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The Doctrines of Res Judicata and Collateral Estoppel

The Doctrines of Res Judicata and Collateral Estoppel

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Published by Carrieonic

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Published by: Carrieonic on Sep 28, 2010
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08/26/2011

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The Doctrines of 
 Res Judicata
andCollateral Estoppel
These two doctrines establish the rule that once a case has reached a final judgment,relitigation of the claims and issues generally is barred.
 Res Judicata
(Claim Preclusion)
1
.
 
ule: If judgment is rendered in favor of a plaintiff in a particular suit, the plaintiff is precluded from raising claims (in any future litigation) which wereraised in (or could have been raised) in that lawsuit.2.
 
Elements: Before a court will apply the doctrine of 
res judicata
to a claim, threeelements must be satisfied:
1
.
 
There must have been prior litigation in which identical claims were raised(or 
could 
have been raised). In general, claims are sufficiently identical if they are found to share a ³common nucleus of operative fact.´2.
 
The parties in the second litigation must be identical in some manner tothe parties in the original litigation, or be in privity with the parties in thefirst action.
N
ote:
A party is considered to be in privity with a party in the originallitigation if:
1
.
 
The nonparty succeeded to the interest of a party;2.
 
The nonparty, though it did not technically participate in the firstsuit, controlled one party¶s litigation in that suit;3.
 
The nonparty shares a property interest with the party;4.
 
The party and the nonparty have an agency relationship(agent/principal); or 5.
 
The party otherwise adequately represented the interest of thenonparty in the previous litigation.3.
 
There must have been a final judgment on the merits in the originallitigation.
N
ote:
Not all final judgments are based on the merits of the case(i.e., cases dismissed on jurisdictional grounds, etc.).3.
 
S
cope:
es judicata bars relitigation of claims that were previously litigated aswell as claims that could have been litigated in the first lawsuit.4.
 
Counterclaims:
 R
es judicata
is generally not applied to potential counterclaims bydefendants, so defendants are not necessarily barred from raising a counterclaimin future litigation. However, remember that all counterclaims must conform toF
CP
ule
1
3(a), and that some counterclaims are compulsory (must be raised inoriginal litigation or they are waived).

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