Frier v. Vandalia

770 F.2d 699 (7th Cir. 1985)

 

RULE:

Two suits may entail the same "cause of action" even though they present different legal theories, and the first suit operates as an absolute bar to a subsequent action not only as to every matter which was offered and received to sustain or defeat the claim or demand, but as to any other admissible matter which might have been offered for that purpose.

FACTS:

Plaintiff had several cars towed by defendant for blocking access to a street. After losing in state court seeking replevin, plaintiff turned to the district court alleging a due process violation under U.S. Const. amend. XIV because defendant towed his cars without subsequently holding a prompt hearing.

ISSUE:

Is a state replevin claim barred by federal due process?

ANSWER:

Yes.

CONCLUSION:

Frier’s federal claim is barred by res judicata. There were different legal theories in support of the state and federal claims. However, same facts as Frier’s cars being towed by the city-claim bars the second one. The court further found that the replevin theory contained the elements that made up a due process theory, and therefore, the court concluded that the state court would have treated both theories as one "cause of action."

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