Editor: David Reiss
Brooklyn Law School

February 18, 2014

Ohio Court Finds that Bank of America had Standing to Foreclose and MERS had Authority to Assign

By Ebube Okoli

The court in deciding Bank of Am., N.A. v. Harris, 2013-Ohio-5749 (Ohio Ct. App., Cuyahoga County Dec. 26, 2013) found there was no merit to plaintiff’s appeal, and affirmed the lower court’s dismissal.

Defendant, Frederick Harris, appealed from the trial court’s decision granting summary judgment to plaintiff, Bank of America. Plaintiff argued that the trial court erred as a matter of law by granting summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff-appellee.

Plaintiff argued that Bank of America lacked standing to pursue the foreclosure because the bank was a party solely by virtue of a purported assignment from MERS. It argued that MERS had no authority to assign the mortgage to Bank of America, and thus, Bank of America had no standing to bring the suit.

The court rejected the plaintiff’s contentions, finding that the bank had standing to bring a foreclosure action because it was the real party in interest at the time that a foreclosure complaint was filed. The court also found that the bank had possession of the note, which was payable to bearer. Therefore, it was the current holder of the note and entitled to enforce it under R.C. 1303.31 and that after the merger, the bank stepped into the shoes of the absorbed company and had the ability to enforce. As such no further action was necessary to become a real party in interest.

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