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R.I. judge rejects another claim of wrongful foreclosure against MERS

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Apr 10, 2013

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (Legal Newsline) -- A Rhode Island Superior Court judge has rejected another multi-count claim of wrongful foreclosure against the national mortgage registry known as MERS.

In Van Hoecke v. First Franklin Financial Corporation, Justice Allen Rubine issued a ruling that parallels others he has made during the past year.

His ruling established that the "facts in this complaint were 'nearly identical' to those in Payette v. MERS" and adopted its prior reasoning to apply here.

The named defendants in Van Hoecke included MERSCORP Holdings Inc., its wholly owned subsidiary Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc. and other member co-defendants.

MERSCORP and Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc. were formed in 1995 to facilitate the growing mortgage finance market.

The privately-held electronic registry is designed to track servicing rights and ownership of mortgage loans in the United States.

"It is well-established that MERS and an assignee of MERS... may properly invoke the statutory power of sale as granted to the mortgagee by the plain, unambiguous language of the Mortgage," Rubine wrote in the 12-page decision.

"Plaintiff, through her acknowledgment and execution of the Mortgage, explicitly granted to MERS, and to the successors and assigns of MERS, the right to exercise the statutory power of sale and to foreclose on the Property."

Rubine also noted that even if Plaintiff Jo-Ann Van Hoeck had proper standing to present a legal challenge to MERS regarding the validity of the mortgage assignment, "it conforms to the statutory form of assignments of a mortgage interest" under Rhode Island law.

"Justice Rubine's rulings have been quite clear," MERSCORP's Director for Corporate Communications Jason Lobo said in a statement Wednesday.

"MERS' authority as mortgagee is valid and legal in Rhode Island, and challenges to this authority continue to be rejected."

A number of state attorneys general have filed lawsuits against MERS, including Delaware, Kentucky, Massachusetts and New York.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

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