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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Dismissal Based on Claim Splitting or Res Judicata

by Gregory Williams, Esq. |  Under Washington State law, what are the requirements for dismissal based on claim splitting? Here's my point of view (NOTE: please read our DISCLAIMER before proceeding).


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 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.


If you would like to learn more, then consider contacting an experienced Washington State Employment Discrimination Attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case. Please note: the information contained in this article is not offered as legal advice and will not form an attorney-client relationship with either this author or Williams Law Group, PS; please see our DISCLAIMER.

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