This section is from the book "The Law Of Contracts", by William Herbert Page. Also available from Amazon: Commercial Contracts: A Practical Guide to Deals, Contracts, Agreements and Promises.
In order to operate as a merger, the judgment which is rendered in the first action must be based upon the same cause of action as that which is set forth in the second action.1 If the causes of action are separate and distinct, merger does not exist,2 even although such causes of action might have been joined in the first action.3 If the two causes of action are based on distinct contracts, a judgment in the first action can not operate as a merger of the second cause of action, although the two contracts are connected in some way.4 A judgment which is rendered upon an official bond for one term, does not operate as a merger of an official bond given by the same official for another term, because the cause of action on the second bond is a distinct cause of action from that on the first bond.5 A judgment on an account stated does not merge an action by the creditor against the debtor, based upon his promise to pay certain notes, for the amount of which the creditor had given credit to the debtor in stating such account.6 If a promissory note has been given for a part of an account, the rendition of judgment upon such note does not operate as a merger of the entire account.7
1 Q. B. 781; McLeod v. Power , Ch. 295.
United States. Mason v. Eldred, 73 U. S. (6 Wall.) 231, 18 L. ed. 783. [Obiter, as decided under a statute which prevented the effect of merger. Overruling, Sheehy v. Mandeville, 10 U. S. (6 Cranch.) 263, 3 L. ed. 215]; Sessions v. Johnson, 95 U. S. 347, 24 L. ed. 596 (obiter).
New Jersey. Coles v. McKenna, 80 N. J. L. 48, 76 Atl. 344.
Ohio. Sloo v. Lea, 18 Ohio 279.
Oregon. Anderson v. Stayton Stat Bank, 82 Or. 357, 159 Pac. 1033.
Wisconsin. Lauer v. Bandow, 48 Wis 638, 4 N. W. 774.
6 See Sec. 2074 and 2456.
7 Finch v. Galigher, 181 111. 625, 54 N. E. 611; Bute v. Brainerd, 93 Tex. 137, 53 S. W. 1017.
8 General Film Co. v. Sampliner, 252 Fed. 443.
9 Commonwealth v. Harkness' Administrator, 181 Ky. 709, 205 S. W. 787.
10 Kryptok Co. v. Stead Lens Co., 190 Fed. 767, 39 L. R. A. (N.S.) 1.
1 United States. Horner v. Hamner, 249 Fed. 134, L. R. A. 1918E, 465.
Alabama. Ebersole v. Daniel, 146 Ala. 506, 119 Am. St. Rep. 52, 40 So. 614.
Arizona. Brady v. Pinal County, S Ariz. 114, 71 Pac. 910.
Arkansas. Troxler v. Wilson, 133 Ark. 216, 202 S. W. 819; Rosselot v.
Green & Lawrence Drainage District,
- Ark. - 207 S. W. 21ft. Colorado. Gibbs v. Security Trust &
Savings Bank, - Colo. - , 176 Pac. 827.
Connecticut. Viall v. Lionel Manufacturing Co., 90 Conn. 694, 98 Atl. 329.
Indiana. Chicago & S. E. Ry. v. Yaw-ger, 24 Ind. App. 460, 56 N. E. 50.
Kansas. Garden City v. Merchants' and Farmers' National Bank, 65 Kan. 345, 93 Am. St. Rep. 284, 69 Pac. 325.
Michigan. Kimmerle v. Lowitz, - Mich. - , 169 N. W. 857.
Minnesota. Przyblyski v. Pellowski, 141 Minn. 193, 169 N. W. 707.
Missouri. Baumhoff v. St. Louis & Kirkwood Railroad Co., 205 Mo. 248, 120 Am. St. Rep. 745, 104 S. W. 5.
New York. Townsley v. Niagara Life Ins. Co., 218 N. Y. 228, 112 N. E. 924.
North Dakota. Kallberg v. Newberry
- N. D. - , 170 N. W. 113. Oklahoma. Akin v. Bonfils, - Okla.
- , 169 Pac. 899.
Texas. Jones v. Gammel Statesman Publishing Co., 100 Tex. 320, 8 L. R. A (N.S.) 1197, 99 S. W. 701. A judgment for damages caused by cattle trespassing merges the cause of action and bars the owner from enforcing such damages in a subsequent action by the owner of the cattle to replevin them. Brown v. Calvert, 57 Okla. 364, 157 Pac. 284.
2 United States. Horner v. Hamner, 249 Fed. 134, L. R. A. 1918E, 465.
Arkansas. Rosselot v. Green & Lawrence Drainage District, - Ark. - , 207 S. W. 219.
Michigan. Kimmerle v. Lowitz, - Mich. - , 169 N. W. 857. A decree of divorce which makes no provision for alimony does not merge a contract of separation which provides for the support of the wife as long as the separation should continue. Hertz v. Hertz, 136 Minn. 188, 161 N. W. 402.
North Dakota. Kallberg v. Newberry, - N. D. - , 170 N. W. 113.
Oregon. Still well v. Hill, 87 Or. 112, 169 Pac. 1174.
3 Akin v. Bonfils, - Okla. - , 169 Pac. 899.
4 Brady v. Pinal County, 8 Ariz. 114, 71 Pac. 910; Kimmerle v. Lowitz, - Mich. - , 169 N. W. 857.
5Brady v. Pinal County, 8 Ariz. 114, 71 Pac. 910.
6 Kimmerle v. Lowitz, - Mich. - , 169 N. W. 857.
7Ebersole v. Daniel, 146 Ala. 506, 119 Am. St. Rep. 52, 40 So. 614.
If the plaintiff may elect between tort and contract,8 he may sue on either theory, but he can not recover on both at once; and a judgment rendered in an action on either theory operates as a bar or merger as to such cause of action,9 and he can not thereafter maintain another action upon such cause of action by electing to treat it as of a different nature from the theory advanced in the original action.