Recent state and federal court rulings saying that Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc. (MERS) can continue to foreclose on properties may have blocked a legal means that Utah homeowners have used to save their homes from foreclosure.

If the courts had ruled the other way and blocked MERS from foreclosing, it could have meant that Utah homeowners’ obligation to pay their mortgages would have disappeared, said Ballard Spahr partner Anthony C. Kaye, who has represented MERS before the Utah Court of Appeals.

“If you had a ruling that someone no longer had to pay their mortgage, you’d have major problems on your hands,” Mr. Kaye said. “I think their conclusion settled an issue that would have destabilized the (real-estate) markets.”