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Can I sue a company twice for the same event but for something different?

Azusa, CA |

I sued a company in small claims for breech of warranty, during the review of evidence with the Judge it was found that my claim was closer to negligence. I lost the case due to no warranty being breeched. Do I still have the option to sue for negligence?

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Attorney answers 1


You should have asked the judge if you could also proceed with your case on a negligence theory, and the judge probably would've allowed you to amend your petition at that time and would have allowed you to prove negligence. In CA. it's permissible to plead alternative theories of recovery, because often you don't know what the evidence will turn out to show before you've done discovery in your case.

You could try to sue again, but the company would probably argue "claim preclusion," that says that once a court has decided a case on its merits, that serves to decide any claim that could have been offered, even if it wasn't, so that bars any further action agaiunst the company.

Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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