Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Philly Federal Judge Invokes 'Rooker-Feldman' To Boot Homeowner's F'closure Evict Challenge; Says Suit Appears To Be Improper Attempt To Invite Federal Court Review Of State Court Judgment

In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, The Pennsylvania Record reports:

  • A U.S. District Court judge has refused to review a federal case initiated by a Philadelphia man against the city’s sheriff, acting sheriff and the attorneys who had represented a loan services company involved in an underlying case that arose from the foreclosure and subsequent ejectment of the man’s property.

    In his federal complaint, Omar Jamaladdin asserted that the federal court has jurisdiction over his case, citing various federal statutes and constitutional amendments that were allegedly violated through the defendants’ actions.

    Judge Thomas N. O’Neill, Jr., of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, however, noted in a Jan. 29 memorandum that it appears as though the plaintiff is seeking to have the federal court review the propriety of a state court ejectment action, which the jurist stated is barred by the Rooker-Feldman doctrine that says a district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction to conduct a review in this type of case.

    “Stated another way, the Rooker-Feldman doctrine bars claims where entertaining the federal claim would be the equivalent of appellate review of the state court Order,” O’Neill wrote.(1)
  • The two lawyers had represented Aurora Loan Services in its mortgage foreclosure action filed against Jamaladdin, the plaintiff in this case, back in September 2010, the court docket sheet in the state case shows.

    The record further shows that in mid-November of this year, Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Idee C. Fox denied a motion by Jamaladdin to vacate the judgment.

    In dismissing the federal action with prejudice, O’Neill wrote that it is apparent from reading the complaint that it is “nothing more than an improper attempt by plaintiff to avoid the judgment of eviction rendered by the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County.” O’Neill’s ruling comes after the defendants in the federal action all filed motions for dismissal.
For the story, see Federal judge refuses to review state court action arising from foreclosure and ejectment.

For the ruling, see Jamaladdin v Dietterick, No.12-4686 (January 29, 2013).

For prior posts applying the Rooker-Feldman doctrine in foreclosure cases, see:
(1) The Rooker-Feldman doctrine applies to "cases brought by state-court losers complaining of injuries caused by state-court judgments rendered before the district court proceedings commenced and inviting district court review and rejection of those judgments." Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Saudi Basic Indus. Corp., 544 U.S. 280, 284 (2005); see also In re Madera, 586 F.3d 228, 232 (3d Cir. 2009) ("The Rooker-Feldman doctrine is implicated when, in order to grant the federal plaintiff the relief sought, the federal court must determine that the state court judgment was erroneously entered or must take action that would render that judgment ineffectual.").

No comments: