Brief Fact Summary. This action stems from a prior case brought by Shelby L.P. Gas Company (Shelby) against Wanda Petroleum Company and others (Defendants) alleging various antitrust claims. Shelby alleged that defendants retaliated against it because it refused to join a price fixing conspiracy in Louisiana.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. The conclusive effect of a prior judgment may only be invoked against a party or someone in privity. A non-party will be considered in privity, or sufficiently close to a party in the prior suit, so as to justify preclusion in three situations: 1) a non-party, who has succeeded to a party’s interest in property is bound by any prior judgments against that party; 2) a non-party who controlled the original suit will be bound by the resulting judgment; and 3) federal courts will bind a non-party whose interests were represented adequately by a party in the original suit.
Issue. Should a lawsuit by Ford be precluded due to his voluntary appearance as a witness in the previous matter, and the fact that he retained Shelby’s attorney?
Held. Ford is not precluded from relitigating the same issues that were decided in the Shelby case.
In deciding issues of collateral estoppel, the the right to a full and fair opportunity to litigate an issue is, of course, protected by the due process clause of the United States Constitution.View Full Point of Law