Practice point: The Supreme Court determined that this personal injury action was barred by collateral estoppel, and the Appellate Division affirmed, but on a different ground, namely, res judicata.
The Appellate Division found that, in a declaratory judgment action, an order was issued granting the plaintiffs therein leave to enter a default judgment against the appellants, who were named defendants in that action, upon their failure to appear or answer the complaint in that action. The Appellate Division determined that that order is conclusive for res judicata purposes as to any matters actually litigated or that might have been litigated in that action, and that it precludes the appellants from maintaining this action.
Student note: Res judicata, or claim preclusion, bars successive litigation based upon the same transaction or series of connected transactions if: (i) there is a judgment on the merits rendered by a court of competent jurisdiction, and (ii) the party against whom the doctrine is invoked was a party to the previous action, or in privity with a party who was. The doctrine applies to an order or judgment taken by default which has not been vacated, as well as to issues which were or could have been raised in the prior proceeding.
Case: Albanez v. Charles, NY Slip Op 08795 (2d Dept. 2015)
Here is the decision.
Tomorrow's issue: Leave to amend a summons and complaint.