The court's adoption of the Restatement (Second) approach to claim preclusion commits it to a "transactional" definition of the underlying claim or cause of action: (1) When a valid and final judgment rendered in an action extinguishes the plaintiff's claim pursuant to the rules of merger or bar, the claim extinguished includes all rights of the plaintiff to remedies against the defendant with respect to all or any part of the transaction, or series of connected transactions, out of which the action arose. (2) What factual grouping constitutes a "transaction", and what groupings constitute a "series", are to be determined pragmatically, giving weight to such considerations as whether the facts are related in time, space, origin, or motivation, whether they form a convenient trial unit, and whether their treatment as a unit conforms to the parties' expectations, business understanding or usage.
An applicant for entertainment and liquor licenses for the operation of a disco was denied his application. He filed a case against a town board of trade, bank, and the bank's vice president for illegal conspiracy to restrain trade under the Sherman Antitrust Act, 15 U.S.C.S. § 1. The court discovered that the applicant had filed a previous action against the bank's vice-president and bank under 42 U.S.C.S. § 1981 and other statutes, alleging that racial animus motivated the denial of applicant's applications. In that action, the district court granted summary judgment for defendants, with the appellate court affirming because the applicant failed to produce evidence of any weight to support his claim. In the current case, the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts granted summary judgment for defendants. The applicant appealed the case.
Is the applicant barred from bringing a second lawsuit when same set of facts underlay both the first and second lawsuit?
Because the applicant's antitrust claims arose out of the same transaction as his previous civil rights claims, on which a final judgment had been entered, the district court granted summary judgment for the vice-president and bank. On appeal, the court affirmed on the basis that the same set of facts underlay both the present action and applicant's prior action. Thus, res judicata barred the present action. The district court also granted summary judgment for the board of trade on First Amendment grounds because there was no exception to the Noerr-Pennington doctrine. The court affirmed.