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Renshaw v. Mortgage Elec. Registration Systems, Inc.

Supreme Court of Idaho, Boise

December 18, 2013

Gregory RENSHAW, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS, INC., a Delaware corporation, Defendant-Respondent, and Homecomings Financial, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, and Executive Trustee Services, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, Defendants.

Page 845

Jon M. Steele, Runft & Steele Law Offices PLLC, Boise, argued for appellant.

Michael G. Halligan, Sussman Shank LLP, Portland, Oregon, argued for respondent.

EISMANN, Justice.

This is an appeal out of Ada County from a judgment dismissing an action by the grantor of a deed of trust against MERS. We affirm the judgment of the district court.

I.

Factual Background.

Gregory A. Renshaw (Borrower) entered into a transaction to refinance the debt secured by his home. As part of that transaction, on June 27, 2007, he executed a promissory note in the sum of $236,250.00 owing to Homecomings Financial, LLC and a deed of trust granting his home as security for payment of the note.

The deed of trust stated, " The beneficiary of this Security Instrument is MERS (solely as nominee for Lender and Lender's successors and assigns) and the successors and assigns of MERS." The deed of trust defined " MERS" as " Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. MERS is a separate corporation that is acting solely as a nominee for Lender and Lender's successors and assigns."

Borrower did not make the payments due under the promissory note, and in August 2010, the trustee under the deed of trust commenced nonjudicial foreclosure proceedings. On December 6, 2010, Borrower filed this action against the mortgage broker, the lender, MERS, and the trustee. Ultimately, summary judgment was granted in favor of MERS and a partial judgment was entered dismissing this action as to it. That judgment was certified as final pursuant to Idaho Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b), and Borrower appealed.

II.

Is Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. a Lawful " Beneficiary" under Idaho's Trust Deeds Act?

Borrower contends that MERS cannot be a beneficiary because it is not owed any money under the promissory note. " [T]he deed of trust must have been given to secure an obligation to the beneficiary and for the benefit of the beneficiary."

Page 846

Edwards v. Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., 154 Idaho 511, 516, 300 P.3d 43, 48 (2013). The deed of trust names MERS as beneficiary " (solely as nominee for Lender and Lender's successors and assigns) and the successors and assigns of MERS." As we held in Edwards, " [H]aving MERS the named beneficiary as nominee for the lender ...


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