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Lightfoot v. Cendant Mortgage Corporation
United States Supreme Court
137 S. Ct. 553 (2017)
In 1938, the Fair Housing Administration chartered the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) (defendant). In 1954, Congress rechartered Fannie Mae. In the new charter, Congress revised the sue-or-be-sued clause (the clause), which conferred jurisdiction on certain courts with respect to suits by or against Fannie Mae. The clause gave Fannie Mae the power “to sue and to be sued, and to complain and to defend, in any court of competent jurisdiction, State or Federal.” In 1999, Beverly Ann Hollis-Arrington (plaintiff) refinanced her mortgage owned by Cendant Mortgage Corporation (Cendant) (defendant). Cendant sold the mortgage to Fannie Mae. When Hollis-Arrington was unable to make her payments, Cendant repurchased the mortgage from Fannie Mae. Hollis-Arrington and her daughter, Crystal Lightfoot (plaintiff) attempted to stave off foreclosure, but they failed, and the house was sold. Hollis-Arrington and Lightfoot brought two unsuccessful suits in federal court. Subsequently, Hollis-Arrington and Lightfoot filed suit against Fannie Mae in state court, alleging that deficiencies in the refinancing and foreclosure processes entitled them to relief. Fannie Mae removed the case to federal court, relying on the clause as a basis for federal jurisdiction. Hollis-Arrington and Lightfoot moved to remand the case to state court, which the federal district court denied. Then, the district court dismissed the claims against Fannie Mae based on claim preclusion. The court of appeals affirmed. Hollis-Arrington and Lightfoot appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Sotomayor, J.)
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