Rooker/Feldman doctrine meets “Nice Try” doctrine in mortgage case

Washington Mutual (“WaMu”) failed; Chase took over its mortgage operations from the FDIC.  In the meantime, borrower Dixon (after receiving notice from Chase that it was replacing WaMu as mortgagee and servicer) obtained a default judgment in state court against WaMu for $2.8 million and a declaration that all liens were cancelled.  A year later, Chase foreclosed on the property and obtained title at a foreclosure sale.  Chase sued in federal court to quiet the cloud on title created by the recordation of the default judgment.  JP Morgan Chase Bank NA v. Dixon, No. 12-40590 (Oct. 7, 2013, unpublished).  The district court granted summary judgment to Chase.  Dixon argued that this ruling violated the Rooker/Feldman doctrine about federal review of state court judgments.  The Fifth Circuit disagreed, noting that the federal ruling did not technically “nullify” the state court judgment, and that Chase was not a party to the state proceedings and thus Rooker/Feldman was not implicated.

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