Editor: David Reiss
Brooklyn Law School

August 25, 2013

Pennsylvania Appellate Court Affirms MERS’ Standing to Foreclose

By Ebube Okoli

The Pennsylvania appellate court in MERS v. Estate of Harriet L. Watson, et al., Superior Court of Pennsylvania # 637 WDA (2006), affirmed the standing of MERS to foreclose.

The case involved counter-claims as well as affirmative defenses filed by the estate of a deceased borrower in response to a foreclosure suit brought by MERS in 2003. The estate’s defenses and counter-claims included the theory that MERS, in someway, lacked standing because it was not the “real party-in-interest.” Moreover, MERS could not bring a foreclosure suit in Pennsylvania since it did not register as a foreign corporation doing business in Pennsylvania.

After consideration of the estate’s claims, the appellate court disregarded the estate’s challenges to MERS standing to foreclose due to the clear language of the mortgage itself. The court then held that MERS was not required to register as a foreign corporation because the act of acquiring, recording, or enforcing a mortgage lien constituted a specific exception under 15 Pa.C.S.A. § 4122 to the general requirement that companies “doing business” in Pennsylvania must obtain a certificate of authority in order to file suit in Pennsylvania. Such actions, by statutory definition, do not constitute “doing business.”

| Permalink