The theory of dismissal based upon claim splitting is “variously referred to as res judicata or splitting causes of action.” Landry v. Luscher, 95 Wn.App. 779, 783, 976 P.2d 1274 (1999); See also, Sound Build Homes, Inc. v. Windermere Real Estate/ South, Inc., 118 Wn.App. 617, 628, 72 P.3d 788 (Wash.App. Div. 2 2003) (theory on which dismissal is granted is variously referred to as res judicata or splitting causes of action) (hyperlink added). Thus, the rules of res judicata are typically applied to determine if improper claim splitting has occurred. However, the Washington State Supreme Court has been abundantly clear: “res judicata does not bar claims arising out of different causes of action, or intend to deny the litigant his or her day in court.” Hisle v. Todd Pacific Shipyards Corp., 151 Wn.2d 853, 865, 93 P.3d 108 (Wash. 2004) (hyperlink added).
DISMISSAL BASED ON RES JUDICATA
Dismissal on the basis of res judicata is inappropriate unless the subsequent action is identical with a prior action in four respects: (1) persons and parties; (2) cause of action; (3) subject matter; and (4) quality of the persons for or against whom the claim is made. Landry v. Luscher, 95 Wn.App. at 783 (internal citations omitted). This res judicata test is a conjunctive one requiring satisfaction of all four elements. Hisle v. Todd Pacific Shipyards Corp., 151 Wn.2d at 866.
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