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You Can't Sue Twice On The Same Claim

Posted by attorney Andrew Myers

Once a dispute has been considered and resolved by the courts, it is a rare day that the same issue can be taken up again. This is covered under the legal concept of res judicata. Under res judicata, a final judgment rendered by a court of competent jurisdiction on the merits of that case is final and conclusive as to the rights of the parties to that dispute, and constitute an absolute bar to a later legal action involving the same claim, demand or cause of action as between those parties. This is not to be confused with double jeopardy which is a different subject for a different guide. However, res judicata stands for the idea that there should be certainty and finality in the courts. Parties unhappy with a result in court have the option of bringing an appeal, requiring the filing of a notice of appeal during a very short notice of appeal period. Also, appeals focus on legal errors during trial. Parties can also request a retrial under very limited grounds, rarely granted. So, once an issue has been litigated and determined, the parties may not, under the doctrine of res judicata, ask the same court or another court to revisit the same issue.

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This answer is offered for informational purposes only. It is not offered as, and does not constitute, legal advice. Laws vary widely from state to state. You should rely only on the advice given to you during a personal consultation by a local attorney who is thoroughly familiar with state laws and the area of practice in which your concern lies.

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