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Texas Property Owners Suffer Because of MERS Court Ruling


AUSTIN, TX (October 6, 2015) — FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Photo: Lady Justice Statue.

Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir, joined by the Travis County Commissioners’ Court, issues the following statement regarding the recent ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in Harris County v. MERSCorp Incorporated:

Most people will never notice that the public paperwork you typically expect to be recorded with the County Clerk whenever you buy a house, get a new lender, or refinance your mortgage isn’t being filed at all. A group of residential lenders created MERSCorp (Mortgage Electronic Recording System) several years ago for its own purposes and for bypassing the public record. This group has succeeded in creating its own private registry. The Travis County Commissioners Court, supported by the Travis County Clerk, joined a federal lawsuit in Nueces County to put a stop to this secret, substitute recording system.

Unfortunately, on June 26th of this year, in a different case, Harris County v. MERSCorp Incorporated, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued an opinion that allows MERS to continue its private document registry and dodge the public record. Further, the Court found that MERS is not responsible for major gaps in the chain of title and public deed records that misrepresent ownership records in every county in Texas. By the manner in which the opinion was written, the Fifth Circuit made this ruling apply to the Nueces case without ever hearing one word in court from Travis County.

If you are one of the owners of property financed by a MERS member, and you want to know who owns your deed of trust—the lien on your house—you can’t find it in the Clerk’s record because every time they resold your mortgage to another lender, MERS kept the records secret. MERS never filed the documents in the county deed records. Now, the Court has ruled the County Clerk, who is the keeper of real property records, is not required to be informed about the subsequent sales of the lien on your house. MERS tried to claim they were the owners of the deed of trust because they named themselves a beneficiary in the document. MERS also asserted, at the same time, that they had none of the rights or responsibilities of a beneficiary. The Fifth Circuit agreed and declared that this tortured logic did not constitute fraudulent behavior. Further, the Court ruled that the County Clerk, has no right to compel MERS to file future ownership documents as expected nor bring the public record up to date. Unbelievably, the Court ruled that the County Clerk had no right to even file the lawsuit to preserve the integrity of the important real estate records that the Clerk is sworn to protect.

Travis County does not have a ruling in the Nueces County case, and we have not been allowed our day in court. However, to continue the Nueces case would be viewed legally as frivolous because the Fifth Circuit has ruled in a similar case and set new law. The rulings in the Harris County v. MERS case mean that Travis County must stop our legal efforts to protect the permanent library of deed records from the damages inflicted by the members of MERSCorp. The Travis County Commissioners Court has instructed the County Attorney to stop pursuing the MERS case.

We understand that this action is necessary to protect Travis County taxpayers from the liability of various attorneys’ fees and/or possible sanctions. Travis County Clerk DeBeauvoir and the Commissioners’ Court commend the Travis County Attorney for their thorough analysis of the documents that prove MERS direct assault on transparent business dealings.

DeBeauvoir said, “For years, MERS violated existing practices in the State of Texas. It breaks my heart that we are unable to stop MERS, stop the damage to the records, and stop the mistreatment of human beings and their assets. Because of the ruling of the Fifth Circuit, we must surrender to what big corporations prefer, not what’s dependable for our citizens and their ownership rights now and into the future.”


County Clerk's News

Probate Division Has Moved

The County Clerk's Probate Division is now located at 200 West 8th Street, Ste. 140, Austin, Texas, 78701, in the new Probate Courthouse. As of March 24, 2020, the Travis County Clerk has modified operations and has closed all office lobbies in an effort to minimize face-to-face interaction due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Probate Division conducts business via eFile, mail, telephone, and email during regular business hours. All documents that require hand delivery will be accepted by appointment only. Please call (512) 854-9188 to speak to a clerk to set an appointment or email your request to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. More information is available at the Probate Court website.

About Dana

Dana has always been inspired by public service. Her interest led her to obtain a Masters Degree from the LBJ School of Public Affairs and ultimately to run for public office. Since her election as County Clerk in 1986, Dana has devoted herself to bringing high ethical standards, effective and cost efficient management practices, the benefits of new technology, and high quality customer service to the office of the County Clerk. The Clerk’s Office has a wide range of responsibilities including the conduct of elections; the filing and preservation of real property records; and the management of civil, probate, and misdemeanor court documents.... Read More

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Address: Mailing Address:
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Dana DeBeauvoir
Travis County Clerk
P.O. Box 149325
Austin, TX 78714
   
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Address: Mailing Address:
Travis County Courthouse
1000 Guadalupe Street
Austin, TX   (View Map)
Dana DeBeauvoir
Travis County Clerk
P.O. Box 149325
Austin, TX 78714
   
Hours: Main Phone: 
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday - Friday
(512) 854-9188 
   
Divisions at this Location:  
Civil
Misdemeanor
 Records Management


   
Texas Public Information Act Requests
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 

Travis County Probate Courthouse

 

Address: Mailing Address:
Travis County Probate Courthouse
200 West 8th Street, Ste. 140
Austin, Texas, 78701  (View Map)
Dana DeBeauvoir
Travis County Clerk
P.O. Box 149325
Austin, TX 78714
   
Hours: Main Phone: 
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday - Friday
(512) 854-9188 
   
Divisions at this Location:  
Probate



   
Texas Public Information Act Requests
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 

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The Travis County Clerk maintains the county's records, administers elections, and oversees legal documentation (such as property deeds, marriage licenses and assumed name certificates).


Main Phone Line: (512) 854-9188 | 24 Hour Voter Hotline: (512) 238-VOTE (8683) | Election Division: (512) 854-4996 | Misdemeanor Division: (512) 854-9440