The First Circuit vacated the judgment dismissing on claim preclusion grounds Plaintiff’s claims against Eastern States Exposition alleging violations of federal copyright infringement law and the U.S. Visual Artists Rights Act, holding that the district court erred.
On appeal, Plaintiff argued that the claim preclusive order gave claim preclusive effect to the dismissal in a prior action that she brought even where the dismissal rested on several grounds, not all of which would on their own render the dismissal claim preclusive. In support of her claim, Plaintiff argued that federal res judicata law recognizes the “alternative-determinations” doctrine. The First Circuit vacated the judgment dismissing the claims at issue, holding (1) the assertedly preclusive dismissal rested on one ground that, on its own, would not allow the dismissal to be claim preclusive, even though the dismissal also rested on two counts that could have; and (2) federal res judiata law recognizes the alternative-determinations doctrine, which strips a dismissal of claim preclusive effect if the dismissal rests on multiple grounds, not all of which would on their own render the dismissal claim preclusive, and the doctrine applied in this case. View “Foss v. Eastern States Exposition” on Justia Law