Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A Res Judicata Case and a Teaching Tool

The Fifth Circuit handed down Norris v. Hearst Trust last week in which the court affirmed dismissal of the plaintiffs' breach of contract and wrongful termination suit on res judicata grounds.  The key issue was whether in the prior suit the state court had rendered a final judgment before the plaintiffs nonsuited their case.  The facts of the case raise some very testable issues on a first-year exam.  What's the effect of an oral rendition when the court simultaneously announces its intent to later memorialize the judgment.  What's the date of the judgment when an otherwise final judgment is later "corrected"? --Counseller

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