GEORGE H. NASON, INDIVIDUALLY & AS TRUSTEE OF THE CHURCH STREET REALTY TRUST v. C & S HEATING, AIR, & ELECTRICAL, INC. AND O’BRIEN HEATING & AIR, INC.
(Tenn. Ct. App. April 30, 2009).
Plaintiff appeals summary judgment granted on claims for breach of contract, unjust enrichment and entitlement to quantum meruit relief. The trial court dismissed the complaint based on the doctrine of collateral estoppel finding Plaintiff’s claims or rights to the same property were finally adjudicated in federal court. We affirm.
Opinion may be found at the TBA website:
“Collateral estoppel and its companion doctrine, res judicata, “promote finality in litigation in order to conserve judicial resources and to relieve litigants from the cost and vexation of multiple lawsuits.” State ex rel. Cihlar v. Crawford, 39 S.W.3d 172, 178 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2000). Although both legal principles have preclusionary effects, res judicata and collateral estoppel are not the same. Res judicata, or claim preclusion, bars a second suit on the same cause of action between the same parties and is inapplicable here. See Lee v. Hall, 790 S.W.2d 293, 294 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1990). Collateral estoppel, or issue preclusion, bars the same parties or their privies from relitigating in a second suit issues that were actually raised and determined in the former suit. Massengill v. Scott, 738 S.W.2d 629, 631 (Tenn. 1987); Crawford, 39 S.W.3d at 178-79. “Once an issue has been actually or necessarily determined by a court of competent jurisdiction, the doctrine of collateral estoppel renders that determination conclusive on the parties and their privies in subsequent litigation, even when the claims or causes of action are different.” Crawford, 39 S.W.3d at 178-79 (citing Massengill, 738 S.W.2d at 631). Collateral estoppel applies to issues of law and fact. Id. at 179. “The estoppel of a judgment or decree extends to all matters material to the decision of the case which the parties exercising reasonable diligence might have brought forward at the time. A plaintiff may not reserve a theory which supports his action for a second lawsuit.” Id. .
“A party defending on the basis of collateral estoppel has the burden of proving (1) that the issue to be precluded is identical to the issue decided in the first suit; (2) that the issue was actually litigated and decided on the merits in the first suit; (3) that the underlying judgment was final; (4) that the party against whom estoppel is asserted was a party or is in privity with a party to the first suit; and (5) that the party against whom estoppel is asserted had a full and fair opportunity to litigate the issue now sought to be precluded.”Id. .