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CEB Prac. Guide § 2A.57 -- Defenses -- Collateral Estoppel -- The Rooker-Feldman Doctrine

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In Webb v. Midland Credit Mgmt., No. 20cv2211-MMA-WVG, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173479, at *11-12 (S.D. Cal. Sep. 13, 2021), Judge Anello dismissed an FDCPA claim challenging the propriety upon which a state court debt judgment was obtained.  The facts were as follows: On December 11, 2018, Midland filed a state court complaint against Plaintiff "for the principal amount of… Read More

In Britton v. ABC Legal Services, Inc., 2018 WL 3207907, at *6–8 (N.D.Cal., 2018), Judge Koh allowed an FDCPA claim to proceed despite the defendant's argument that the Rooker-Feldman doctrine deprived her of jurisdiction. Further, there is a split among district courts in the Ninth Circuit over this issue. Some federal district courts in California have held that an FDCPA… Read More

In Ngyuen v. LNV Funding, LLC, 2018 WL 769415, at *2–3 (S.D.Cal., 2018), Judge Burns entered summary judgment for a debt collector on the basis that the FDCPA plaintiff was precluded from using the FDCPA to challenge whether an underlying debt judgment was obtained by a timely filing. While the Court understands Nguyen’s argument—the California courts only decided that he owed… Read More

In Stissi v. Bag Fund, LLC, 2018 WL 354611, at *3–4 (C.D.Cal., 2018), Judge Otis Wright III dismissed an FDCPA case under the Rooker-Feldman doctrine. In determining the applicability of the Rooker–Feldman doctrine, a district court must first decide whether the plaintiff is attempting a de-facto appeal of a state court judgment. Bell, 709 F.3d at 897. A de-facto appeal… Read More

In Clark v. Cavalry Portfolio Services, LLC, 2017 WL 6757224, at *4 (S.D.N.Y., 2017), Judge Bricetti found that the adequacy of service of process was not litigated in the underlying debt collection suit and could form the basis of an FDCPA claim. Thus, pursuant to the transactional approach applied under New York law when analyzing whether an issue was or… Read More

In Balogun v. Winn Law Group, APC, et. al., No. SA CV 17-0796-DOC (JCGx), 2017 WL 2984075 (C.D. Cal. July 12, 2017), Judge Carter dismissed an FDCPA lawsuit premised on a creditor obtaining a judgment in another state and domesticating that judgment in California. First, Plaintiff alleges that the Delaware default judgment was improper because Delaware was not a proper venue for… Read More

In Lyudmila Maronyan v. Financial Credit Network Inc., 2017 WL 57835, at *3 (C.D.Cal., 2017), Judge Wilson allowed an FDCPA claim to proceed based on pleadings in the state court collection action. FCN's statements regarding its entitlement to attorneys' fees in the state court complaint may in fact be misleading to the least sophisticated debtor. Although one part of FCN's… Read More

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… Read More

In Janson v. Katharyn B. Davis, LLC, 2015 WL 7253244, at *2 (C.A.8 (Mo.),2015), a renter lost a state court collection action, and then sued in federal court claiming that an affidavit filed filed in the state court action was false; namely, because it asserted that he owed rent.   How this side-stepped the Rooker-Feldman doctrine escapes me, but the 8th… Read More

In Sykes v. Mel S. Harris and Associates LLC, --- F.3d ----, 2015 WL 525904 (2d Cir. 2015), the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit certified a class against a debt collector who purported to operate a mill that resulted in illegal default judgments in New York City.  These default judgments, in the words of plaintiffs, are the result… Read More

In Harold v. Steel,--- F.3d ----, 2014 WL 6981364 (7th Cir. 2014), the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed dismissal of an FDCPA suit based on the Rooker-Feldman doctrine.  The facts were as follows: A small claims court in Marion County, Indiana, entered a judgment against Kevin Harold for a little more than $1,000. He did not pay, even though… Read More

In Jung v. Cottonwood Financial Wisconsin, LLC, 2014 WL 4796756 (W.D.Wis. 2014), Judge Peterson barred Plaintiff's FDCPA claim based on wrongful garnishment due to the Rooker-Feldman doctrine. Jung's complaint and the parties' supplemental materials support defendants' position that the Rooker–Feldman doctrine applies in this case. Jung alleges that defendants violated both federal and Wisconsin law by using the garnishment notice to collect… Read More

In Benson v. Energy Solutions, Inc., 2014 WL 4311755 (D.Ariz. 2014), Judge Anderson found that an FDCPA claim premised on a debt collector’s obtaining a default judgment and employing garnishment procedures based thereon was barred by the Rooker-Feldman doctrine. “Determining what constitutes a forbidden de facto appeal, however, has sometimes proven difficult for the lower courts.” Kougasian, 359 F.3d at… Read More

In Grant v. Unifund CCR, LLC, --- Fed.Appx. ----, 2014 WL 2444600 (9th Cir. 2014), the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that an FDCPA case removed to federal court and then challenged based on the Rooker-Feldman doctrine must be remanded, not dismissed. Once the district court dismissed with prejudice the first class of claims, all of the… Read More

In King v. Legal Recovery Law Offices, Inc., 2014 WL 938559 (N.D.Cal. 2014), Magistrate Judge Westmore held that the Rooker-Feldman doctrine does not bar an FDCPA claim that is not intricately intertwined with the underlying state court action.  The facts were as follows: On January 13, 2013, Plaintiff and Defendant settled the state court action by way of a stipulated… Read More

In Claflin v. Mandarich Law Group, LLP, 2014 WL 688962 (N.D.Cal. 2014), Judge Alsup refused to stay a federal FDCPA claim filed against the debt collector’s lawyers in an underlying state court debt collection lawsuit.  The FDCPA plaintiffs argued that the debt collector’s lawyers had improperly filed the state court action in a distant forum in violation of the FDCPA. … Read More

In Riding v. Cach LLC, 2014 WL 198764 (C.D.Cal. 2014), Judge Lew found an FDCPA claim premised on collection of a state court lawsuit only partially barred by the Rooker-Feldman doctrine. The Court notes that Plaintiff provides different grounds as the basis for his FDCPA claims. Specifically, Plaintiff's FDCPA §§ 1692d, 1692e, and 1692f claims are based on (1) Defendants' pursuit of… Read More

In Tait v. Asset Acceptance, LLC, 2013 WL 3811767 (C.D.Cal. 2013), Judge Olguin found an FDCPA claim barred by the Rooker-Feldman doctrine where the Plaintiff claimed that he was not served with underlying state court collection action. However, in entering default judgment against plaintiff, the state court expressly found that plaintiff was served with a copy of the summons and… Read More

In Moriarity v. Henriques, 2013 WL 1704937 (E.D.Cal. 2013), Judge Thurston explained the Rooker-Feldman doctrine as applicable in the FDCPA context, finding that it prohibited her from using the FDPCA to review ‘representations’ that the Debtor was properly served in the state court collection action in order to obtain a default judgment. FIA Card Services, N.A. retained the law firm… Read More

Judge Karlton's precedent-setting and liability imposing decisions under the FDCPA are numerous.  (See., e.g, Newman v. Checkrite California, Inc., 912 F.Supp. 1354, E.D.Cal. 1995)(debt collector vicariously liable for debt collection activities of attorney; no FDCPA defense that collector was following the orders of the superiors; litigation privilege does not apply to FDCPA); Newman v. Checkrite California, Inc., 1994 WL 896637… Read More

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