Parkinson v. PNC Bank, National Association et al
MEMORANDUM Opinion and Order signed by the Honorable Edmond E. Chang. For the reasons stated in the Opinion, the Defendants' motions 87 104 111 121 124 are granted, and the case is dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. A final judgment will be entered. Plaintiff's motion 230 for reconsideration on the corporate affiliation notices is denied. See Op. at 21 n.23. The status hearing of 04/04/2019 is vacated. Civil case terminated. Emailed notice(slb, )
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
PNC BANK, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION,
No. 18 C 1869
Judge Edmond E. Chang
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiff Michelle Parkinson brings this action against 26 named defendants
and 1,000 unidentified defendants for a range of claims that all stem from a
foreclosure action in August 2015. The foreclosure action was filed by PNC Bank,
N.A. (PNC) in Cook County Circuit Court, but was voluntarily dismissed after
Parkinson and PNC reached an agreement to modify her loan. Parkinson nonetheless
continued to litigate counterclaims against PNC in state court, which were eventually
decided in favor of PNC. Parkinson now alleges that PNC conspired with other
defendants—including PNC’s attorneys, the Cook County judge that adjudicated her
counterclaims, and the Clerk of the Cook County Circuit Court—to file a fraudulent
foreclosure action against her and deprive her of the right to litigate her
counterclaims. The Defendants all move to dismiss Parkinson’s Complaint for lack of
subject matter jurisdiction under the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, and also seek
dismissal on other grounds. For the reasons discussed below, the Court grants the
Defendants’ motions and dismisses Parkinson’s Complaint in its entirety.
The 63 pages and 540 paragraphs of the Complaint are not easy to understand.
The Complaint lacks any apparent chronological or thematic organization, and it
repeats section headings, incorrectly numbers paragraphs, and makes difficult-tofollow legal arguments. When factual allegations are made, they are confusingly
worded and difficult to comprehend. This is on top of 22 exhibits Parkinson attached
to her Complaint. But as far as it is possible to discern Parkinson’s factual allegations,
the Court accepts them as true. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007).
Parkinson is a Chicago resident who lives in her home at 5646 West Eastwood.
R. 1, Compl. ¶ 21; Id., Exh. 1, Foreclosure Compl. ¶ 3(I)(2).1 Parkinson received a
mortgage loan when she purchased her home, which was eventually serviced by PNC.
Foreclosure Compl. ¶ 3(N). In March 2015, Parkinson began a process to modify the
terms of her loan. R. 105.3, Third Am. Counterclaims ¶ 7. But it did not take long for
a disagreement to arise between Parkinson and PNC over what documentation
Parkinson was required to submit in order to complete the loan modification. Id.
¶¶ 14-17. Parkinson also alleges—as best as the Court can understand—that PNC
did not provide her enough time to respond to its modification offer. Id. ¶¶ 21, 101111.
In August 2015, PNC filed a foreclosure complaint in Cook County Circuit
Court against Parkinson. Foreclosure Compl. PNC filed the complaint in the
Chancery Division of Cook County Circuit Court through its law firm, Anselmo,
to the docket are indicated by “R.” followed by the docket entry and page or
Lindberg, Oliver, LLC (Anselmo Lindberg), which in turn reached out to ATG Legal
Serve Inc. (ATG) to serve the complaint on Parkinson. R. 105, ATG Br. at 3. ATG was
unable to serve Parkinson, despite numerous attempts. Id; see also R. 1, Exh. 11,
Pryor Aff. Meanwhile, Parkinson continued to work with PNC to modify her loan
under Illinois’ Hardest Hit Program. R. 122, PNC Br. at 3. She signed a trial
modification in December 2015 and a permanent modification in March 2016. Third.
Am. Counterclaims ¶ 103. In light of the modification, on April 5, 2016, the
foreclosure action was dismissed without prejudice. R. 105.4, 4/5/16 Dismissal Order.
At some point after the dismissal, Parkinson filed counterclaims against PNC
and the case was transferred to Judge Catherine Schneider in the Municipal Division
of Cook County Circuit Court.2 Third Am. Counterclaims; 10/26/16 Transfer Order.
On August 28, 2017, Parkinson filed a Third Amended Counter-Complaint, which
included thirteen counterclaims against PNC and its agents for: breach of contract,
unjust enrichment, common law fraud, and violations of the Illinois Consumer Fraud
and Deceptive Business Practices Act (ICFA), the Dodd-Frank Act (Dodd-Frank), and
the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA). Third Am. Counterclaims at 2-26.
on the Court’s review, the record does not state when Parkinson first filed her
counterclaims. All parties cite to Parkinson’s Third Amended Verified Counter-Complaint,
filed on August 28, 2017. Third Am. Counterclaims. But it is clear that the counterclaims
were filed at some point after the foreclosure action was dismissed—PNC’s motion to dismiss
the foreclosure action states that there were no known counterclaims at the time, R. 142.1,
PNC Mtn. Dismiss—but before October 2016—when the case was transferred out of the
Chancery Division, R. 145.1, 10/26/16 Transfer Order.
Throughout the filing, Parkinson accused PNC of making misrepresentations
and inaccurate statements,3 incorrectly denying her loan modification,4 continuing
foreclosure proceedings and charging fees after her modification was implemented,5
ordering excessive property inspections,6 breaching the parties’ agreements,7
overvaluing her home,8 overcharging her interest,9 invading her privacy,10 and aiding
stalkers.11 She also alleged that PNC’s process server—Scott Pryor of ATG—
impermissibly attempted to serve her with the foreclosure action after the loan
modification was implemented, that his attempts were excessive, and that she was
forced to pay unwarranted fees for those attempts. Third Am. Counterclaims ¶¶ 124-
e.g., Third. Am. Counterclaims ¶ 15 (“The representations mentioned above were
false when Counter-Defendant made them.”); id. ¶ 19 (“Counter-Defendant made the
representations mentioned above with the intent and for the purpose of deceiving CounterPlaintiff and to induce Counter-Plaintiff into relying on the representations.”).
4See, e.g., id. ¶ 21 (“That despite receiving the documents the Counter-Defendant
denied the modification because the Counter-Plaintiff failed to complete the application
timely.”); id. ¶ 23 (“That PNC incorrectly denied the modification based on inaccurate
information that they used as a guideline when they reviewed and denied the CounterPlaintiff’s modification.”).
5See, e.g., id. ¶ 156 (“Despite notice that the debt was disputed and the amount the
debt collector was trying to collect was wrong, the Counter-Defendant persisted in trying to
collect the debt.”); id. ¶ 159 (“Counter-Defendant continues to add foreclosure fees, interest
and attorney fees to Counter-Plaintiff mortgage.”); id. ¶ 171 (“That the Counter-Defendant
not only began foreclosure proceeding but continued them after even after a TPP Modification
was received by them.”).
6See, e.g., id. ¶ 70 (“PNC Bank, NA charged Counter-Plaintiff for these excessively
frequent and unnecessary property inspections.”).
7See, e.g., id. ¶ 45 (“By initiating and continuing foreclosure proceedings, CounterDefendant breached the contract.”); id. ¶ 75 (“[T]he terms of the mortgage contracts [were]
subject to PNC Bank, NA’s implied duty of good faith and fair dealing.”).
8See, e.g., id. ¶ 88 (“That the valuation of the property should have been $218,000 Two
Hundred Eighteen Thousand Dollars and Zero Cents or less, instead of the $360,184 used by
the Counter Defendant.”).
9See, e.g., id. ¶ 145 (“That the Counter-Defendant actions constituted misstating the
annual percent rate or finance change in violation of Illinois law.”).
10See, e.g., id. ¶ 27(e)-(h); id. ¶ 46(g)-(m).
11See, e.g., id. ¶ 27(h) (“Stalkers being able to look at information as it is public
138. Finally, Parkinson accused Anselmo Lindberg—the law firm representing
PNC—of violating the FDCPA. See e.g., Id. ¶ 167 (“Anselmo, Lindberg Oliver’s alleged
misconduct stems from its debt collection activities [on] behalf of PNC Bank, NA and
is therefore not immune from liability.”). Parkinson sought a number of remedies for
her alleged injuries, including a declaration that PNC breached its covenant of good
faith and fair dealing, an order “to impound the foreclosure,” an injunction preventing
PNC and its agents from charging her any additional fees, out-of-pocket damages,
statutory damages, litigation costs, and post-judgment collection costs. Id. at 24. For
damages, she specifically requested an award totaling “twice the loan contract
PNC moved to dismiss some of Parkinson’s counts and sought summary
judgment on the rest. ATG Br. at 4. Judge Schneider granted PNC’s motion in its
entirety on December 14, 2017, thus ending the action. R. 1, Exh. 22, 12/14/17 Order.
Parkinson did not appeal the final order ending the case. See R. 1, Compl.
Parkinson now brings 34 counts against 26 named defendants (the
Defendants) and 1,000 unidentified Doe Defendants. Compl. It is possible to organize
the Defendants into three overarching groups: (1) Judge Schneider; (2) Dorothy
Brown, Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Cook County, and other unnamed
Cook County court employees; and (3) PNC, ATG, and Anselmo Lindberg.12
also named individual employees of these three entities, who are included
in this last group of defendants. From PNC, Parkinson named: William S. Demchak, Sarah
T. Greggerson, Christina Cottrell, and Amy Toller. Compl. ¶¶ 24, 25. From ATG, she named:
Peter Birnbaum, Kelly Ann Kienzie, Scott Pryor, Kathleen Dinunno, Nancy Porter, and
Monique Reyes. Id. ¶¶ 27, 30, 31. From the Anselmo Lindberg firm, she named: Steven
Parkinson alleges that the Defendants conspired with one another to fraudulently
collect a mortgage foreclosure debt from her using false information and
misrepresentations, as well as to award “a final alleged order of summary judgment”
to PNC. See, e.g. Compl. ¶¶ 2, 251, 300. Parkinson’s Complaint includes such wideranging causes of action as fraud, id. ¶¶ 154-164; violations of the Fourth, Ninth and
Tenth Amendments, id. ¶¶ 257-284; RICO, id. ¶¶ 318-328; and intentional infliction
of emotional distress, id. ¶¶ 207-213.
All the Defendants move to dismiss Parkinson’s Complaint on various grounds.
R. 87, Brown Br.; ATG Br.13; R. 112, Schneider Br.; PNC Br.14; R. 125, Anselmo
Lindberg Br.15 All of them argue that this federal court lacks subject matter
jurisdiction to hear Parkinson’s claims under the Rooker-Feldman doctrine. Brown
Br. at 14; ATG Br. at 4-6; Schneider Br. at 4-5; PNC Br. at 4-6; Anselmo Lindberg Br.
at 2-3. They also raise other arguments, such as preclusion, judicial immunity,
sovereign immunity, and failure to state a claim. All the Defendants argue
Parkinson’s Complaint should be dismissed in its entirety.
Lindberg, Thomas Anselmo, Doug Oliver, Bryan Hughes, Michael Crowe, Christopher Iaria,
Michael Anselmo, Sean Jordan, Masum Patel, Susan Ward, and Tracy Bristow. Id. ¶¶ 34, 35.
13The ATG Motion was filed on behalf of Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund, Inc., Peter
Birnbaum, ATG Legal Serve, Inc., and Kelly Ann Kienzle. ATG Br. at 1. Defendants Kathleen
Dinunno, Nancy Porter, and Scott Pryor moved to adopt the ATG Motion. R. 208, Dinunno
and Porter Mtn; R. 212, Pryor Mtn.
14The PNC Motion was filed on behalf of PNC, William Demchak, Sarah Greggerson,
Christina Cottrell, and Amy Toller. PNC Br. at 1.
15The Anselmo Lindberg Motion was filed on behalf of Anselmo Lindberg & Associates,
Steven Lindberg, Thomas Anselmo, Michael Anselmo, Bryan Hughes, Michael Crowe,
Christopher Iaria, Sean Joran, Masum Patel, Susan Ward and Tracy Bristow. Anselmo
Lindberg Br. at 1. Defendant Doug Oliver moved to adopt the law firm’s Motion. R. 131,
II. Legal Standard
Rule 12(b)(1) provides for dismissal of a case when the Court lacks subjectmatter jurisdiction. Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1). In the context of a Rule 12(b)(1) motion,
the Court accepts plaintiff’s allegations as true (if no evidence is offered to the
contrary), but the plaintiff bears the burden of establishing jurisdiction. Ctr. for
Dermatology & Skin Cancer, Ltd. v. Burwell, 770 F.3d 586, 588 (7th Cir. 2014). In
deciding a motion challenging jurisdiction, the court “may properly look beyond the
jurisdictional allegations of the complaint and view whatever evidence has been
submitted on the issue to determine whether in fact subject matter jurisdiction
exists.” Apex Digital, Inc. v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 572 F.3d 440, 444 (7th Cir. 2009)
“A motion under Rule 12(b)(6) challenges the sufficiency of the complaint to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted.” Hallinan v. Fraternal Order of Police
Chi. Lodge No. 7, 570 F.3d 811, 820 (7th Cir. 2009). “[W]hen ruling on a defendant’s
motion to dismiss, a judge must accept as true all of the factual allegations contained
in the complaint.” Erickson, 551 U.S. at 94. A “complaint must contain sufficient
factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.’”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 570 (2007)). These allegations “must be enough to raise a right to relief above
the speculative level.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. And the allegations that are entitled
to the assumption of truth are those that are factual, rather than mere legal
conclusions. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. The Court must bear in mind that because
Parkinson is proceeding pro se, her filings are entitled to liberal construction.
Erickson, 551 U.S. at 94. Nevertheless, even pro se litigants must comply with
procedural rules. McNeil v. United States, 508 U.S. 106, 113 (1993) (“[W]e have never
suggested that procedural rules in ordinary civil litigation should be interpreted so
as to excuse mistakes by those who proceed without counsel.”).
As mentioned already, the Defendants offer a diverse array of arguments in
favor of dismissal. The Court will address the arguments made by each set of
Defendants in turn.
A. Judge Schneider
Schneider first argues that this Court has no subject matter jurisdiction to
hear Parkinson’s claims under the Rocker-Feldman doctrine. Schneider Br. at 4-5.
Rooker-Feldman bars what essentially would be appellate review of a state judgment
in a federal district court. Lance v. Dennis, 546 U.S. 459, 464 (2006). Federal courts
lack jurisdiction over these claims because “the Supreme Court of the United States
is the only federal court that may review judgments entered by state courts in civil
litigation.” Harold v. Steel, 773 F.3d 884, 885 (7th Cir. 2014). Rooker-Feldman,
though, is a “narrow doctrine confined to cases brought by state-court losers
complaining of injuries caused by state-court judgments, rendered before the district
court proceedings commenced and inviting district court review and rejection of those
judgments.” Lance, 546 U.S. at 464 (cleaned up). When determining whether the
doctrine applies, the pivotal question is “whether the federal plaintiff seeks the
alteration of a state court’s judgment.” Milchtein v. Chisholm, 880 F.3d 895, 898 (7th
It is clear from the face of the Complaint that Parkinson’s claims against Judge
Schneider seek relief from the state court judgments and the alleged injuries caused
by those judgments. Parkinson accuses Judge Schneider of knowingly and
fraudulently ruling on Parkinson’s counterclaims, even though Judge Schneider
allegedly knew she did not have jurisdiction to do so. See, e.g., Compl. ¶ 73 (“[W]hen
Defendant Schneider became aware that the state court lacked jurisdiction she still
issued an alleged order in favor of Defendant PNC; granting them summary
judgment, dismissing Plaintiffs counter-claim with prejudice and striking Plaintiff’s
affidavit…”). Parkinson’s requested relief—a declaration that Judge Schneider acted
unconstitutionally and without jurisdiction—is a direct challenge to Judge
Schneider’s dismissal of Parkinson’s counterclaims. Rooker-Feldman bars this Court
from sitting, in effect, as the Illinois Appellate Court. Taylor v. Federal Nat’l Morg.
Ass’n, 374 F.3d 529, 534 (7th Cir. 2005) (cited by Dawaji v. Askar, 618 F. App’x 858,
860 (7th Cir. 2015) (“Rooker-Feldman applies for the additional reason that despite
[the plaintiff’s] assertions to the contrary, the relief she seeks would require that we
nullify the state-court judgment) (non-precedential disposition)); see also Maple
Lanes, Inc. v. Messer, 186 F.3d 823, 825-26 (7th Cir. 1999).
Parkinson’s allegations about Judge Schneider’s conduct during the
litigation—as opposed to the allegations about Judge Schneider’s decision itself—do
not undermine this conclusion. See, e.g., Compl. ¶ 113 (“Prior to Defendant Schneider
ruling [sic] on Defendant’s PNC behalf she stated on two separate occasions, ‘I
thought we had disposed of this case.’”), ¶ 123 (“Defendant Schneider did not want to
rule on the case on 10-16-17 because the courtroom was full [of] litigants on that
day.”). In Sykes v. Cook County Circuit Court Probate Division, the plaintiff asserted
that her Americans with Disabilities Act claims in federal court were independent
from the state judge’s order denying the plaintiff's motion for reasonable
accommodations, because they focused on the state judge’s wrongful conduct—
interrogating the plaintiff about her service dog and banning the dog from the
courtroom. 837 F.3d 736, 742 (7th Cir. 2016). Even though the judge’s conduct
preceded the order, the Seventh Circuit still barred the claims under RookerFeldman, because “[i]f the judge violated the ADA by engaging in impermissible
questioning or wrongly banning [the dog] from her courtroom, those alleged violations
were also the basis of her order.” Id. at 743.
Nor does it matter that Parkinson has couched her allegations against
Schneider in claims of fraud and violations of the Constitution. See e.g., Compl.
¶¶ 154-158 (Count One: § 1983 Claim for Fraud against all defendants); id. ¶¶ 168176 (Count Four: § 1983 Claim for Retaliation for Exercise of First Amendment
Rights against Judge Schneider); id. ¶¶ 232-256 (Count Nine: Civil Conspiracy
against all defendants). Rooker-Feldman applies with equal force even when a state
court judgment is allegedly erroneous or unconstitutional. Long, 182 F.3d at 555; see
also Wallis v. Fifth Third Bank, 443 F. App’x 202, 204-205 (7th Cir. 2011) (explaining
that litigants cannot “circumvent the Rooker-Feldman doctrine by recasting a request
for the district court to review state-court rulings as a complaint about civil rights,
due process, conspiracy, or RICO violations.”) (non-precedential disposition).
And there is no fraud exception to the Rooker-Feldman doctrine. Iqbal v. Patel,
780 F.3d 728, 729 (7th Cir. 2015). This is because the doctrine is “concerned not with
why a state court’s judgment might be mistaken (fraud is one such reason; there are
many others) but with which federal court is authorized to intervene.” Id. (emphasis
in original). Indeed, there is no way to separate Parkinson’s claims of conspiracy and
fraud from the state court judgment. The civil conspiracy that Parkinson describes is
the state litigation itself. She claims that PNC, ATG, the Anselmo Lindberg firm,
Judge Schneider, Brown, and other Cook County Circuit Court employees all
conspired to litigate a fraudulent foreclosure action against her, charge her excessive
fees, and dismiss her counterclaims, despite an absence of jurisdiction. These
allegations ultimately challenge the state court decision against her, and thus are
barred by Rooker-Feldman.
In sum, Parkinson could have appealed Judge Schneider’s ruling in state court
if she felt the judge mishandled her case, but she cannot now pursue claims in federal
court that seek to reverse Judge Schneider’s order. All claims against Judge
Schneider must be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
Even if the Court had subject-matter jurisdiction over these claims though,
dismissal is still appropriate because Judge Schneider is protected by absolute
judicial immunity. See Schneider Br. at 5-6. It is a well-established principle that
judges “are not liable to civil actions for their judicial acts.” Stump v. Sparkman, 435
U.S. 349, 356 (1978) (cleaned up).16 Indeed, it is rare that a judge would ever be liable
for actions taken in her judicial capacity, and she “will not be deprived of immunity
because the action [she] took was in error, was done maliciously, or was in excess of
[her] authority; rather, [she] will be subject to liability only when [she] has acted in
the clear absence of all jurisdiction.” Id. at 356-57 (cleaned up).
Despite Parkinson’s repeated assertions that Judge Schneider acted without
jurisdiction, there is no allegation or any other reason offered to think that is right.
Stump, 435 U.S. at 357 n.7 (explaining that clear absence of jurisdiction would be
akin to a probate judge trying a criminal case, but not a criminal judge convicting a
defendant of a nonexistent crime); see also John v. Barron, 897 F. 2d 1387, 1392 (7th
Cir. 1990) (“Judicial Immunity is a defense so long as the judge’s ultimate acts are
judicial actions taken within the court’s subject matter jurisdiction.”). Parkinson has
not offered any reason to believe that Judge Schneider—who was assigned to the
Municipal Division of the Cook County Circuit Court—was not authorized to hear
Parkinson’s counterclaims. So, in the alternative, Judge Schneider would be
dismissed from the case due to judicial immunity.17
opinion uses (cleaned up) to indicate that internal quotation marks, alterations,
and citations have been omitted from quotations. See Jack Metzler, Cleaning Up Quotations,
18 Journal of Appellate Practice and Process 143 (2017).
17Because the claims against Judge Schneider are barred by Rooker-Feldman and
absolute judicial immunity, the Court does not reach Judge Schneider’s alternative
arguments that (1) the Eleventh Amendment bars the official capacity claims; (2) Schneider’s
allegations against her do not adequately state a claim for relief under federal pleading
standards; and (3) sovereign immunity bars Schneider’s state-law claims. Schneider Br. at 5,
B. Dorothy Brown, Cook County, and Employees of the Circuit Court
The Court will again begin its analysis with Rooker-Feldman, because it
presents a threshold question of subject matter jurisdiction. See Brown Br. at 14. As
previously explained, most of Parkinson’s allegations pertain to improprieties in the
state court litigation, and the relief sought is designed to overturn the dismissal of
Parkinson’s counterclaims. Specific to Brown, Cook County, and the unidentified
Cook County Circuit Court employees, Parkinson accuses them of tampering with
case documents, stamping documents with the wrong dates, withholding documents,
and generally conspiring with one another to prevent Parkinson from successfully
litigating her counterclaims. See, e.g. Compl. ¶¶ 77-89, 100, 131-153. She further
alleges that they exhibited “deliberate indifference to [her] Constitutional rights,” id.
¶ 159; were “knowingly [sic] participants in the fraud on the court,” id. ¶ 187; and
that their behavior “influenced Defendant Schneider and the judicial machinery in
such a way that the impartial functions of the court have been directly corrupted,” id.
Although these allegations do not directly mention Judge Schneider’s ruling,
they do challenge it, because Parkinson is trying to recover for injuries allegedly
arising from the state judgment. “If a federal plaintiff alleges that a fraud produced
an adverse state-court decision, then the judicial decision is the source of injury for
Rooker-Feldman purposes.” Dawaji, 618 F. App’x at 859 (non-precedential
disposition); see also Harold, 773 F.3d at 885-86 (applying the Rooker–Feldman
doctrine, reasoning that when false statements to a state court produce an adverse
decision, “the state court's judgment is the source of the injury of which plaintiffs
complain in federal court”). Here, Parkinson’s injuries arise from the state court
dismissal of her counterclaims. Put another way, if Judge Schneider had ruled in
favor of Parkinson on those claims, then there would be no injury arising from the
alleged Cook County Circuit Court fraud. These allegations fall squarely within
Rooker-Feldman and there is no subject matter jurisdiction over them.
In the alternative, the allegations against Brown, Cook County, and the other
Cook County Circuit Court employees fail for the additional and independent reason
that Parkinson has failed to state a claim against them. Parkinson’s accusations that
Brown and her deputy clerks conspired with PNC and other private companies to
deprive Parkinson of her day in court are simply implausible, nor are the allegations
specific enough to satisfy Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 9(b). To begin with,
Parkinson is unable to name the Cook County Circuit Court employees—outside of
Brown—who were involved in the alleged scheme. See, e.g., Compl. ¶¶ 42, 43, 51.
Second, the bulk of her allegations are not actionable, as she primarily complains of
clerical errors and a potentially outdated state court system where documents are
kept only in hard copy. See, e.g., id. ¶ 187 (“Documents that showed this fraud on its
face were hidden in the official court files, with some being marked ‘image not
available.’”). Finally, she does not allege any communications or interactions between
the members of the alleged conspiracy. Her allegations that Cook County employees
are complicit in a plan to stalk her—or are potentially stalking her themselves (the
Complaint is unclear on the affiliation of the alleged stalkers)—are based on no
factual allegations. See e.g., id. ¶¶ 125-130, 257-269. Aside from the lack of subject
matter jurisdiction, these Defendants would be dismissed from the case for failure to
state a claim.18
C. PNC, ATG, and Anselmo Lindberg
Last but not least, the Court must turn to the allegations against PNC, ATG,
and the Anselmo Lindberg law firm. Like the other Defendants, these three sets of
Defendants raise a number of objections to Parkinson’s Complaint. But the Court
must begin by determining if it has subject matter jurisdiction over Parkinson’s
claims or if instead they are barred under Rooker-Feldman.
Parkinson’s claims against PNC, ATG, and Anselmo Lindberg can be organized
into two groups. First, Parkinson repeats her state court counterclaims in her
Complaint, even mistakenly referring to herself as a “Counter” Plaintiff at certain
points.19 These sixteen counts—Counts Fourteen through Twenty-Six and Counts
Twenty-Eight through Thirty—were all presented in Parkinson’s counterclaim filing
in Cook County Circuit Court, and all were either dismissed or disposed of via
summary judgment by Judge Schneider. Although Parkinson does not use the words
the claims against Brown are barred by Rooker-Feldman and also fail to
state a claim, the Court does not reach Brown’s alternative arguments that (1) the Eleventh
Amendment bars the official capacity claims; (2) Parkinson has failed to allege individual or
official capacity claims; (3) the claims against her are barred by quasi-judicial immunity; (4)
the claims against her must be heard in the Illinois Court of Claims; (5) she is entitled to
immunity for negligent acts; and (6) this Court should decline to hear Parkinson’s state law
claims. Brown Br. at 4-13.
19See Compl. ¶¶ 339-395 (Counts Fourteen – Twenty-One: Violations of FDCPA); id.
¶¶ 396-420 (Counts Twenty-Two – Twenty-Four: Violations of the ICFA); id. ¶¶ 421-424
(Count Twenty-Five: Beach of Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing); id. ¶¶ 425435 (Count Twenty-Six: Violation of Dodd Frank); id. ¶¶ 444-490 (Counts Twenty-Eight –
Thirty: Unjust Enrichment).
“reverse” or “overturn” in her opinion, that is what she is asking the Court to do.
There is no possible way for the Court to sustain these claims without overturning
Judge Schneider’s ruling. So these claims are barred by Rooker-Feldman. See Mains
v. Citibank, N.A., 852 F.3d 669, 675 (7th Cir. 2017) (“Claims that directly seek to set
aside a state-court judgment are de facto appeals that trigger the doctrine.”).
Parkinson’s second set of claims against PNC, ATG, and Anselmo Lindberg
relate to her allegations that these Defendants conspired with each other—and
others—to perpetrate fraud on the state court and derail her counterclaims.20 She
accuses these Defendants of making misrepresentations to, and conspiring with, the
state court, and thereby inducing Judge Schneider to rule against her. See, e.g.,
Compl. ¶ 71 (“Defendants had falsely represent[ed] that the Plaintiff’s alleged
mortgage loan was in legal proceedings, that the alleged debt was subject to the
jurisdiction of state court and that PNC and ALA could legally obtain summary
judgment legal fees, foreclosure fees, court fees and other relief against the Plaintiff
knowing that the Defendants had no legal right to do so.”); id. ¶¶ 197-204.
Compl. ¶¶ 154-158 (Count One: § 1983 Claim of Fraud); id. ¶¶ 186-206 (Count
Five: Fraud upon the Court); id. ¶¶ 207-213 (Count Six: Intentional Infliction of Emotional
Distress); id. ¶¶ 214-223 (Count Seven: Defamation); id. ¶¶ 224-231 (Count Eight:
Fraudulent Process); id. ¶¶ 232-256 (Count Nine: Civil Conspiracy); id. ¶¶ 257-311 (Count
Ten: Invasion of Privacy for Perpetual Gang Surveillance); id. ¶¶ 318-328 (Count Eleven:
RICO and Wire Fraud); id. ¶¶ 329-336 (Count Twelve: § 1986 claim for Neglect to Prevent
All Defendants); id. ¶¶ 337-338 (Count Thirteen: Destruction of Quality of Life); id. ¶¶ 436443 (Count Twenty-Seven: Unjust Enrichment against PNC, ATG, ALA and Cook County);
id. ¶ 491 (Count Thirty-One: Slander of Title); id. ¶ 492 (Count Thirty-Two: Slander of
Credit); id. ¶¶ 493-499 (County Thirty-Three: Violation of Fair Housing Act); id. ¶¶ 500-506
(Count Thirty-Four: Willful and Wanton Misconduct).
Although these fifteen claims—Counts One, Five to Thirteen, Twenty-Seven,
and Thirty-One to Thirty-Four—did not directly come before the state court, “RookerFeldman bars claims that could have been argued in state court.” Moore v. Wells
Fargo Bank, N.A., 908 F.3d 1050, 1061 (7th Cir. 2018). In this context, the application
of Rooker-Feldman “hinges on whether the federal claim alleges that the injury was
caused by the state court judgment, or alternatively, whether the federal claim
alleges an independent prior injury that the state court failed to remedy.” Jakupovic
v. Curran, 850 F.3d 898, 902 (7th Cir. 2017) (cleaned up). Here, Parkinson alleges
that the misconduct from PNC, ATG, and Anselmo Lindberg caused Judge
Schneider’s decision against her, meaning the injury she seeks to remedy is the
decision itself. Dawaji, 618 F. App’x at 859 (“[I]f a federal plaintiff alleges that a fraud
produced an adverse state-court decision, then the judicial decision is the source of
injury for Rooker-Feldman purposes.”) (non-precedential disposition). Indeed,
Rooker-Feldman bars claims alleging that “misstatements made to a state court
produced a harmful judgment.” Coley v. Abell, 682 F. App’x 476, 478 (7th Cir. 2017)
(non-precedential disposition). That is what Parkinson has alleged in these fifteen
claims, so they too are barred under the doctrine.
Even so, Parkinson’s claims against PNC, ATG, and Anselmo Lindberg are also
barred under the doctrine of res judicata, that is, claim preclusion. This doctrine
prohibits parties from relitigating issues that were decided, or could have been raised,
in a prior action. Federated Dep’t Stores, Inc. v. Moitie, 452 U.S. 394, 398 (1981).
Because the first action was adjudicated by an Illinois state court, the Court looks to
Illinois law to determine its preclusive effect. Jarrard v. CDI Telecomm., Inc., 408
F.3d 905, 916 (7th Cir. 2005). The Full Faith and Credit Act instructs federal courts
to give state court judgments the same preclusive effect they would have in state
court. Licari v. City of Chi., 298 F.3d 664, 666–67 (7th Cir. 2002). In Illinois, “[w]hen
res judicata is established as a bar against the prosecution of a second action between
the same parties upon the same claim or demand it is conclusive not only as to every
matter which was offered to sustain or defeat the claim or demand, but as to any
other matter which might have been offered for that purpose.” Nowak v. St. Rita High
Sch., 757 N.E.2d 471, 477 (Ill. 2001). Res judicata applies where: (1) a final judgment
on the merits was rendered by a court of competent jurisdiction; (2) there is an
identity of parties or their privies; and (3) there is an identity of causes of action. Id.
All three elements are met here. First, Judge Schneider entered a final
judgment on the merits when she dismissed most of Parkinson’s counterclaims and
granted summary judgment for PNC on the rest. Avery v. Auto-Pro., Inc., 731 N.E.2d
319, 322 (Ill. App. Ct. 2000) (holding that an order dismissing counterclaim was a
judgment on the merits); Sampson v. Cape Indus. Ltd., 593 N.E.2d 1158, 1161 (Ill.
App. Ct. 1992) (“Since summary judgment was granted in favor of [the defendant],
there was a final judgment on the merits”). Second, there is identity of parties or their
privies. Parkinson named PNC in her counterclaims, but she also brought allegations
against ATG and Anselmo Lindberg. See Third Am. Counterclaims ¶ 124 (identifying
Scott Pryor from ATG and complaining about his attempts to serve her), ¶ 167
(“Anselmo Lindberg Oliver’s alleged misconduct stems from its debt collection
activities [on] behalf of PNC Bank, NA and is therefore not immune from liability.”).
Moreover, ATG and Anselmo Lindberg are in privity with PNC. “[P]rivity
exists between a party to the prior suit and a nonparty when the party to the prior
suit adequately represented the same legal interests of the nonparty.” Agolf, LLC v.
Vill. of Arlington Heights, 946 N.E.2d 1123, 1132 (Ill. App. Ct. 2011) (quoting People
ex rel. Burris v. Progressive Land Developers, Inc., 602 N.E.2d 820, 825-26 (Ill. 1992))
(cleaned up). It is safe to assume here that PNC urged Judge Schneider to find that
neither ATG nor Aneslmo Lindberg—which were PNC’s agents—violated any of
Parkinson’s rights when they defended against Parkinson’s claims that the
foreclosure action violated the FDCPA, the ICFA, the Dodd-Frank Act, and other
laws. And Parkinson has provided no reason to undermine this conclusion. The
second element of the test is, thus, satisfied.
Finally, there is an identity of causes of action here. To begin with, Parkinson
simply restates some of her counterclaims in her federal Complaint. See Compl.,
Counts Fourteen to Twenty-Six and Twenty-Eight to Thirty. No doubt there is
identity regarding these claims. But there is also identity with the remaining claims
under Illinois’s “transactional” test: “[s]eparate claims are considered the same cause
of action under res judicata if they arise from a single group of operative facts.” Agolf,
946 N.E.2d at 1131. This test is easily met here. Parksinson’s counterclaims and the
allegations against PNC, ATG, and Anselmo Lindberg in her federal Complaint all
stem from the same transaction—the foreclosure action brought in August 2015. See
Compl. ¶ 2 (“Defendants have uniformly engaged in a scheme of illegal and deceptive
business practices that violate federal and state law in attempting to collect an
alleged mortgage foreclosure debt from Plaintiff…”); R. 150, Pl. Resp. to Anselmo
Lindberg Br. at 1 (“Plaintiff’s Counter-Claim stems from the same illegally issued
complaint number 15-CH 12248.”).21 A single group of operative facts—the
Defendants’ attempt to collect money owed on Parkinson’s mortgage and foreclose on
her home—underlie all of Parkinson’s claims. The claims against PNC, ATG, and
ALA are likewise barred under claim preclusion.22
For the reasons discussed, the Defendants’ motions to dismiss are granted in
their entirety for lack of jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(1). Ordinarily, the Court would
permit a plaintiff a chance to file an amended complaint after the dismissal of the
original complaint. But here the defects go to subject matter jurisdiction, so an
amendment is not likely to fix the problem (some subject matter jurisdiction flaws
might be fixed with different allegations, but this is not that type of case). Also, the
first complaint spanned 63 pages and 540 paragraphs, from which the Court infers
that Parkinson has set forth the complete universe of allegations pertaining to her
foreclosure action against Parkinson was docketed in Cook County Circuit Court
as 15 CH 12248. Foreclosure Compl.
22Because the claims against PNC, ATG, and ALA are barred by Rooker-Feldman and
claim preclusion, the Court does not reach their alternative arguments that (1) the claims
are barred under collateral estoppel; (2) ATG is protected by quasi-judicial immunity; (3) the
claims are time-barred; (4) Parkinson fails to state a claim; and (5) Anselmo is protected by
the Absolute Litigation Privilege. ATG Br. at 6-14; PNC Br. at 8-15; ALA Br. 4-10.
claims. A final judgment will be entered. The status hearing of April 4, 2019 is
s/Edmond E. Chang
Honorable Edmond E. Chang
United States District Judge
DATE: March 29, 2019
a final note, the Court denies Parkinson’s motion [R. 230] to reconsider the
adequacy of the organizational Defendants’ corporate disclosures under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 7.1 and Local Rule 3.2. The Defendants’ filings are now adequate. R. 232, 236, 237.
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