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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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I am involved in a appeal for a Summary Judgment for Libel

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I am involved in a appeal for a Summary Judgment for Libel in the District Court of Sarpy County, Nebraska, which is based in part on the doctrine of res dudicata. I have found two facts of law, but can not find any statutes, cases, or constitutional issues in which to base two Propositions of Law, which I can find references to. I need to a list of supporting authorities for these, that apply to Nebraska. They must be the most recent.

1.Res judicata only applies if both cases can be joined and adjudicated in a prior action.

2.In cases involving due process, cases that appear to be res judicata may be re-litigated.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking.

1) The US Supreme court has held that a final judgment on the merits of an action precludes the parties or their privies from relitigating issues that were or could have been raised in that action. Commissioner v. Sunnen, 333 U.S. 591, 597, 68 S.Ct. 715, 719, 92 L.Ed. 898 (1948); Cromwell v. County of Sac, 94 U.S. 351, 352-353, 24 L.Ed. 195 (1877). Nor are the res judicata consequences of a final, unappealed judgment on the merits altered by the fact that the judgment may have been wrong or rested on a legal principle subsequently overruled in another case. Angel v. Bullington, 330 U.S. 183, 187, 67 S.Ct. 657, 659, 91 L.Ed. 832 (1947); Chicot County Drainage District v. Baxter State Bank, 308 U.S. 371, 60 S.Ct. 317, 84 L.Ed. 329 (1940); Wilson's Executor v. Deen, 121 U.S. 525, 534, 7 S.Ct. 1004, 1007, 30 L.Ed. 980 (1887).

Thus, if you are litigating an issue that could not have been raised in the prior action, res judicata would not apply.

2) This issue is a bit different though. If the matter has already been litigated and you are alleging due process was violated in that case, it was something that had to be brought on appeal and not in a new case to be relitigated. The US Supreme Court was quit explicit about this. The US Supreme Court explained in Baltimore S.S. Co. v. Phillips, 274 U.S. 316, 325, 47 S.Ct. 600, 604, 71 L.Ed. 1069 (1927), an "erroneous conclusion" reached by the court in the first suit does not deprive the defendants in the second action "of their right to rely upon the plea of res judicata. . . . A judgment merely voidable because based upon an erroneous view of the law is not open to collateral attack, but can be corrected only by a direct review and not by bringing another action upon the same cause [of action]." We have observed that "[t]he indulgence of a contrary view would result in creating elements of uncertainty and confusion and in undermining the conclusive character of judgments, consequences which it was the very purpose of the doctrine of res judicata to avert." Reed v. Allen, 286 U.S. 191, 201, 52 S.Ct. 532, 534, 76 L.Ed. 1054 (1932).

Thus, you cannot relitigate if the previous case deprived you of due process rights, you had to appeal that decision and obtain direct review.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

In 1) I was involved in an appeal for unempolyment insurance, which can not be litigated in the same court as libel is litigated in, and the parties are not the same parties, but there is one party that is the same. Therefore I think 1) applies, but I need a reference from cases in Nebraska, statutes, etc, that support this. It has to come from nebraska cases, preferabaly.


In 2) I am claiming that they violated my rights because they relied on a case that did deprive me of my rights using res judicata to prove the facts.


Give me something to use for 1) and 2)...whether right or wrong, so I can fullfill the requriements of the biref.


Thank you for your response.

I gave you several cases to use for #1, but I cannot make up case law to help you for #2 if it does not exist. You are asking me to give you something that simply does not exist and I cannot make up cases for you that do not exist I am afraid. If you make an argument for which the US Supreme Court has the completely opposite position then you can be sanctioned for doing so and you do not want that.

The US Supreme Court outweighs any NE court ruling on this issue, which is why I provided you the Supreme Court cases.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Ok, give me a case in Nebraska I can refer to on #1. Although it is ok to cite other cases, I have found that cases in Nebraska carry more weight.

I would be amazed that the NE court thinks they have more authority than the US Supreme Court, since legally they do not.

However, the case that the US Supreme Court held everything about res judicata was in Federated Department Stores, Inc v. Moitie, 69 L.Ed.2d 103, 101 S.Ct. 2424, 452 U.S. 394 (1981) and this case was cited with approval in VanDeWalle v. Albion Nat. Bank, 243 Neb. 496, 500 N.W.2d 566 (Neb., 1993), thus making it the law in NE, so all of those cases are relevant and binding authority in NE.
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