Thursday, August 11, 2011
Res judicata based on prior federal court judgment
Res judicata defense based on prior action in federal court
The claim-preclusive effect of a federal-court judgment on a federal-question claim is determined by federal res judicata principles. Semtek Int’l. Inc. v. Lockheed Martin Corp., 531 U.S. 497, 507, 121 S. Ct. 1021, 1027 (2001); see John G. Marie Stella Kenedy Mem’l Found. v. Dewhurst, 90 S.W.3d 268, 287 (Tex. 2002).
Under the doctrine of res judicata, a party is precluded from litigating a claim in a pending action if (1) in a previous action, a court of competent jurisdiction rendered a final judgment on the merits of a claim, (2) the parties that litigated the prior claim are identical to or in privity with the parties litigating the pending claim, and (3) the pending claim (a) is identical to the prior claim or (b) arises out of the same nucleus of operative facts as did the prior claim and could have been litigated in the previous action. In re Paige, 610 F.3d 865, 870–72 (5th Cir. 2010); see also Russell v. SunAmerica Sec., Inc., 962 F.2d 1169, 1173 (5th Cir. 1992) (“A non-party defendant can assert res judicata so long as it is in ‘privity’ with the named defendant.”).
For res judicata purposes, “privity” exists if (1) a nonparty agrees to be bound by the determination of issues in an action between others; (2) a pre-existing substantive legal relationship governs a nonparty and a party to a judgment; (3) a party with the same interests adequately represents a nonparty in a prior action; (4) a nonparty assumes control over the litigation in the prior action; (5) a nonparty serves as proxy for a party to a prior action; or (6) a special statutory scheme expressly forecloses successive litigation by nonlitigants and claim preclusion is otherwise consistent with due process. Taylor v. Sturgell, 553 U.S. 880, 893–95, 128 S. Ct. 2161, 2172–73 (2008); id. at 885, 128 S. Ct. at 2167 (disapproving of doctrine of “virtual representation”).
SOURCE: Houston Court of Appeals - 01-10-00569-CV - 8/11/11