U.S. Supreme Court Backs Orrick Appellate Team in Fannie Mae Case


In a unanimous decision backing an Orrick appellate team’s legal arguments, the U.S. Supreme Court today concluded that suits against Fannie Mae are not automatically confined to federal court jurisdiction.

The court’s decision in Lightfoot v. Cendant Mortgage Corp. reversed the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and settles a key jurisdictional issue for litigation involving government-sponsored mortgage lender Fannie Mae.

Led by Josh Rosenkranz, head of Orrick’s Supreme Court and Appellate practice, and partner Robert Loeb, our team represents Crystal Monique Lightfoot and her mother, Beverly Hollis-Arrington, in a long-running California lawsuit seeking to prevent Fannie Mae and others from foreclosing on their home.

The Lightfoot case centered on whether the statute governing Fannie Mae automatically confers jurisdiction in the federal courts whenever Fannie Mae is a party, even when the case involves purely state law issues. The statute says Fannie Mae “shall have the power to … sue and to be sued … in any court of competent jurisdiction, State or Federal.”

Our team argued that the Lightfoot case belongs in state court, and the Supreme Court agreed. The U.S. Solicitor General’s Office had urged the Supreme Court to take up the case and rule in favor of our clients.

In addition to Josh and Bob, the team included counsel Tom Bondy and associates Matthew Bush, Cynthia Stein, Louisa Irving and Kevin Arlyck.