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Current Developments in the Commercial Divisions of the
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Posted: November 20, 2015

Complaint Not Barred by the Doctrine of Res Judicata

On November 18, 2015, the Second Department issued a decision in Ricatto v. Mapliedi, 2015 NY Slip Op. 08401, reversing the dismissal of a complaint on res judicata grounds, explaining:

The doctrine of res judicata gives binding effect to the judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction and prevents the parties to an action, and those in privity with them, from subsequently relitigating any questions that were necessarily decided therein. A party seeking to assert res judicata or claim preclusion must show the existence of a prior judgment on the merits.

Here, [the defendant] has not demonstrated that a judgment on the merits exists between the same parties involving the same subject matter. Res judicata does not bar this action, as the disposition of the prior action was based upon a lack of standing only and the Supreme Court has not yet considered the merits of the allegations. To the extent that [the defendant] argues, as an alternate ground for affirmance, that the complaint should be dismissed insofar as asserted against him as barred by the doctrine of collateral estoppel, which issue had been asserted by [him] in support of his motion to dismiss the complaint insofar as asserted against him, this contention is without merit. The dismissal of the prior action for lack of standing was not made on the merits and, therefore, a different judgment in the instant action would not destroy or impair rights or interests established in the prior action.

(Internal quotations and citations omitted) (emphasis added).

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