Montfort, Healy, McGuire & Salley Recently Won Appeal Based on the Doctrine of Res Judicata

Albanez v. Charles (2015 NY Slip Op 08795)

In a recent case, Donald S. Neumann, Jr. of Montfort, Healy, McGuire & Salley successfully represented a client at the Appellate Division, Second Department. The appeal concerned recovery of damages in a personal injury action, as ordered by the Supreme Court. Mr. Neumann represented the defendant/respondent for whom he secured judgment on the ground of res judicata.

Res judicata is a legal doctrine that bars a claim in a subsequent litigation action if it was already raised or could have been raised previously. To prevail in precluding a claim based on this doctrine, a party must prove that the “successive litigation [is] based on the same transaction or series of transactions [in that] (i) there is a judgment on the merits rendered by a court of competent jurisdiction, and (ii) the party against whom the doctrine is invoked was a party to the previous action, or in privity with a party who was.” See Matter of People v. Applied Card Sys., Inc., 11 NY3d 105, 122.

In a separate declaratory judgment action, a default judgment had been rendered declaring that the alleged “accident” in question was a collision that was intentionally, rather than negligently, caused.

In this case, the plaintiffs sought recovery for personal injuries allegedly sustained as a result of the collision.

Although the Supreme Court held that the action brought by the plaintiff was barred based on collateral estoppel (issue preclusion), the Appellate Division affirmed the order on the alternate theory of res judicata. The Second Department held that both elements for res judicata were satisfied in that the Supreme Court had already determined the claim was barred and both parties had been named as defendants in the declaratory judgment action.

To read the full case, click here.