No New Arguments in the Reply, and Res Judicata

Djoganopoulos v Polkes, 2009 NY Slip Op 08173 (App. Div., 2nd, 2009)

Where a dismissal does not involve a determination on the merits, the doctrine of res judicata does not apply (see Maitland v Trojan Elec. & Mach. Co., 65 NY2d 614; Sclafani v Story Book Homes, 294 AD2d 559, 559-560). The complaint in the prior related action was dismissed on the ground that it did "not contain any factual averments against" Jonathan D. Polkes, Ellen G. Polkes, and Megan Strecker. "Rather, the conduct complained of involves only the Village [of Westhampton Dunes and its officials]" (Feder v Polkes,AD3d [decided herewith]). Therefore, the dismissal was not on the merits, and the doctrine of res judicata does not apply in the instant case (see Maitland v Trojan Elec. & Mach. Co., 65 NY2d 614).

We do not consider the defendants' contention that the plaintiffs failed to join necessary parties since it was improperly raised for the first time in their reply papers before the Supreme Court (see Crummell v Avis Rent A Car Sys., Inc., 62 AD3d 825; Luft v Luft, 52 AD3d 479, 480; Medugno v City of Glen Cove, 279 AD2d 510, 511-512).

Hantz v Hillman Hous. Corp., 2009 NY Slip Op 07933 (App. Div., 1st, 2009)

The tenant's second action seeking to compel the Board to grant his request to install an in-wall air conditioning system arose out of the same transaction, and facts, as had been considered in the tenant's prior litigation on the issue. The nature of tenant's proposed air conditioning installation and reasons for its need (i.e., medical, aesthetics, etc.) remained unchanged from the facts available at the time of the Board's original July 2005 determination, as well as at the time of the aforementioned prior litigation. Whether a mistaken factual assumption by the Board in considering Hantz's first application led to an errant determination may not be revisited based upon re-submission of the same facts, pertaining to the same transaction, as had been originally considered by the Board (see e.g. Mchawi v State Univ. of N.Y., Empire State Coll., 248 AD2d 111, 112 [1998], lv denied 92 NY2d 804 [1998]). The applicable statute of limitations period for challenging the Board's 2005 determination having since expired, Hantz's alleged new claim based on the same facts as those previously considered was properly dismissed on res judicata grounds (see e.g. Marinelli Assoc. v Helmsley-Noyes Co., 265 AD2d 1, 4-5 [2000]).

Jericho Group Ltd. v Midtown Dev., L.P., 2009 NY Slip Op 07946 (App. Div., 1st, 2009)

The two actions are based on the same transaction, namely the sale of real property, and the prior action was dismissed on the merits, and not merely because of technical pleading defects (see Heritage Realty Advisors, LLC v Mohegan Hill Dev., LLC, 58 AD3d 435 [2009], lv denied 12 NY3d 830 [2009]; Lampert v Ambassador Factors Corp., 266 AD2d 124 [1999]). Even though this Court, in granting defendant Midtown's motion to dismiss the complaint in the prior action, did not state that it was dismissing the action on the merits (32 AD3d 294 [2006]), an examination of our ruling clearly demonstrates that the claims were dismissed on the merits (see Feigen v Advance Capital Mgt. Corp., 146 AD2d 556, 558 [1989]).

Contrary to plaintiff's contention, this Court's subsequent order denying its motion to, inter alia, vacate the judgment of dismissal (47 AD3d 463 [2008], lv dismissed 11 NY3d 801 [2008]), has preclusive effect for purposes of res judicata, especially since it resulted in the reentry of the judgment of dismissal. This Court's ruling that plaintiff "fails to show fraud in the underlying transaction" (47 AD3d at 464), was not mere dicta and acts as a bar to plaintiff's claim of willful and deliberate breach of the contract (see O'Brien v City of Syracuse, 54 NY2d 353, 357-358 [1981]). Indeed, the claims are based on the same alleged misconduct, namely, defendants' failure to provide documents on an oil spill near the subject property and information regarding the nonexistence of certain exhibits referenced in the contract of sale. With respect to plaintiff's claims that it is entitled to specific performance because it cancelled the contract as a result of defendants' alleged willful and deliberate misconduct and because its attorney did not have the authority to cancel the contract, those claims are barred under the doctrine of res judicata because they could have been raised in the prior action (see Fifty CPW Tenants Corp. v [*2]Epstein, 16 AD3d 292, 293-294 [2005]).

Because plaintiff had reviewed the documents illustrating defendants' alleged fraud prior to commencing the first action, it cannot elude issue or claim preclusion "under the rubric of fraud" (Smith v Russell Sage Coll., 54 NY2d 185, 193 [1981]).

Schloss v Jones, 2009 NY Slip Op 08207 (App. Div., 2nd, 2009)

The doctrine of res judicata operates to preclude the reconsideration of claims actually litigated and resolved in a prior action, as well as claims for different relief against the same party which arise out of the same factual grouping or transaction, and which should have or could have been resolved in the prior action (see Mahler v Campagna, 60 AD3d 1009, 1011; Matter of Kafka v Meadowlark Gardens Owners, Inc., 34 AD3d 676, 677). In the instant action, the plaintiff sets forth the same allegations that were or could have been resolved in a prior action. Accordingly, the Supreme Court properly granted that branch of the defendants' motion which was to dismiss the complaint as barred by the doctrine of res judicata (see QFI, Inc. v Shirley, 60 AD3d 656, 657; Lefkowitz v Schulte, Roth & [*2]Zabel, 279 AD2d 457; Pappas v Cerrone, 281 AD2d 608).

The bold is mine.

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