Idaho Supreme Court: MERS Meets Definition of Beneficiary

Reston, Virginia – April 26, 2013 – (RealEstateRama) — MERSCORP Holdings, Inc. today announced that a five-justice panel of the Idaho Supreme Court unanimously affirmed a lower court decision in favor of Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS) and three other defendants, dismissing the Plaintiff’s complaint of wrongful foreclosure.

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In Edwards v. MERS et al., Justice Daniel T. Eismann, writing for the panel, agreed with the trial judge’s ruling, which found that the defendants complied with Idaho’s Deed of Trust Act when foreclosing non-judicially and that MERS was the beneficiary of the deed of trust with the authority to appoint the successor trustee who initiated the non-judicial foreclosure proceedings.

Justice Eismann, joined by Chief Justice Roger Burdick and Justices Joel D. Horton, Jim Jones and Warren E. Jones, quoted directly from the subject MERS deed of trust in this case in which MERS is identified as beneficiary “as a nominee for Lender and Lender’s successors and assigns” and found that a nominee is a form of an agent and that an agent has authority to act on behalf of its principal. Accordingly, the panel found that MERS as an agent of the original lender, Lehman Brothers Bank, FSB (“Lehman Brothers”), and its successors and assigns “is the representative of the principal and acts for, in the place of, and instead of, the principal.”

The Justices also noted that “[d]esignating MERS as the beneficiary in its representative capacity as nominee of Lehman Brothers and its successors and assigns was legally no different from designating Lehman Brothers and its successors and assigns as the beneficiary.” Therefore, the panel ruled, “having MERS the named beneficiary as nominee for the lender conforms to the requirements of a deed of trust under Idaho law.” As such, MERS possessed the authority under Idaho law to appoint and direct the successor trustee to conduct the non-judicial foreclosure proceeding.

The Court found no errors with any other part of the trial court’s decision and affirmed its ruling in its entirety.

“Idaho courts have a long record upholding MERS’ role and authority, and this decision, coupled with this same Court’s ruling in Trotter v. Bank of New York, resoundingly validates MERS’ role as trust deed beneficiary under
Idaho law,” MERSCORP Holdings’ Director for Corporate Communications Jason Lobo said.

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.

Contact:
Jason Lobo
Phone: 703.652.1660
Email: jasonl (at) mersinc (dot) org

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