Our firm was retained to defend on a civil matter in which the Plaintiff rear-ended our client. Our client retained personal injury counsel and filed a cross-claim against the Plaintiff. At trial on October 17, 2011, the Court found for the Defendant in her own personal injury case and awarded her damages. However, the judgment entered did not reflect a special finding of negligence against the other driver.
Our case ultimately went to trial on December 7, 2011. Attorneys Andrew A. Protogyrou and Stricker C. Sanford, IV submitted a brief citing the doctrine of collateral estoppel, which precludes parties to a prior action from litigating in a subsequent action on any factual issue that was actually litigated and essential to a valid, final judgment in the prior action.
As the judgment did not reflect a specific finding of negligence against the opposing party, the Court denied our Motion to Dismiss. At the conclusion of the matter, the Court reopened and reconsidered same, specifically citing a “retraxit.” A judgment in retraxit is usually based upon and follows a settlement out of court. Where the parties to an action have settled their dispute and agreed to a dismissal such dismissal is a retraxit and amounts to a decision upon the merits.
Our firm successfully argued in a supplemental brief that the Judgment entered on October 17, 2011 was “dismissed agreed,” and second, that because it was “dismissed agreed,” retraxit should apply therefore barring Plaintiff from re-litigating a case already decided on the merits, specifically, negligence. The Court agreed, dismissing plaintiff’s case in advance of a trial on the merits.
All case results depend on a variety of factors unique to each case. These prior case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any future case.