§ 1383. In the next place, as to a Former Judgment or Verdict. A judgment may always be pleaded in bar of a subsequent suit upon the identical cause of action, although the form of the two actions be different.1 But if a defendant suffer default in an action for several debts, and the plaintiff subsequently bring an action for debts which might have been proved in the former action, the judgment will create no bar, if he can show that no evidence was given in respect of the debts forming the second cause of action.1 Yet if he offer evidence on all his causes of action, and fail in some, the judgment is conclusive with regard to all.2 The question of the identity of the two causes of action must be determined by the record; and if that state a particular cause of action as the foundation of the first suit, parol proof is not admissible to show that a different subject was in fact litigated.3
§ 1384. Where, in an action upon a joint contract, judgment has been obtained against one of the parties, it may be shown in bar of a second suit against the other or both.4 But where a judgment against one party has been obtained upon a contract which is several as well as joint, it is not a bar to a subsequent action against all parties. Nor is a judgment against all a bar to an action against one, for the obligee has by the form of the contract a right to proceed both jointly and severally against the parties, and in a legal sense the former judgment was not between the same parties, nor upon the same contract.5 A judgment with satisfaction would, however, be a complete bar.6
§ 1385. A judgment only operates as a bar where the point at issue has been determined; and if the suit be discontinued or the plaintiff be nonsuited, it will not be conclusive.7 So
1 Lord Bagot v. Williams, 3 B. & C 235; s. c. 5 D. & R. 87; Spooner v. Davis, 7 Pick. 147; Seddon v. Tutop, 6 T. R. 607; Hadley v. Green, 2 C. & J. 374. Judgment for the plaintiff in an action for instalments of interest due on a note payable in one year with interest semi-annually, will not bar a subsequent action for the principal, although it was due when the former action was commenced. Andover Savings Bank p. Adams, 1 Allen, 28 (1861). But see Parkhurst v. Sumner, 23 Vt. 538.
2 Stafford v. Clark, 2 Bing. 377; 9 Moore, 738. When the claim of a plaintiff cannot be divided, and separate actions be maintained therefor, a recovery in an action for any portion of the damages bars the entire claim. Draper v. Stouvenel, 3S X. Y. 219 (1868).
3 Campbell v. Butts, 3 Comst. 173.
4 Ward v. Johnson, 13 Mass. 148; King v. Hoare, 13 M. & W. 494; Lechmere v. Fletcher, 1 Cr. & M. 623; Mason v. Eldred, 6 Wall. 231.
5 The United States v. Cushman, 2 Sum. 426; Sheehy v. Mandeville, 6 Cranch, 253, 265; Dyke v. Mercer, 2 Show. 395; Higgens's Case, 6 Co. 45; Lechmere v. Fletcher, 1 Cr. & M. 623; King v. Hoare, 13 M. & W. 494.
6 Ibid. See, also, Lovejoy v. Murray, 3 Wall. 1, as to torts.
7 Knox v. Waldoborough, 5 Greenl. 185; Hull v. Blake, 13 Mass. 155; the cause of action in the second suit must have been directly and necessarily involved in the first suit, or that judgment will be no bar.1 So, also, the judgment must have been on the merits; and if it be on a technical defect of pleading,2 or because the court had not jurisdiction,3 or because of the temporary disability of the plaintiff to sue,4 or because the debt was not yet due,5 or on any similar ground, the judgment will not operate as a bar. The same rule applies where the judgment has been reversed.6 So, also, the judgment must have been in respect to the same property or transaction, and if this be doubtful, parol evidence may be introduced to prove it." But the question in such a case is for the jury to decide.8 If the judgment be in respect of the same property, it may sometimes be a bar, although between other parties, as where a consignor and consignee bring separate actions against a carrier, a judgment for the carrier in one suit may be a defence in the other.9
Agnew v. McElroy, 10 S. & M. 552; Johnson v. White, 13 Ib. 584; 1 Greenleaf on Evid. § 530; Bridge v. Sumner, 1 Pick. 371; Audubon v. Excelsior Ins. Co., 27 N. Y. 216.
1 King v. Chase, 15 N. H. 9; Harding v. Hale, 2 Gray, 399; Johnson v. Morse, 11 Allen, 540.
2 Hughes v. Blake, 1 Mason, 515; McDonald v. Rainor, 8 Johns. 442; Lampen v. Kedgewin, 1 Mod. 207.
3 Estill v. Taul, 2 Yerg. 467; 1 Greenleaf on Evid. § 530; Minnesota Co. v. St. Paul Co., 6 Wall. 742.
4 Dixon v. Sinclear, 4 Vt. 354.
5 New England Bank v. Lewis, 8 Pick. 113.
6 Wood v. Jackson, 8 Wend. 9.
7 1 Greenleaf on Evid. § 532; Seddon v. Tutop, 6 T. R. 608; Bridge v. Gray, 14 Pick. 55; Thorpe v. Cooper, 5 Bing. 116; Phillips v. Berick, 16 Johns. 136; Arnold v. Arnold, 17 Pick. 13; Young v. Black, 7 Cranch, 565; Henderson v. Kenner, 1 Rich. 474.
9 See Green v. Clark, 5 Denio, 497; King v. Chase, 15 N. H. 9. A judgment in a suit between consignor and consignee, for the price of goods destroyed in the freight-house of a railroad, rendered in favor of the consignee on the ground that the property never passed to him, owing to an insufficient delivery to the railroad company as carriers, does not estop the consignor to maintain a suit against the company, as carriers, for neglect to forward the goods. Finn v. Western Railroad Corporation, 102 Mass. 283 (1869).
§ 1386. What effect should be given to foreign judgments has been a question of much discussion, and of no little conflict of authority. A distinction was, however, established, though not at first generally apprehended, between the judgments of the sister American States and those of foreign nations by the Constitution of the United States. Section 1 of the 4th article of this instrument declares that full faith and credit shall be given in each State to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other State. And Congress, in pursuance of the power conferred to prescribe the manner in which such acts, records, and proceedings should be proved, and their effect, declared that when properly authenticated, they should have such faith and credit accorded them throughout the United States as they would receive in the courts of the State in which they were made.1 Prior to the Confederation, which contained a similar provision,2 the States or colonies were considered as foreign to each other; and, in accordance with what at that time was understood to be the law in England, judgments of such foreign jurisdictions were considered as merely primÔ facie evidence of debt, and open to impeachment as well upon the merits of the questions decided as in respect of the jurisdiction of the court.3 But after the provisions above mentioned, it was decided by the Supreme Court of the United States, despite some contrary rulings, that the judgments of the superior courts of the sister States must now be regarded as conclusive determinations throughout the Union of the rights and liabilities of the parties and those in privity with them.4 Whether such judgments are open to question by a plea to the jurisdiction of the courts, or by a plea of fraud, under all circumstances is doubtful; but in some cases, as where the record fails to show affirmatively that the court had jurisdiction of the cause and parties, it is held that the matter is open to inquiry.5