U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit
Bankruptcy — FDCPA claims
A debtor’s claim for violation of the FDCPA belongs to the bankruptcy estate.
“In addition to relying on a state-court judgment that, by the time of briefing, no longer existed, the Law Firm asked us to affirm on the bankruptcy judge’s ground — that any claim belongs to the estate in bankruptcy for the benefit of Richardson’s creditors, not to Richardson personally. The Law Firm made this argument to the district court too, but the court did not reach it given its reliance on the Rooker-Feldman doctrine. A prevailing party is entitled to defend its judgment on any ground preserved in the district court. See Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. v. Ludwig, 426 U.S. 479 (1976). Richardson did not bother to file a reply brief, and it became apparent at oral argument that he is unaware of the rule stated in Ludwig — a rule that Morley Construction Co. v. Maryland Casualty Co., 300 U.S. 185, 191 (1937), called ‘inveterate and certain’. Richardson thus forfeited his opportunity to contest this issue.”
Affirmed as modified.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Magnus-Stinson, J., Easterbrook, J.