Bank v. Epstein, 10 F.3d 168, 171 (3rd Cir. 1993); Lubrizol v.
Exxon, 929 F.2d at 963; Lentz v. Mason, 32 F. Supp.2d 733, 746
(D.N.J. 1999). In this manner, the doctrine of claim preclusion
prevents a party from prevailing not only on issues that were
actually litigated in a prior suit, but also on issues it might
have but did not assert in the first action. Mars v. Nippon,
855 F. Supp. at 677 citing Gregory v. Chehi, 843 F.2d 111, 116
(3rd Cir. 1988). This is because a party may not split a cause of
action into separate grounds of recovery and raise the separate
grounds in successive lawsuits; a party must raise in a single
lawsuit all the grounds of recovery arising from a single
transaction or series of transactions that can be brought
together. Mars, Inc. v. Nippon Conlux Kabushiki-Kaisha,
58 F.3d 616, 619-620 (Fed.Cir. 1995), citing Restatement (Second) of
Judgments § 24(2) (1984) and Gregory v. Chehi, 843 F.2d at 117.
Given the difficulty in precisely defining the term "cause of
action" for purposes of res judicata, the courts in the Third
Circuit have noted that the question of whether two suits are
based on the same cause of action turns on the essential
similarity of the underlying events rather than on the specific
legal theories invoked. Lubrizol, 929 F.2d at 963; Davis v.
United States Steel Supply, 688 F.2d 166, 171 (3rd Cir. 1982),
cert. denied, 460 U.S. 1014, 103 S.Ct. 1256, 75 L.Ed.2d 484
(1983). Thus, the focal point of the court's analysis should be
"whether the acts complained of were the same, whether the
material facts alleged in each suit were the same and whether the
witnesses and documentation required to prove such allegations
were the same." Mars, 855 F. Supp. at 677 quoting United States
v. Athlone Industries, Inc., 746 F.2d 977, 984 (3rd Cir. 1984).
see Also: Logan v. Fleming Foods of Pennsylvania, Inc.,
138 B.R. 15 (E.D.Pa. 1992).
In application of all of the foregoing principles to the motion
pending in this case, we find that the plaintiff and the
defendants in this action were parties in the earlier matter and
that case was tried to verdict last year. Clearly then, the
elements of identical parties and a final judgment on the merits
are present here.
Additionally, the facts upon which this lawsuit is based are
the same as those upon which Mr. Tyler brought Action No.
97-3353. Indeed, the first action was predicated upon the
O'Neills' improper and fraudulent actions in refusing to permit
Mr. Tyler access to the corporate books and records of
Hendrickson, in not paying him the dividends to which he was
entitled and in not disclosing his 10% ownership interest in the
company in loan applications or income tax and bankruptcy court
filings. The facts underlying the present action are no
different. Plaintiff is again asserting that George O'Neill acted
improperly and fraudulently in failing to disclose to the IRS
that Mr. Tyler was a 10% owner in Hendrickson when he filed the
subchapter S election forms and income tax returns for the
corporation beginning in 1987 and in failing to provide plaintiff
with K-1 forms and his stock certificates. This conduct pre-dated
the filing of the first lawsuit and plaintiff obviously knew or
should have known then that his stock certificates had not been
issued and that the corporation had been filing its tax returns
under Subchapter S since 1987. Plaintiff therefore had the causes
of action which he raises in this suit available to him when he
filed the first action in 1997. Inasmuch as Third Circuit law
does not permit a plaintiff to split causes of action into
separate or successive lawsuits, we can reach no other conclusion
but that the doctrine of claim preclusion operates here to bar
this, Mr. Tyler's second, lawsuit. For this reason, Defendants'
motion to dismiss shall be granted pursuant to the attached
AND NOW, this 24th day of May, 1999, upon consideration of the
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint and
Plaintiff's Response thereto, it is hereby ORDERED that the
Motion is GRANTED and this case is dismissed with prejudice for
the reasons set forth in the preceding Memorandum Opinion.
AND NOW, this 24 day of May, 1999, upon consideration of
Plaintiff's Motions for Summary Judgment, to Refile His Motion to
Disqualify Schwartz, Campbell & Detweiler Nunc Pro Tunc and to
Withdraw His Motion for Partial Summary Judgment Without
Prejudice and in view of this Court's Memorandum and Order
granting Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, it is hereby ORDERED that
Plaintiff's Motions for Summary Judgment, to Refile Motion to
Disqualify and to Withdraw Motion for Partial Summary Judgment
are hereby DENIED and DISMISSED as MOOT.