J Thomas Black
Board Certified, Consumer Bankruptcy Law- Texas Board of Legal Specialization

This Morris v. AHMSI case illustrates the legal principal of res judicata. The Debtor had at first sued AHMSI in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, and lost. His case had been thrown out of court for "failure to state a claim." He had sued them saying they lacked standing to foreclose, and that they had violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Having lost, Morris appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and lost again. So then he filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and sued them again, for the same thing. In this case, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Letitia Paul ruled that the legal doctrine of res judicatabars Morris from suing AHMSI again, for the very same things. The Court states, in part:

Res judicata applies only if four conditions are satisfied. First, the parties in a later action must be identical to (or at least be in privity with) the parties in a prior action. Second, the judgment in the prior action must have been rendered by a court of competent jurisdiction. Third, the prior action must have concluded with a final judgment on the merits. Fourth, the same claim or cause of action must be involved in both suits. United States v. Shanbaum, 10 F.3d 305 (5th Cir. 1994).

The Court was absolutely correct on this one. I don't have much sympathy for mortgage servicers, particularly AHMSI, now known as Homeward, but you can't just sue someone over and over again for the same things.  There has to be finality to litigation. If you are going to sue someone, take your best shot, but make it count, because if you lose, and appeal and still lose, you don't just get a "do-over" in another court.

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