Clusiau v. Clusiau Enterprises
AZ (2010) (35)
AZ (2010) (35)
Issue- Should the ‘SUPERIOR COURT’ Allow The RE-LITIGATION of an ISSUE Already Previously Decided in ‘SMALL CLAIMS COURT.’
Rule- “COLLATERAL ESTOPPEL” PREVENTS “RELITIGATION” of an Issue That Was “Actually Litigated in a PREVIOUS PROCEEDING,” IF
1. The Parties had “A Full and Fair Opportunity and Motive to Litigate the Issue,”
2. A Valid and Final Decision On The Merits Was Entered
3. Resolution of the Issue was Essential to the Decision
4. AND The Proceedings Share a Common Identity of the Parties.
Holding- Under the Circumstances Presented (Narrow Holding), the Judgment Rendered in a “SMALL CLAIMS” Case is NOT ENTITLED to Collateral Estoppel Effect in a SUBSEQUENT ACTION in Superior Court. Issue CAN Be RE-LITIGATED In The SUPERIOR COURT.
Reasoning- Pre-Trial Procedures Available to Parties in SMALL CLAIMS COURT Are SCANT, Not Provided with a Full Opportunity.
Rule- Where a COUNTERCLAIM EXCEEDING the “JURISDICTIONAL LIMIT” of the SMALL CLAIMS COURT is Filed, the Matter is “AUTOMATICALLY TRANSFERRED” to the Justice Court or Superior Court.
Not Moving The Case Out of Small Claims Initially for Full Procedures- Does Not Constitute WAIVER of Possible Jurisdictional REMOVAL or Possible RE-LITIGATION.Exception!- Clusiau Relitigation Applies When Judgment is Entered AGAINST a “DEFENDANT” in Small Claims Court. Thus, The Clusiau Option to RE-LITIGATE an ISSUE in the JUSTICE COURT or SUPERIOR COURT May NOT Apply when the Small Claims Judgment is ADVERSE to the PLAINTIFF in the Case. PLAINTIFF May NOT Be Able to RE-LITIGATE Issue.