Federal District Court in Florida Lacks Jurisdiction Over TILA and RESPA Claims After State Court Foreclosure Judgment
On April 2, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida dismissed an action brought by a borrower against her mortgage lender alleging violations of TILA and RESPA and seeking a declaratory judgment that the lender holds no interest in the property. Chipman v. US Bank, N.A., No. 10-cv-483, 2012 WL 1093144 (M.D. Fla. April 2, 2012). The borrower brought the pro se action alleging that a forensic audit revealed certain TILA violations. Upon discovering those violations, the borrower submitted two Qualified Written Requests, at least one of which was not acknowledged by the lender in the time frame established by RESPA. The borrower brought suit seeking a recession of the loan. The court dismissed the case, taking judicial notice of a final foreclosure judgment in state court and holding that the Rooker-Feldman doctrine applies. Applying that doctrine, the court found that it is precluded from reviewing the state court final foreclosure judgment because (i) the parties to the two actions are the same, (ii) the state court ruling was a final judgment on the merits, and (iii) the borrower could have raised the TILA and RESPA claims in the state court action.