Trust Lawsuits Dismissed by both Ohio and Federal Courts on Res Judicata Grounds
Trust Lawsuits Dismissed by both Ohio and Federal Courts on Res Judicata Grounds

Res judicata, literally meaning "a matter [already] judged," is a prudential doctrine that is meant to ensure the finality of judgments and conserve judicial resources by protecting litigants from multiple litigation involving the same claims or issues. When one court has already resolved the merits of a case, another court will not revisit them.

Recently, Reminger attorneys Russell J. Meraglio, Jr. Franklin C. Malemud, and Timothy J. Gallagher represented an attorney who was appointed by the Cuyahoga County Probate Court to serve as successor trustee over a trust.  The removed trustee, who was also a trust beneficiary, filed a lawsuit against other beneficiaries and our attorney-Trustee client which was ultimately dismissed by the Probate Court.  The disgruntled plaintiff appealed the dismissal of his lawsuit to the Ohio Court of Appeals. While the appeal was pending, the plaintiff filed another lawsuit alleging various claims including breach of fiduciary duty against our attorney-Trustee client in Federal Court. The Federal Judge stayed the case before him pending the decision of the Ohio Court of Appeals.  Find the case details here.

In May 2021, the Ohio Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of the probate court lawsuit.  The plaintiff then requested the Federal Court lift the stay and allow his case to proceed.  Our client opposed the lift of the stay and, in the alternative, requested the Federal Court dismiss the case on numerous bases including res judicata and the Rooker-Feldman doctrine.  On August 30, 2021, the Federal Court dismissed the Plaintiff’s federal lawsuit on res judicata grounds to the great satisfaction of our client. 

Reminger attorneys represent trustees and beneficiaries in state and federal courts across Ohio and work hard to limit unnecessary and excessive litigation brought by their opponents.

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