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118 - Memorandum and Order Dated 6-30-14 (00122979)

118 - Memorandum and Order Dated 6-30-14 (00122979)

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Memorandum and Order Dated 6-30-14 (00122979)
Memorandum and Order Dated 6-30-14 (00122979)

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Published by: Mortgage Compliance Investigators on Jul 02, 2014
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10/25/2014

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTFOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA 
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA,:RECORDER OF DEEDS, by and through:Nancy J. Becker in her official:capacity as Recorder of Deeds of:Montgomery County, on its own:behalf and on behalf of all others:similarly situated,::Plaintiff,:CIVIL ACTION:v.::NO. 11-CV-6968MERSCORP, INC., and MORTGAGE :ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS,:INC.,::Defendants.:
 MEMORANDUM AND ORDER JOYNER, J. June 30, 2014 
This civil action is once again before the Court on cross-motions of Defendants Merscorp, Inc. and Mortgage ElectronicRegistration Systems, Inc. (“the MERS Defendants” or “MERS”) andPlaintiff for summary judgment and partial summary judgment,respectively (Doc. Nos. 67 and 80). For the reasons set forthbelow, Plaintiff’s motion shall be granted in part andDefendants’ motion denied in its entirety.
Factual Background 
 As outlined in our previous Memoranda adjudicating the
Case 2:11-cv-06968-JCJ Document 118 Filed 07/01/14 Page 1 of 45
 
various motions filed earlier in this matter, Plaintiff, NancyBecker, is the Recorder of Deeds in and for Montgomery County,Pennsylvania. She filed this lawsuit on behalf of herself andall other Pennsylvania Recorders of Deeds alleging that bycreating and maintaining a private, members-only registry forrecording and tracking conveyances of interests in real property,the MERS Defendants have violated 21 P.S. §351 which requires
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that such conveyances be publicly recorded in the county recorderof deeds offices. Specifically, Plaintiff is challenging thepractice by which MERS serves as the mortgagee of record in thepublic land records as the “nominee” for a lender who holds themortgage note and its successors and assigns and therebycircumvents the need to record the transfer of the note each timeit is sold.
§351. Failure to record conveyance
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All deeds, conveyances, contracts, and other instruments ofwriting wherein it shall be the intention of the parties executingthe same to grant, bargain, sell, and convey any lands, tenements,or hereditaments situate in this Commonwealth, upon beingacknowledged by the parties executing the same or proved in themanner provided by the laws of this Commonwealth, shall berecorded in the office for the recording of deeds in the countywhere such lands, tenements, and hereditaments are situate. Everysuch deed, conveyance, contract, or other instrument of writingwhich shall not be acknowledged or proved and recorded, asaforesaid, shall be adjudged fraudulent and void as to anysubsequent bona fide purchaser or mortgagee or holder of anyjudgment, duly entered in the prothonotary’s office of the countyin which the lands, tenements, or hereditaments are situate,without actual or constructive notice unless such deed,conveyance, contract, or instrument of writing shall be recorded,as aforesaid, before the recording of the deed or conveyance orthe entry of the judgment under which such subsequent purchaser,mortgagee, or judgment creditor shall claim. Nothing contained inthis act shall be construed to repeal or modify any law providingfor the lien of purchase money mortgages.
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Case 2:11-cv-06968-JCJ Document 118 Filed 07/01/14 Page 2 of 45
 
 As a result of what Plaintiff contends are Defendants’negligent and willful violations of the foregoing statute,Plaintiff seeks both monetary and equitable relief in the form ofa declaration and/or permanent injunction directing Defendants torecord mortgage assignments as well as an order quieting titleand finding that Defendants were unjustly enriched. By themotions which are now before us, the parties ask this Court toenter judgment and partial judgment in their favor as a matter oflaw, asserting that the dispute between them is primarily legalin nature and that there are no material facts in dispute. (See,e.g., MERS Defendants’ Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion forSummary Judgment, p. 8).
Standards For Adjudicating Summary Judgment Motions
 It is Fed. R. Civ. P. 56 which outlines the standards to beemployed by the federal courts in considering motions for summaryjudgment. Subsection(a) of that rule provides the following inrelevant part: A party may move for summary judgment, identifying eachclaim or defense - or the part of each claim or defense- on which summary judgment is sought. The court shallgrant summary judgment if the movant shows that thereis no genuine dispute as to any material fact and themovant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law... In reviewing the record before it for purposes of assessingthe propriety of entering summary judgment, the court should viewthe facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party anddraw all reasonable inferences in that party’s favor. Ma v.3
Case 2:11-cv-06968-JCJ Document 118 Filed 07/01/14 Page 3 of 45

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