servicing and beneficial ownership interests in residential mortgage loans on behalf of its members.

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