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Res Judicata Defined

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Addresses Res Judicata Defined

Brien Roche

Res Judicata Defined

Res judicata is a concept that is similar to collateral estoppel. It can also be thought of as claim preclusion. In other words claims may be precluded from being heard again if in fact they have already been tried.

As a personal injury lawyer this concept is often applied. Where an issue of law or fact has been resolved then the issue cannot be tried again.

Case Law

The case law from the Virginia Supreme Court is somewhat confusing on the issue of res judicata.  The law has been made more clear by a rule put out by the Virginia Supreme Court. It is entitled “Rule 1:6”. There must be a final judgment and the matter must have been decided on the merits. If those factors exist then you are barred from trying the claim again. In other words you cannot try the claim a second time against the same opposing party if it arises out of that same event. This is true even though a new legal theory or new facts are advanced.
One exception that is carved out is claims for property damage and personal injury arising from the same auto crash.  For instance, if you are involved in a crash you may pursue a claim for the property damage. In addition you may assert a separate claim for personal injury caused by that same crash.

Res Judicata Defined By High Court

The Virginia Supreme Court has ruled that a judgment of conviction or acquittal in a criminal case is of little use in a related civil case. In other words in a later civil case the facts relied on must be presented again. That prior judgment in the criminal case is not admissible.  The logic is that the standard of proof in a criminal case is higher than on the civil side.  In a criminal case the standard of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt. For most civil cases the standard of proof is the greater weight of the evidence.

In another case reported by the Virginia Supreme Court the plaintiff had been a party to a suit in federal court.    It involved multiple parties. The case was dismissed with prejudice.  Under the terms of the Federal Rule that Order was not final. The U. S. District Court did not expressly state that it was a final judgment.  Therefore the prior Order did not have any res judicata effect in the current case. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Again res judicata means that one party should not be allowed for a second time to try with the same opposing party a claim that has been tried. Some people call it the one bite at the apple rule.

Collateral Estoppel

Estoppel may apply where one person has said or done something that another has justifiably relied upon. There must also be some change in position. If so then that first person is estopped (barred). They may be estopped from denying what was said. Or they may be estopped from changing the position that they initially took. Estoppel is a procedural concept that does frequently apply in personal injury cases. Faiirfax personal injury  and accident lawyer Brien Roche has written extensively on related procedural issues on this site.

Criteria

That concept of estoppel is expanded within the doctrine of collateral estoppel. It may bar retrying certain types of claims. In order for collateral estoppel to apply in Virginia there are several factors that have to be met:

  • all parties or their agents (sometimes called privies) to the two different proceedings must be identical.
  • the factual issues must have been tried in the prior action.
  • the factual issue must have been essential to the prior decision.
  • any prior action must have resulted in a judgment that is valid and final against the party to be estopped.
  • there must be mutuality. One party cannot invoke it unless that same party would have been bound by that decision if the decision had been to the contrary

In at least one reported case involving a subrogation claim brought by an insurance carrier, that prior suit was not a bar to a later action.   To prove an identity of issues and an identity of parties the transcript of that prior action had to be offered into evidence.  In this instance, the underlying case was brought in the lower court in Virginia. It was noted as having been dismissed by the Court.  The insurance company alleged that the other party was negligent and that was a cause of the crash.  The dismissal of that prior subrogation claim was not a bar to refiling of the case against the same driver and others.

Call, or contact us for a free consult. For more information about the concept of estoppel see the page on Wikipedia. Also for more information on personal injury actions see the related pages on this site. Also see the pages on Wikipedia for more information on res judicata.

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Res Judicata Defined

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Addresses Res Judicata Defined

Brien Roche

Res Judicata Defined

Res judicata is a concept that is similar to collateral estoppel. It can also be thought of as claim preclusion. In other words claims may be precluded from being heard again if in fact they have already been tried.

As a personal injury lawyer this concept is often applied. Where an issue of law or fact has been resolved then the issue cannot be tried again.

Case Law

The case law from the Virginia Supreme Court is somewhat confusing on the issue of res judicata.  The law has been made more clear by a rule put out by the Virginia Supreme Court. It is entitled “Rule 1:6”. There must be a final judgment and the matter must have been decided on the merits. If those factors exist then you are barred from trying the claim again. In other words you cannot try the claim a second time against the same opposing party if it arises out of that same event. This is true even though a new legal theory or new facts are advanced.
One exception that is carved out is claims for property damage and personal injury arising from the same auto crash.  For instance, if you are involved in a crash you may pursue a claim for the property damage. In addition you may assert a separate claim for personal injury caused by that same crash.

Res Judicata Defined By High Court

The Virginia Supreme Court has ruled that a judgment of conviction or acquittal in a criminal case is of little use in a related civil case. In other words in a later civil case the facts relied on must be presented again. That prior judgment in the criminal case is not admissible.  The logic is that the standard of proof in a criminal case is higher than on the civil side.  In a criminal case the standard of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt. For most civil cases the standard of proof is the greater weight of the evidence.

In another case reported by the Virginia Supreme Court the plaintiff had been a party to a suit in federal court.    It involved multiple parties. The case was dismissed with prejudice.  Under the terms of the Federal Rule that Order was not final. The U. S. District Court did not expressly state that it was a final judgment.  Therefore the prior Order did not have any res judicata effect in the current case. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Again res judicata means that one party should not be allowed for a second time to try with the same opposing party a claim that has been tried. Some people call it the one bite at the apple rule.

Collateral Estoppel

Estoppel may apply where one person has said or done something that another has justifiably relied upon. There must also be some change in position. If so then that first person is estopped (barred). They may be estopped from denying what was said. Or they may be estopped from changing the position that they initially took. Estoppel is a procedural concept that does frequently apply in personal injury cases. Faiirfax personal injury  and accident lawyer Brien Roche has written extensively on related procedural issues on this site.

Criteria

That concept of estoppel is expanded within the doctrine of collateral estoppel. It may bar retrying certain types of claims. In order for collateral estoppel to apply in Virginia there are several factors that have to be met:

  • all parties or their agents (sometimes called privies) to the two different proceedings must be identical.
  • the factual issues must have been tried in the prior action.
  • the factual issue must have been essential to the prior decision.
  • any prior action must have resulted in a judgment that is valid and final against the party to be estopped.
  • there must be mutuality. One party cannot invoke it unless that same party would have been bound by that decision if the decision had been to the contrary

In at least one reported case involving a subrogation claim brought by an insurance carrier, that prior suit was not a bar to a later action.   To prove an identity of issues and an identity of parties the transcript of that prior action had to be offered into evidence.  In this instance, the underlying case was brought in the lower court in Virginia. It was noted as having been dismissed by the Court.  The insurance company alleged that the other party was negligent and that was a cause of the crash.  The dismissal of that prior subrogation claim was not a bar to refiling of the case against the same driver and others.

Call, or contact us for a free consult. For more information about the concept of estoppel see the page on Wikipedia. Also for more information on personal injury actions see the related pages on this site. Also see the pages on Wikipedia for more information on res judicata.

Contact Us For A Free Consultation

Contact Us For A Free Consultation