Berry v. Wells Fargo Bank, NA, No. 16-3544 (7th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
In 2006 Berry signed a $270,000 mortgage to fund improvements to his Chicago home. He denies missing any payments but the mortgage was foreclosed later that year. Years of protracted litigation ensued, with Berry arguing that HSBC did not have the right to foreclose, that he didn’t know how much he owed and to whom, and that he should have received a loan modification. A 2010 judicial sale of his home was vacated as premature. He contended that HSBC discriminated against him based on race (African‐American), violating the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. 3601. The final judicial sale occurred in 2015. Before the sale, Berry filed a federal suit under the Fair Housing Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, 15 U.S.C. 1691, and the Truth in Lending Act, 15 U.S.C. 1639. By the time Berry amended his federal complaint, the state court had confirmed the sale. The Seventh Circuit affirmed dismissal. The first suit resulted in a final judgment on the merits rendered by a court of competent jurisdiction; the suits present the same causes of action and have the same parties or privies. Berry’s federal complaint and his state‐court filings describe the same operative facts. If he was dissatisfied with the state court’s decision or justifications, his remedy was to appeal, not to file a new suit.