Editor: David Reiss
Brooklyn Law School

July 25, 2013

Bates Fails to Shake MERS’ Standing in Indiana Superior Court

By Devon Avallone

In Bates v. MERS, et al., 49D12-0911-CT-051734 (June 22, 2012) Bates filed suit against MERS and several lenders in the mortgage industry on behalf of all counties in Indiana, alleging that the MERS system is an attempt to falsify records to avoid paying recording fees. The Marion Superior Court dismissed Bates’s complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under the Indiana Whistleblower and False Claims Act, as Bates was not an original source to the information as required by the Act. The court notes that the MERS system has been discussed at length publicly, in prior cases, by media outlets, and by MERS itself; Bates’s allegations against MERS merely reiterate these points, and therefore cannot qualify for whistleblower status under the Act. Furthermore, Bates claimed he obtained this information in June 2009, when the information was already public, so “his knowledge cannot be direct and independent”.

This is Bates’s sixth failed attempt against MERS, as he filed similar actions in California, Hawaii, Nevada, Tennessee, and Washington, D.C. MERS comments on the case here.


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