7th Circuit Affirms Rooker-Feldman Dismissal Of Borrower's Post-Foreclosure Federal Claims Under RESPA, TILA, FDCPA, RICO And FPRA
Today's topic is a recurring one on my blog, namely whether a borrower can pursue a federal lawsuit against a lender after the lender foreclosed in state court. The answer is almost always no, although the possibility exists under very limited circumstances.
On February 26th, I wrote about the Mains v. Citibank case, which at the time was before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. Here is that post: Borrower’s Claims For Violations of RESPA, TILA, FDCPA, RICO And FPRAM, Together With Claims for Various Torts, Dismissed.
The borrower lost at the trial court level and appealed to the Seventh Circuit. On March 29th, the Court of Appeals affirmed the district court's ruling. Click here for the opinion, which, like the district court's, provides a nice summary of the legal issues that lawyers will find useful. Chief Judge Wood summed up the Seventh Circuit's view of the case in his opening paragraph:
[Borrower] has been battling the impending foreclosure of his home for quite some time. Most recently, he brought an action in federal court raising various state and federal law theories, related primarily to alleged fraudulent activity by the defendants [which included the lender and certain law firms]. But the state courts resolved these matters long before he turned to the federal court. Mindful of our limited jurisdiction and the need to respect the finality of state-court judgments, we affirm the district court's dismissal of this case.
In addition to applying the Rooker Feldman doctrine, the Court employed res judicata (claim preclusion) in affirming the dismissal of the borrower's case.
I frequently represent lenders, as well as their mortgage loan servicers, in connection with contested mortgage foreclosure actions. If you need assistance with a similar matter, please call me at 317-639-6151 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also follow me on Twitter @JohnDWaller or on LinkedIn, or you can subscribe to my blog posts via RSS or email as noted on my home page.