The First Circuit has affirmed a holding finding that the system under which mortgages are held in the name of Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., commonly known as MERS, comports with Massachusetts law relating to mortgage transactions. In the underlying matter, Culhane v. Aurora Loan Services of Nebraska, 826 F.Supp.2d 352 (D.Mass. 2011), Judge Young of the United States District Court had held that a mortgagor possesses standing to challenge the chain of assignment of his or her mortgage in defense to a foreclosure action, but further held that the MERS system of registration and transfer of mortgages is lawful.
A panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit heard oral argument in the matter of Oratai Culhane v. Aurora Loan Services of Nebraska earlier this week. The panel was comprised of Chief Judge Hon. Sandra L. Lynch, Senior Circuit Judge Hon. Bruce M. Selya, and retired U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Hon. David H. Souter, sitting by designation. The Culhane case is notable for District Court Judge Hon. William G. Young's discussion in a summary judgment decision of Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. ("MERS") and the propriety of MERS's system of assigning mortgages held in its name to loan servicers prior to foreclosure. See Culhane v. Aurora Loan Serv. of Neb., 826 F. Supp.2d 352 (2011).