Federal district court dismissed Plaintiff's cause of action pursuant to the doctrine of res judicata.
The U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, affirmed the lower court's ruling explaining “res judicata bars re-litigation of a claim if :
(1) the previous action involved an adjudication on the merits; [and]
(2) the previous action involved the same parties or those in privity with them; [and]
(3) the claims asserted in the subsequent action were, or could have been, raised in the prior action.”
In this instance the Plaintiff and the Defendants were parties in both this case and the prior litigation and the prior action was decided on the merits through a motion to dismiss.
The Circuit Court also noted that Plaintiff's current claims against Defendants could have been brought in the earlier action if they were not and, accordingly, the District Court properly determined that the claims against Defendants were barred by res judicata.
As to another claim advanced by Plaintiff, the Circuit Court observed that "defamation claims against the attorneys relating to their work in the prior lawsuit are precluded by the common law litigation privilege," citing Martirano v. Frost, 25 N.Y.2d 505. The court opined that "a courtroom statement is absolutely privileged unless it is 'so outrageously out of context as to permit one to conclude, from the mere fact that the statement was uttered, that it was motivated by no other desire than to defame'”.
Click HERE to access the Circuit Court's decision.