Category Archives: Res Judicata

A Matter Judged: Subrogating Insurers Should Beware of Prior Suits Involving the Insured

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In New Jersey Mfrs. Ins. Co. v. Lallygone LLC, No. A-2607-22, 2024 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 120, the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey (Appellate Division) considered whether New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Company (the carrier) could bring a subrogation action after its insured, Efmorfopo Panagiotou (the insured), litigated and tried claims related to the same underlying incident with the same defendant, Lallygone LLC (the defendant). The Appellate Division affirmed the trial court’s finding that the prior lawsuit extinguished the carrier’s claims. Continue reading

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Construction Defect

In Connecticut, Contractors and Subcontractors are Presumptively in Privity for Res Judicata Purposes

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While pursuing contractors and subcontractors separately can oftentimes be a strategic move in subrogation cases involving construction defects, attorneys must be aware that proceeding in a piecemeal fashion may result in claim preclusion in the later cases. In the case of Girolametti v. Michael Horton Assocs., 2019 Conn. LEXIS 172, 2019 WL 2559548, the Supreme Court of Connecticut considered whether the issuance of an arbitration decision involving the general contractor precluded subsequent claims against subcontractors who worked on the same project. The court held that, because the subcontractors were presumptively in privity with the general contractor for purposes of res judicata and there were no facts requiring the court to depart from that presumption, the doctrine of res judicata applied and precluded the plaintiff’s claims against the subcontractors. Continue reading

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New Jersey’s Entire Controversy Doctrine: A Cautionary Tale for Insurers

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In Franklin Mut. Ins. Co. v. Castle Restoration & Constr., Inc., 2016 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 2300 (App. Div. Oct. 20, 2016), the Appellate Division of the Superior Court affirmed the dismissal of a subrogating property insurer’s claim based on New Jersey’s entire controversy doctrine, a doctrine that requires a party to litigate all aspects of a controversy in a single legal proceeding. Although the decision is unpublished and based on the specific factual circumstances of the case, the decision sends a cautionary reminder to insurers involved in a declaratory judgment action that they should not wait for the declaratory judgment action to be decided before taking action to protect their subrogation rights.

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