In Black v. Autovest, LLC, 2015 WL 9461484, at *4 (D.Ariz., 2015), Judge Boyle denied a debt collection firm’s motion to dismiss an FDCPA claim grounded in collection of post-repossession deficiency — even though the bank already had a judgment against the FDCPA Plaintiff on the debt owing. The District Court found the FDCPA action not barred by Rooker-Feldman.
Defendants rely primarily on two cases to support their argument that Plaintiffs’ claims are “inextricably interviewed” with the state court judgment and, therefore, seek to “undercut” the state court judgment and are barred by Rooker-Feldman: (1) Reusser v. Wachovia Bank, N.A., 525 F.3d 855, 859 (9th Cir. 2008); and (2) Howard v RJF Financial, LLC, No. CV-11-1213-PHX-GMS, 2012 WL 170904 (D. Ariz. Jan. 20, 2012).. . .Here, as stated above, the Court finds that Plaintiff’s claims are not a de facto appeal of the state court judgment. Therefore, the Court does not reach the second step of the Rooker-Feldman analysis, and the doctrine does not apply. See Garduno, 2015 WL 6955404, at *4 (“…given the allegations in Howard, it appears the case actually involved a basic application of the two-step Rooker-Feldman inquiry….That is, once one of the claims in Howard was determined to be a de facto appeal, all other inextricably intertwined claims—such as pursuing the debt after the statute of limitations applied—were also barred.”).
The District Court also found that the FDCPA claim was not compulsory to the original debt collection action.
Defendants also assert that Plaintiff’s claims are compulsory counterclaims he was required to bring in the state court action. (Doc. 21 at 9-11.) As an initial matter, Defendant Fulton Friedman & Gullace LLP was not a named party to the state court action and, therefore, Plaintiff was not required to assert his claim against that Defendant in the state court action. (Doc. 21-1); Mirchandi v. BMO Harris Bank, N.A., 326 P.3d 335, 338 (Ariz. Ct. App. 2014). Further, the Court finds that Plaintiff’s claims against Defendants are not compulsory counterclaims. . . Here, Autovest’s claims in the state court litigation related to Plaintiff’s failure to pay a debt owed on a car loan. (See Doc. 21-1.) Plaintiff’s claims in this suit relate to the methods by which Defendants sought to collect the debt from Plaintiff. The Court finds that the required relationship does not exist between the two actions. See Garduno, 2015 WL 6955404, at *5 (finding the same claims at issue in this action are not compulsory counterclaims); Hunt v. 21st Mortgage Corp., No. 2:12-CV-381-RDP, 2012 WL 3903783, at *4 (N.D. Ala. Sept. 7, 2012) (“the manner in which [an FDCPA defendant] attempted to collect [a] debt does not concern whether a valid [debt] exist[ed] between the parties and, if so, any obligations created by it.”). Therefore, Plaintiff’s claims in this action are not barred as compulsory counterclaims.