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Houston’s Home County Joins Texas Lawsuit Seeking MERS Damages

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March 6 (Bloomberg) -- Harris County Texas, which includes the city of Houston, won a bid to join a group lawsuit seeking damages from the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc., Bank of America Corp. and Stewart Title Co.

U.S. District Judge Reed C. O’Connor allowed Harris and nearby Brazoria County to enter the case that could result in payouts of a much as $10 billion for all Texas counties, according to court papers filed by the plaintiffs.

The counties accuse MERS, which runs an electronic registry of mortgages, and members of the mortgage banking industry including Bank of America of filing false lien claims in the real property records of Texas counties. The suit also alleges the defendants failed “to record subsequent assignments of mortgage loans and pay the attendant filing fees.”

MERS, a unit of Reston, Virginia-based Merscorp Inc., has said it complies with Texas’s recording statutes and regulations.

Dallas sued in state court in September and the defendants won a change of the case to federal court in October. The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation in February denied an attempt by the defendants to join the case with a lawsuit brought against Merscorp by homeowners in Arizona.

The case is Dallas County, Texas v. Merscorp Inc., 3:11-cv-02733-O, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas (Dallas).

To contact the reporters on this story: Tom Korosec in Dallas at tkorosec@sbcglobal.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net