It has been suggested that a judgment adverse to the plaintiff in an action against one of two alleged joint wrongdoers should bar any further action against the other, for two reasons: "First, the plaintiff has had one day in court on the issue of whether there was a joint tort or not. Secondly, it would be unfair to the defendant who won, to be subjected to a further action for contribution by the second defendant who lost, in those cases where contribution would be allowed." 5 The first reason appears to be sound in case the judgment is one which establishes the fact that the plaintiff has no cause of action against any one; the second seems to affect the justice of enforcing contribution against one who has proven that he is not a tort-feasor rather than the justice of allowing the plaintiff to proceed further against another alleged tort-feasor.
1 Likewise, a judgment against one of two or more joint converters is declared by Professor Ames to be no bar to an action against another.
2 But see, contra, Goff v. Craven, 1884, 34 Hun (N. Y. Sup. Ct.) 150.
3 Atwater v. Tupper, 1877, 45 Conn. 144; 29 Am. Rep. 674.
4 Buckland v. Johnson, 1854, 15 C. B. 145.
5 Professor Corbin, "Waiver of Tort and Suit in Assumpsit," 19 Yale Law Jour. 221, 241. And see, accord, Ferrers v. Arden, 1599, Cro. Eliz. 668; Sheldon v. Kibbe, 1819, 3 Conn. 214, 220; 8 Am. Dec. 176; City of Anderson v. Fleming, 1903, 160 Ind. 597; 67 N. E. 443; 66 L. R. A. 119, (cf. Fleming v. City of Anderson, 1905, 39 Ind. App. 343; 76 N. E. 266, 268); Emery v. Fowler, 1855, 39 Me. 326; 63 Am.
What is the effect of a judgment adverse to the plaintiff in an action against one of two successive alleged converters? Ordinarily it should not prevent further proceedings against the other, for though one is not guilty the other may be. But a judgment which establishes the fact that the first alleged converter had title should be conclusive in favor of the second.1
It is hardly necessary to say that if two joint wrongdoers or successive converters are sued separately, either for damages or for restitution, the payment of one judgment in whole or in part will operate to reduce the other pro tanto; and if the sum paid on one judgment is equivalent to the whole of the other, the latter will be extinguished.2 For the person injured is under no circumstances entitled to double satisfaction for a single injury.3