One judge to hear all MERS-related cases in the state
01:00 AM EDT on Sunday, October 31, 2010
By Christine Dunn
Journal Staff Writer
PROVIDENCE –– One Providence Superior Court judge, Allen P. Rubine, has been assigned to hear all cases in Rhode Island that are related to the Mortgage Electronic Registration System.
Alice B. Gibney, presiding justice of the Superior Court, issued an administrative order in September directing the courts in Kent, Washington and Newport counties to transfer all their MERS-related cases to Justice Rubine.
Formed by the mortgage finance industry, MERS was created to increase profits and efficiency by eliminating the need to record changes in mortgage ownership at local government property registries when loans are sold multiple times and/or bundled and sold together in pools. MERS is a corporation that also acts as a nominee for lenders and their successors.
An Aug. 25, 2009, decision by Providence Superior Court Judge Michael A. Silverstein upheld the right of MERS to foreclose in Rhode Island.
The case, brought by Anthony and Stephanie Bucci, of Cranston, through their lawyer, George E. Babcock, of Providence, has been appealed to the Rhode Island Supreme Court. The defendants in the case are Lehman Brothers Bank, FSB, a federal savings bank, MERS, and Aurora Loan Services, LLC.
Judge Silverstein ruled that Rhode Island law “does not prohibit MERS from invoking the Statutory Power of Sale [foreclosure]” because “statutes should not be construed to reach an absurd result.”