Same - Discharge By Judgment

267. The right of a party to sue for breach of contract is discharged by the final judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction either in his favor or against him. In the former case the cause of action merges in the judgment, while in the latter the judgment estops him.77

When the party entitled to sue for the breach of a contract made with him brings an action in a court'of competent jurisdiction, and recovers a judgment, his right of action is thereby discharged. It merges in the judgment.78 The result of legal proon account. Fuller v. Kemp, 138 N. Y. 231, 33 N. E. 1034, 20 L. R. A. 785; Nassoiy v. Tomlinson, 148 N. Y. 326, 42 N. E. 715, 51 Am. St Rep. 695; Laroe v. Dairy Co., 87 App. Div. 585, 84 N. Y. Supp. 609 (cf. Mack v. Miller, 87 App. Div. 359, 84 N. Y. Supp. 440); Anderson v. Granite Co., 92 Me. 429, 43 Atl. 21, 69 Am. St. Rep. 522; Rosema v. Porter, 112 Mich. 13, 70 N. W. 316; Lapp v. Smith, 183 I11. 179, 55 N. E. 717; Hull v. Johnson, 22 R. I. 60, 46 Atl. 182; Talbott v. English, 156 Ind. 299, 59 N. E. 857. And see Preston v. Grant, 34 Vt. 201. See "Accord and Satisfaction." Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) § 10; Cent. Dip. §§ 67-74.

74 HARRISON v. HENDERSON, 67 Kan. 194. 72 Pac. 875, 62 L. R. A. 760, 100 Am. St. Rep. 386, Throckmorton Cas. Contracts, 418; Canadian Fish Co. v. McShane, 80 Neb. 551, 114 N. W. 594, 14 L. R. A. (N. S.) 443, 127 Am. St. Rep. 791; Kingsville Preserving Co. v. Frank, 87 I11. App. 586. See "Accord and Satisfaction," Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) § 10; Cent. Dig. §§ 67-74.

75 HARRISON v. HENDERSON, 67 Kan. 194, 72 Pac. 875, 62 L. R. A. 760, TOO Am. St. Rep. 386, Throckmorton Cas. Contracts, 418; ante, p. 164 See "Accord and Satisfaction," Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) § 10; Cent. Dig. §§ 67-74.

76 Ante, pp. 161-164.

77 Anson, Cont. (4th Ed.) 315, 316.

78 Mason v. Eldred, 6 Wall. 231, 18 L. Ed. 783; Smith v. Black, 9 Serg. & R. (Pa.) 142, 11 Am. Dec. 686; Bank of North America v. Wheeler, 28 Conn. 433, 73 Am. Dec. 683; Miller v. Covert, 1 Wend. (X. Y.) 487; Bendernagle v. Cocks, 19 Wend. (N. Y.) 207. 32 Am. Dec. 448; Turner v. Plowden, 5 Gill & J. (Md.) 52, 23 Am. Dec. 596; Oliver v. Holt, 11 Ala. 574, 46 Am. Dec. 228; Boynton v. Ball, 105 I11. 627; Pike v. McDonald, 32 Me. 418, 54 Am.

ceedings taken upon a broken contract may be thus summarized: The bringing of an action has not of itself any effect in discharging the right of action. Another action may be brought for the same cause in another court, and, though proceedings in such an action would be stayed, if they are merely vexatious, yet if action for the same cause is brought in a home court and in a foreign court, the fact that the defendant is being sued in the latter would not in any way affect his position in the former.79 When the action is pursued to judgment, a judgment adverse to the plaintiff discharges the obligation by estoppel. The plaintiff cannot bring another action for the same cause so long as the judgment stands.80 The matter is res judicata. The judgment may be reversed by a higher court, or a new trial granted, and the parties may be remitted to their original positions.81

An adverse judgment, in order to discharge the obligation by estopping the plaintiff from reasserting his claim, must have proceeded upon the merits of the case and must be final. Where the litigation has ended in a discontinuance or a nonsuit, or on demurrer for defect in pleading, so that an actual decision on the merits has not been reached, or the finding of a judge or referee has not passed into a judgment, and so become absolutely fixed and final, the proceedings have no conclusive character, and cannot operate as a bar.82 So, if a plaintiff fails in his action because he has sued in a wrong character, or because he sued at a wrong time, as in case of an action brought before fulfillment of a condition in the contract, such as the expiration of a period of credit on the sale of goods, - a judgment proceeding on these grounds will not prevent him from succeeding in a second action.83 It is also necessary that the judgment shall have been rendered by a court of competent jurisdiction and shall be otherwise valid.84 As has been said, if the plaintiff succeeds, and obtains judgment in his favor, the right of action merges in the judgment, and is discharged. A new obligation arises in the judgment, a form of the so-called "contract of record - a quasi contractual obligation." The obligation arising from the judgment may be discharged by payment of the judgment debt, or by satisfaction obtained by the creditor from the property of the debtor by the process of execution, or an action quasi ex contractu may be brought upon it.

Dec. 507; Barnes v. Gibbs, 31 N. J. Law, 317, 80 Am. Dec. 210. See "Judgment," Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) §§ 582-584; Cent. Dig. §§ 1079-1089.

79Hollister v. Stewart, I11 N. T. 644, 19 N. E. 782; Wood v. Gamble, 11 Cush. (Mass.) 8, 59 Am. Dec. 135; O'Reilly v. Railroad Co., 16 R. I. 388, 17 Atl. 171, 906, 19 Atl. 244, 5 L. R. A. 304, 6 L. R. A. 719; Sandwich Mfg. Co. v. Earl, 56 Minn. 390, 57 N. W. 938; McJilton v. Love, 13 I11. 486, 54 Am. Dec. 449; Smith v. Lathrop, 44 Pa. 326, 84 Am. Dec. 448; Davis v. Morton, 4 Bush (Ky.) 442, 96 Am. Dec. 309. This does not apply to actions in rem., See "Abatement and Revival;' Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) § 10; Cent. Dig. §§ 86-

101,.

80 Patrick v. Shaffer, 94 N. Y. 423; Norton v. Doherty, 3 Gray (Mass.) 372, 63 Am. Dec. 758; Winslow v. Stokes, 48 N. C. 285, 67 Am. Dec. 242;, Russell v. Place, 94 U. S. 606, 24 L. Ed. 214; Cromwell v. Sac Co., 94 U. S. 351, 24 L. Ed. 195; Nispel v. Laparle, 74 I11. 306. See "Judgment," Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) §§ 582-584; Cent. Dig. §§ 1068-10S9.

81 Clark v. Bowen, 22 How. 270, 16 L. Ed. 337; Mattingly v. Lewisohn, 13 Mont 508, 35 Pac. I11. See "Judgment," Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) § 5S0; Cent. Dig. § 102k.

82 Webb v. Buckelew, 82 N. Y. 555; Audubon v. Insurance Co., 27 N. Y. 216; Leonard v. Barker, 5 Denio (N. Y.) 220; Atkins v. Anderson, 63 lowa, 739, 19 N. W. 323; Taylor v. Larkin, 12 Mo. 103, 49 Am. Dec. 119; Gould v. Railroad Co., 91 U. S. 526, 23 L. Ed. 410; Linington v. Strong, I11 I11. 152; Gage v. Ewing, 114 I11. 15, 28 N. E. 379; Schurmeier v. Johnson, 10 Minn. 319 (Gil. 250); Haws v. Tiernan, 53 Pa. 192; Gallup v. Lichter, 4 Colo. App.