Plaintiffs challenge federal's judge ruling of res judicata in foreclosure case

By Nicholas Malfitano | Apr 10, 2017

PHILADELPHIA – Plaintiffs in a mortgage foreclosure action have challenged the ruling of a federal judge who ruled the doctrine of res judicata effectively barred their claims from proceeding in court.

On Feb. 27, Judge Cynthia M. Rufe of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District Court of Pennsylvania ruled to dismiss the federal litigation brought forward by plaintiffs Kathleen and Harry Keyser against defendants Stern & Eisenberg P.C., Edward J. Donnelly, Christina C. Viola, Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC, Francis S. Hallinan and U.S. Bank National Association.

Initially, the Keysers alleged that the defendants forged a note and mortgage, and subsequently relied upon the fraudulent documents to secure a state court judgment in mortgage foreclosure.

“In the state court action, the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas granted a motion for summary judgment in favor of defendant U.S. Bank, the holder of the note and mortgage in question, and plaintiffs’ property was subsequently sold to U.S. Bank at sheriff’s sale,” Rufe said.

Defendants Ocwen, U.S. Bank National Association, Stern & Eisenberg and Viola moved to dismiss the instant complaint, and Rufe eventually issued a ruling stating the doctrine of res judicata served to bar the plaintiffs’ claims.

“All of plaintiffs’ claims are rooted in the theory that they never executed the note and mortgage at issue, and that the documents relied upon by defendants in the state court action were fraudulent. Plaintiffs’ claims in this action are entirely based on the state court action, which resulted in a final judgment on the merits involving defendants. Because plaintiffs’ grievances could have been raised in the state court action, res judicata bars plaintiffs from re-litigating them in this Court, and the complaint will be dismissed with prejudice,” Rufe said in her February decision.

Now, the Keysers believe Rufe’s ruling utilizing res judicata and the Rooker-Feldman doctrine was “a fallacious interpretation” and filed a statement for reconsideration with the Court to argue as such, sparing no verbiage in doing so.

“This judge ruled and invoked res judicata which is a clear gross sign of incompetence or outright ignorance on the part of this person masquerading as a judge. This judge allowed forged and fraudulent promissory, forged and fraudulent assignments and absolutely no authentic evidence to be in compliance with the Pa. Rules of Evidence 901, 902, 1002, 1003 or 803.6, and violated the bank's own terms and conditions specifically listed in the fraudulently created promissory note,” the Keysers’ statement read, in part.

Res judicata, like Rooker-Feldman, is just a protective shield used to protect the debt purchasing bandits in their illegal use of forged and fraudulently created notes. These criminals are making financial contributions to the pensions account and these attorneys sell the property and pocket the lion’s share of the money for them for the bank has collected on a fraudulent mortgage default insurance package,” the statement also read.

The plaintiffs stated their intention to file a fraud complaint with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as well with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in response to Rufe’s ruling.

The defendants are represented by Evan Barenbaum of Stern & Eisenberg in Warrington, plus Brett L. Messinger and Brian J. Slipakoff of Duane Morris, in Philadelphia.

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania case 2:16-cv-02298

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at

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