Claim preclusion re defense of fraud. Erler v. Erler (N.D. Cal. Nov. 21, 2013).

A number of cases have addressed claims that a sponsor was fraudulently induced to sign an I-864, Affidavit of Support. In dicta, a District Court has suggested that a defendant-sponsor waives his right to raise the defense of fraud in the inducement if he fails to assert that defense in a preceding dissolution action. In Erler v. Erler the district court held that the defendant-sponsor had failed to provide “sufficient evidence” of fraud at summary judgment. CV-12-02793-CRB, 2013 WL 6139721, at *4 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 21, 2013).  The court went on to state that the time to contest the marriage’s validity had passed, and that “[a]ny allegations of fraud should have been made to the state court during divorce proceedings.” Previous case law has suggested that an I-864 beneficiary may waive the right to seek support under the I-864 if she fails to raise the issue in a dissolution action.  Nguyen v. Dean, No. 10–6138–AA, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3803 (D. Or. Jan. 14, 2011) (granting defendant’s motion for summary judgment).  The Erler counsels similar caution for family law attorneys representing I-864 sponsors.