Editor: David Reiss
Brooklyn Law School

August 22, 2013

Florida Court Dismisses Class Action to Declare MERS in Violation of Florida Consumer Protection Laws

By Ebube Okoli

The debtors in Trent v. MERS, 288 Fed. App’x 571 (11th Cir. 2008) argued that Mortgage Systems sent them deceptive notices that were in violation of section 559.72(9) of the Collection Act. The debtors further argued that the notice misidentified Mortgage Systems as their “creditor.” Lastly, the debtors alleged that the lower court should have applied the “least-sophisticated-debtor” standard to determine whether these notices were misleading.

The debtors also argued that MERS violated the Collection Act when it filed foreclosure actions against them, but the court rejected this argument. The court reasoned that even if MERS engaged in “debt collection activities” under the Collection Act, MERS did not violate section 559.72(9), because MERS had the authority to file foreclosure actions.

Ultimately the court decided that the debtors’ arguments failed. The court found that under the mortgage contracts, MERS had the legal right to foreclose on the debtors’ property. Mortgage Systems was the mortgagee, the notices sent to the debtors restated information from the mortgage contracts and were not likely to mislead even the least sophisticated debtor.

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