Christina Stueve Hodges Jan. 28, 2013, 4:04pm

St. Clair County Circuit Judge Vincent Lopinot set a scheduling order Jan. 23 for parties in a lawsuit against Mortgage Electronic Recording System (MERS).

St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly’s office sued MERS and several major banks in May, alleging they created a shadow mortgage recording system that effectively eliminates the ability to track the purchase and sale of properties through the traditional public records system.

The scheduling order states the defendant’s joint motion to dismiss is due Feb. 15. The plaintiff’s response is due March 18. The defendant’s reply is due April 8.

“The page limits for all three memoranda in the Dec. 6 scheduling order shall remain in effect,” Lopinot’s order stated.

Lopinot previously ordered the defendants’ memorandum in support of the joint motion and the plaintiff’s response to be 40 pages or less. The defendants’ reply shall not exceed 25 pages, his order states.

The St. Clair County suit, in addition to MERS, names as defendants: Bank of America, CCO Mortgage Corp., CITI Mortgage, Corinthian Mortgage Corp., Everhome Mortgage Co., GMAC Residential Funding Corp., Guaranty Bank, HSBC Finance Corp., Suntrust Mortgage, Wells Fargo Bank, WMC Mortgage Corp., Bank of O’Fallon, Compass Mortgage, First Collinsville Bank, FirstCo Mortgage Corp., First County Bank, Mid America Mortgage Services of Illinois, Mortgage Services III, Midland States Bank, Peoples National Bank, Commerce Bank, Regions Bank and UMB Bank.

The County claims the defendants’ method of recording – kept in a private database maintained by MERS – is “unreliable and inaccurate.”

The suit claims the system set up by MERS allows financial institutions to avoid transparency in transfer of property and to evade county recording fees which every other citizen has to pay.

St. Clair County Case Number 12-L-267.

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