A hearing in a lawsuit over the recording of mortgages in St. Clair County is scheduled Nov. 19 in Associate Judge Vincent Lopinot’s courtroom.
Defendant MERScorp (Mortgage Electronic Recording System) filed a motion to stay proceedings Sept. 7, claiming the case should be stayed, pending results of an earlier-filed, similar federal court case, which has “substantially similar” claims and parties.
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.
MERS claims the St. Clair County case should be stayed, because the issues that are likely to arise in this case will also arise in the other case: “County of Union Illinois v. Merscorp.”
In response, the state’s attorney’s office says the defendants bear the burden of demonstrating the St. Clair County case and the federal case involve the same parties and the same cause of action.
“There are substantial differences between the St. Clair county case and the Federal Court case," the County states. "First there are 19 defendants named in this case that are not named in the federal court case. None of the defendants named in this case are Illinois corporations.”
The St. Clair County suit, in addition to MERS, names: 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.