April 02, 2020 Articles

Challenging State Court Dismissals in Federal Court: Rooker-Feldman’s Murky Fraud Exception

Fraud-on-the-court can be an exception to state court judgment finality. Learn how to use that exception.

By Samuel D. Harrison

When a client wants to file a new action that involves legal issues that were long ago litigated in state court, challenging the basis of that state court ruling in a federal action may seem like a good strategy. This is especially true if the appeal period in state court has elapsed. After all, if the legal claims can be reframed in a new federal action to avoid res judicata concerns, filing the case in a federal district court may provide friendlier legal standards than those that previously doomed the case. Rebooting the case in federal court may also present an opportunity to focus the case on new or different facts, or permit the federal judge to review the legal reasoning that the state court used to dismiss the case and reach a better result for your client.

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