Preclusion, or Former Adjudication

Nomenclature issue (linguistic confusion possible) as some terms are used to mean more than one thing. The doctrine of preclusion includes two distinct categories:
  • 1. Claim preclusion (res judicata)
  • 2. Issue preclusion (collateral estoppel is only issue preclusion)
Modern language has replace old fashioned legal terms.
  • But some states have own terminology: p. 688 for example.
Reasons for Preclusion/Former Adjudication:
  • 1. Resources
  • 2. Similar interest as in statutes of limitation: issue of finality that allows people to move on.
  • 3. Even when we suspect doing it again would be more accurate, when we reach a different result, highlights imperfections in original system--undermines faith--we just don’t want to know.
Black-letter law of preclusion (a claim in 2nd action, what effect does lawsuit #1 have on lawsuit #2?)
  • 1. Same parties
  • 2. First lawsuit resolved on merits
  • 3. Involve the “same claim”--how do you decide? See Frier v. City of Vandalia.
Frier v. City of Vandalia
  • Plaintiff's cars keep getting towed for illegal parking. Can't get them out without paying money. Plaintiff files initial #1 suit:
    • Frier v. Vandalia, state court replevin action (to get back personal property)
    • Determination: parking was wrongful
  • Lawsuit #2 in federal court:
    • Frier v. Vandalia: §1983 (state actors violating civil rights)
      • Right to due process (federal question)
      • Didn't give enough process before they keep car (prompt hearing, etc.)
    • Dismissed because judge did not feel claim was strong enough.
    • Court of Appeals can rule on issues not decided below as long as
      • 1. They are being used to affirm (not reverse); and
      • 2. As long as decision doesn't turn on disputed questions of fact.
  • Should include res judicata in Answer as an affirmative defense.
    • Back it up via summary judgment not motion to dismiss.
    • Summary judgment deals with evidence.
  • Federal preclusion law housed in federal Common Law (like Semtek), most state preclusion law Common Law from state court, with some legislative interventions.
    • In Frier, applying state preclusion law
    • Based on "full faith and credit" 28 U.S.C. §1738.\
    • Dictated by where first action occurred
    • § 1738 does not say what to do when first court was federal, as it's about state court judgments.
    • BUT Constitutional "Supremacy" means must apply federal Common Law
      • Whether #2 is in state or federal court.
  • "Same Transaction Approach"
    • if arose out of same transaction or series of transactions = most states + federal
  • "Evidentiary Approach"
    • Used by Illinois -- Yeazell, bottom of p. 660.
    • Is Easterbrook applying federal law instead of Illinois?
What’s the difference?
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