Illinois US District Court decision (June 13, 2014).

Plaintiffs brought suit against an HOA in federal court seeking to challenge a state court foreclosure judgment and to litigate other issues that were never raised in the state court proceeding. The HOA sought to dismiss the federal court case and recover their attorney fees that were incurred.

The federal court dismissed the case because it did not have jurisdiction — finding that, even if the state court decision was erroneous or unconstitutional, the US Supreme Court is the only federal court that has jurisdiction to review a state court judgment. The court found that the Plaintiffs‘ action was an improper attempt to re-litigate issues that were directly related to the prior state court mortgage foreclosure action. After the state court proceedings rendered judgment against the Plaintiffs, they filed the federal court action raising claims that were „inextricably intertwined“ with the state court judgment and which sought review and rejection of the state court judgment by the federal court.

The HOA sought to recover its attorney fees incurred in defending the federal court action. In denying the HOA’s request, the court restated prior rulings which have emphasized that filings by in pro per parties (parties not represented by an attorney) must be construed liberally and are held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings than are drafted by attorneys.

See case decision: Allen_v._Heritage_Place_Homeowners_Ass’n_(N.D._Ill._2014)1