CHICAGO – A federal judge granted a debt collector's motion to dismiss a class action lawsuit that accused it of unlawful debt collection.
U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo issued a 12-page ruling Oct. 10 in the lawsuit filed by Katrina Jennings, on her and other customers' behalf, against law firm Trunkett & Trunkett PC. Castillo granted Trunkett & Trunkett's motion to dismiss the suit without prejudice.
Jennings sued the firm in 2017 on allegations of abusing provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act when it attempted to collect debt of credit accounts from her issued by Maroon Financial Credit Union.
In his ruling, Judge Castillo stated Jennings' claims were barred by the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, which "'prevents lower federal courts from exercising jurisdiction over cases brought by state-court losers challenging state-court judgments rendered before the district court proceedings commenced,'" the ruling states.
James J. Sipchen Pretzel & Stouffer
The firm filed a suit on behalf of Maroon Financial last October against Jennings in an attempt to collect a debt. As stated in the ruling, "on Feb. 21, 2018, the Circuit Court of Cook County entered a default judgment against plaintiff of $3,182.53," as a result of the credit union's complaint, which alleged that "principal, interest, and attorneys' fees were 'presently due'" to the creditor.
Two days after the state court ruling, Jennings filed the suit in federal court alleging the creditor violated the FDCPA in regards to how the creditor was stated in the summons (as Maroon Financial C.) and on the complaint (as Maroon Financial Credit Union), as well as the allegation it attempted to collect attorneys' fees that it had no right to, and misrepresented amount of the alleged debt.
In April, Trunkett & Trunkett filed the motion to dismiss the lawsuit on the grounds the plaintiff had failed to state a claim for relief and that her claims were barred by res judicata, meaning that the matter has previously been handled by another court and may not be pursued further, and Rooker-Feldman.
Jennings is represented by attorneys Celetha Chatman and Michael J. Wood, of Community Lawyers Group Ltd., of Chicago.
Trunkett & Trunkett is represented by attorneys James J. Sipchen and Thomas Vincent-Paul Draths, of Pretzel & Stouffer Chtd., of Chicago.
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois case number 1:18-cv-01413