Lawsuits are popping up across the nation on recording issues caused by the Mortgage Electronic Registration System (MERS). Created in 1995 by the mortgage banking industry, MERS served to process trust deeds sold on a secondary market, creating a process to circumvent county recording legal requirements and fees.

In 2012, Multnomah County filed a lawsuit against MERS for failed recording of transfer of trust deeds. This lawsuit was settled Multnomah County’s favor in 2017. In 2016, following in Multnomah County’s footsteps, 11 Oregon Counties filed an additional lawsuit over unpaid recording fees. Two additional counties later joined the lawsuit.

In response to the second Oregon lawsuit, legislators introduced Senate Bill 1556 in the 2018 Legislative Session. The bill would have barred counties from continuing with case. The bill also would have prohibited County Clerks from charging or collecting recording fees for transfers, reducing a revenue source for counties, while MERS intentionally subverts statutorily- authorized recording fees that are due to state and local governments. The 2018 bill passed the Senate