“This is a big new front. This case is scary because if Dallas wins then there are a lot of other counties around the country that are going to follow.”
-Christopher L. Peterson, associate dean and professor at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law.
In all of the market mayhem of last week, this article may have slipped by unnoticed: Merscorp, Bank of America Sued by Dallas District Attorney.
We’ve discussed Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (aka MERS) repeatedly over the years, including its quasi-legal standing and how it illegally failed to pay lawful recording fees to states and counties. (Back in March ’11, we discussed that County & State Litigation vs MERS was coming soon).
The Dallas DA action may be the largest major City/County litigation versus MERS. This may break open the flood gates for other such suits by counties and states around the country.
The politics of this are quite fascinating: The bankers may own the corrupt US Congress, and they may have intimidated or bought off many of the more cowardly State Attorneys General, but there simply are too many counties and District Attorneys representing local interests throughout the country to all be bought off. Buying/intimidating/controlling all of the local country District Attorneys may be like herding cats — nearly impossible.
I am going to stand by my original prediction: The early litigants may get something, but the latter lawsuits will likely result in bankrupting MERS.
An interesting legal question is whether the banks that created MERS — Bank of America, Countrywide, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, et. al. — can be reached beyond the corporate shield. Unless someone can demonstrate intentional fraud by design, I tend to doubt it.
Stay tuned . . .
Merscorp, Bank of America Sued by Dallas District Attorney
Businessweek, September 21, 2011, 5:46 PM
Margaret Cronin Fisk and Thomas Korosec http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-09-21/merscorp-bank-of-america-sued-by-dallas-district-attorney.html
BofA Case May Be Followed by More Mortgage Suits by Counties Margaret Cronin Fisk and James Sterngold
Bloomberg, September 23, 2011
Craig Watkins Makes Good on Threat to Sue Mortgage Processor Over “Tens of Millions”
Dallas Observer, Sep. 20 2011
Dallas County DA Sues MERS, Says Shadow Recording System Confused Title and Cost Money
ABA Journal, Sep 20, 2011
Homeowners’ Rebellion: Could 62 Million Homes Be Foreclosure-Proof?
Yes Magazine Aug 18, 2010