Based on the assigned materials, how would you resolve the questions below? Some of these questions are based on my old casebook, so you won’t necessarily be able to answer all the questions. Try your best anyway and we’ll discuss them in class.
Explanations will be posted here after we complete our discussion of the materials.
1. The basics. P sues D (an auto manufacturer) in state court for negligence arising from a car accident. The alleged negligence is negligent manufacture of a component of P’s car, which P believes was the proximate cause of P’s injury. At trial, the jury finds for D and the court enters judgment against P. Believing her lawyer did a poor job in the trial, P files a second suit against D for the same injury, again alleging negligence, this time using a better lawyer. Can D object on the basis of claim preclusion?
2. Privity. Same hypo as # 1. After losing the first suit, P dies. P’s spouse, serving as executor to P’s estate, files suit on behalf of the estate against D for P’s wrongful death. Can D object on the basis of claim preclusion?
3. State-to-state. Same hypo as # 1. Would it matter if suit 2 was brought in the courts of a different state?
4. State-to-federal. Same hypo as # 1. Would it matter if suit 2 was brought in federal court?
5. Same claim I? Same hypo as # 1, but in the second suit, P asserts claims for strict liability and breach of warranty. Can D object on the basis of claim preclusion?
6. Same claim II? Penny sues Donna in state court for breach of a contract to sell an electric guitar. At the time, Penny decides not to sue Donna for negligence for an unrelated car accident. Penny wins at trial and judgment is entered on her behalf. Emboldened by her victory, Penny files a second suit against Donna for negligence arising from the car accident. Donna asserts claim preclusion as a defense, arguing that Penny could have joined her negligence claim in the same suit. Will Donna win?
7. Same party? Paul, Penny, and David get into a bar fight. Paul sues David for battery in federal court and loses. Penny later sues David for battery from the same bar fight. David asserts claim preclusion as a defense. Will David prevail?
8. Counterclaims? Penny sues Donna in federal court for negligence arising from a car accident involving the two women. Penny loses at trial and judgment is entered against her. Emboldened by her victory, Donna then files suit against Penny in federal court for negligence arising from the same car accident. Penny asserts claim preclusion as a defense. Will she prevail?
9. State-to-federal revisited. Bartkansas and Homeria are two states of the United States. P and D were parties to a licensing agreement that gave D the right to sell products containing P’s patented invention. P is upset at D because D never paid any of the royalties due under the license agreement in 2006. P sues D in Homeria state court for breach of the licensing agreement. P wins and judgment is entered in his favor. P later sues D in Bartkansas federal court for patent infringement arising from D’s 2006 sale of products containing the invention, seeking damages to P’s business above and beyond the license fees sought and obtained in the first action. D seeks dismissal on the basis of claim preclusion. P argues that federal common law bars the exercise of claim preclusion because the patent claim could not have been asserted in state court. Is she correct?
10. Federal-to-state I. P sues D in federal court in Bartkansas for defamation. Applying the two-year Bartkansas statute of limitations, the federal court involuntarily dismisses the suit with prejudice and on the merits. P then refiles the same suit in Homeria state court. Homeria uses a 10-year statute of limitations for defamation claims. D argues that P’s claim is barred because the FRCP treats an involuntary dismissal like this as an adjudication upon the merits, barring relitigation. Is D correct?
11. Federal-to-state II. P sues D in federal court in Bartkansas for defamation. P refuses to comply with a discovery order and the court enters judgment in D’s favor, dismissing with prejudice P’s claims. P later sues D in Homeria state court for the same alleged defamation. D moves for dismissal on the basis of claim preclusion, and P objects, noting that Bartkansas state courts would not give preclusive effect to an involuntary dismissal done as a discovery sanction. Is D correct?
12. Federal-to-federal. Same fact pattern as # 11. The second suit, however, is in Homeria federal court rather than Homeria state court. D moves for dismissal on the basis of claim preclusion, and P objects, noting that Bartkansas state courts would not give preclusive effect to an involuntary dismissal done as a discovery sanction. Is D correct?
Updated Apr. 16, 2015