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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit decides one Indiana case today

In Kevin Harold v. Christopher Steel (SD Ind., Pratt), a 6-page opinion, Judge Easterbrook writes:

A small claims court in Mar ion County, Indiana, entered a judgment against Kevin Har old for a little more than $1,000. He did not pay, even though he had agreed to the judgment’s entry. Almost two decades later Christopher Steel, claiming to represent the judgment creditor, asked the court to garnish Harold’s wag es. It entered the requested order, which Harold moved to vacate, contending that Steel had misrepresented the judgment creditor’s identity (transactions after the judgment’s entry may or may not have transferred that asset to a new owner) and did not represent the only entity authorized to enforce the judgment. But he did not contend that the re quest was untimely. After a hearing, a state judge sided with Steel and maintained the garnishment order in force. Instead of seeking review within Indiana’s judiciary, Harold filed this federal suit under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, contending that Steel and his law firm (Peters & Steel, LLC, which we do not mention again) had violated 15 U.S.C. §1692e by making false statements. But the district court dismissed the suit for want of subject‐matter jurisdiction, ruling that it is barred by the Rooker-­Feldman doctrine be cause it contests the state court’s decision. 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43154 (S.D. Ind. Mar. 31, 2014). * * *

Harold might have used §1692e to file a counterclaim in Indiana and could have appealed within the state system. He did neither. His federal suit was properly dismissed. AFFIRMED

Posted by Marcia Oddi on December 11, 2014 03:14 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions