The Supreme Court of Montana held in a majority opinion that a recorded deed of trust, including assignments by MERS (Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems), can establish a secured interest in real property, according to an announcement from MERSCORP Holdings on Tuesday.
The Montana Supreme Court upheld a ruling made earlier this year in MERS’ favor in the case of Goodwin v. MERS, MERSCORP, et. al made by the Eleventh Judicial District Court in Flathead County. The plaintiff in the case, Goodwin, had defaulted on his mortgage payments and received notice of a trustee sale. MERS was named as the nominee for the lender and lenders’ successors and assigns on the plaintiff’s deed of trust; the plaintiff alleged that various state and federal mortgage laws were violated with this assignment. The District Court granted to the motion for summary judgment by the defendants in the case, MERS and others, citing a lack of admissible evidence by Goodwin to prove his case.
“We are pleased that the Montana Supreme Court agrees that a deed of trust naming MERS—and any subsequent assignments by MERS—can establish a secured interest in real property. In the opinion of the Court, the law on this point is settled,” said MERSCORP Holdings Vice President for Corporate Communications Janis Smith. “MERS has the legal authority to act on behalf of the lender, including authority to assign, and this authority is granted by plain language in the mortgage document signed at closing by the borrower.”
The Montana decision was the latest in a series of court victories won by MERS. In late September, MERS won similar decisions in Georgia, New York, and Texas. In Kentucky earlier in September, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals denied an en banc rehearing of a case that held that recording statutes in the state do not required a recording in the land records when promissory notes are transferred. MERS has also had court victories in North Texas, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania since July.