Rainbow Mgmt. Grp. v. Atlantis Submarines Haw., L.P.

158 F.R.D. 656 (D. Haw. 1994)

 

RULE:

Co-parties become opposing parties within the meaning of Fed. R. Civ. P. 13(a) after one such party pleads an initial cross-claim against the other where the initial cross-claim includes a substantive claim as opposed to merely a claim for contribution and indemnity.

FACTS:

The prior litigation involved a plaintiff who suffered personal injuries in the collision of the two vessels. The company and the submarine owner were co-defendants in that case. In that litigation the submarine owner filed a cross-claim against the company for breach of contract, contribution, and indemnity. The company filed a cross-claim against the submarine owner for contribution and indemnity. The cross-claim did not assert a claim for damage to the company's vessel. In this case, the company filed suit against the submarine owner for damages sustained by the company's vessel in a collision with a vessel owned by defendant individual. The submarine owner filed a motion for summary judgment contending that the company's claims against it were barred because they were compulsory counterclaims not pleaded in previous litigation regarding the collision.

ISSUE:

Are claims against party barred because compulsory counterclaims were not pleaded in previous litigation?

ANSWER:

Yes

CONCLUSION:

The court granted the motion for summary judgment establishing the rule that co-parties become opposing parties within the meaning of Fed. R. Civ. P. 13(a) after one such party pleads an initial cross-claim against the other and that cross-claim includes a substantive claim. The cross-claim filed by the submarine owner contained a substantive claim against the company for breach of contract. The company and the submarine owner thus became opposing parties and the company was required to plead any substantive claim it might have against the submarine owner arising out of the collision of the two vessels.

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