P&W Obtains Dismissal of Federal Attack on State-Court Rulings

Posted by Bradford S. Purcell | Nov 01, 2017 | 0Comments

Tom Underwood, Mike Sanders, and R.J. VanSwol obtained the dismissal of a federal action alleging that a number of law firms and their clients had conspired with a state-court judge to violate the plaintiff's due-process and equal-protection rights in an underlying wrongful-death case. After nearly fifteen years of litigation, the parties in the underlying case had reached a multimillion-dollar settlement, and the state-court judge made the rulings on dependency and allocation that were required for distribution of the settlement. The federal plaintiff, a potential beneficiary of the estate, disputed the state court's jurisdiction over him and refused to participate in those proceedings. P&W moved to dismiss the federal plaintiff's action because the Rooker–Feldman doctrine precludes parties from filing collateral attacks in federal court against state-court judgments. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois dismissed the plaintiff's claims, holding that the plaintiff's remedies, if any, were in the state-court system.


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