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DE AG Biden's Suit Against MERS

DE AG Biden's Suit Against MERS

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Published by: Abigail Caplovitz Field on Nov 08, 2011
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IN THE COURT OF CHANCERY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE
STATE OF DELAWARE,)Plaintiff,))v.) C.A. No. _____)MERSCORP, Inc., a Delaware corporation, and)Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., )a Delaware Corporation, )Defendants.)
VERIFIED COMPLAINTINTRODUCTION
The Plaintiff the State of Delaware, by and through its undersignedAttorney General and Deputy Attorneys General, brings this action againstDefendants, who created the mortgage registration and foreclosure enterpriseknown as “MERS.MERS is at the center of the current unprecedentedforeclosure crisis.In contrast to its historic rate of roughly 2,000 foreclosures per year,Delaware’s foreclosure rate has tripled to 6,000 foreclosure filings in each of 2009and 2010, and will likely see a similar number in 2011.
See
Delaware StateHousing Authority, 2011 State of Delaware Mortgage Complaints,http://www.deforeclosurehelp.org/data.html (last visited Oct. 26, 2011), attached asError: Reference source not found. One out of every 753 Delaware homes facedforeclosure as of September 2011.
See
RealtyTrac.com, September 2011
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Foreclosure Rate Heat Map, State of Delaware, http://www.realtytrac.com/trendcenter/default. aspx?address=DE&parse... (last visited Oct. 26, 2011),attached asError: Reference source not found. This crisis has led to declininghome prices, vacant properties, increasing police and service calls to foreclosed properties, and a decreasing tax base. The crisis has also disproportionatelyaffected some of Delaware’s most vulnerable ZIP codes, hollowing outcommunities such as Wilmington, which saw one in every 274 properties facingforeclosure as of September 2011, and New Castle, which saw one in every 420houses facing foreclosure as of July 2011.
See
RealtyTrac.com, September 2011Foreclosure Rate Heat Map, New Castle County Zip Codeshttp://www.realtytrac.com/trendcenter/de/19801-trend.html (last visited Oct. 26,2011), attached asError: Reference source not found, and RealtyTrac.com,September 2011 Foreclosure Rate Heat Map, 19720 Zip Codehttp://www.realtytrac.com/trendcenter/default.aspx?address=19720&parsed=1&ct=new%20castle&cn=new%20castle%20county&zp=19720&stc=de&lat=39.67636&lon=-75.597496 (last visited Oct.26, 2011), attached asError: Reference source not found. While the subprimemortgage crisis began in the middle of the last decade due to the irresponsibility of many players, including banks, borrowers, brokers and regulators, today that crisis
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has merged with the broader economic downturn to create hardship across theentire social and economic spectrum of our state.MERS engaged and continues to engage in a range of deceptive trade practices that sow confusion among consumers, investors, and other stakeholdersin the mortgage finance system, damage the integrity of Delaware’s land records,and lead to unlawful foreclosure practices. MERS deceptive trade practices fallinto three broad categories.First, MERS, through its private mortgage registry, knowinglyobscures important information from borrowers and the information that MERSdoes provide to borrowers is frequently inaccurate. The opacity of MERS’mortgage registration database (the “MERS System”) makes it difficult fostakeholders, such as consumers, to know of or challenge inaccuracies in theMERS System. When MERS foreclosed in its own name, MERS thus impaired a borrower’s ability to raise defenses. The opacity of MERS’ registry also frustratesthe ability of borrowers to seek out the owner of their loan to pursue loanmodifications or other loss mitigation relief in settlement of the mortgage.Second, MERS often acts as an agent without authority from its proper principal. Because the MERS System was both unreliable and frequentlyinaccurate, MERS often does not know the identity of its proper principal. Wherethe name of the owner of the mortgage loan recorded in the MERS System does
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