Bland v. Roberts
Civ Pro Exam Questions

13(a) sua sponte

Sorry about the delay in posting lately - I had a deadline. Trevor Johnson (whose wife just had a baby and so won't be reading this) had the following question:

May a court dismiss an independent suit sua sponte if the suit was one that should have been brought as a compulsory counterclaim to an ongoing suit? 

A similar question was asked last year concerning claim preclusion. My response was that I didn't know but that since claim preclusion protects courts, not just parties, against repetitive litgation, I thought they probably could. I said the same thing this time around. I was right then: Muhammad v. Oliver, 547 F.3d 874, 878 (7th Cir. 2008) (Posner, J) ("Nor was it improper for the district judge to invoke res judicata even though the defendants had failed to argue it. The doctrine is not based solely on the defendant's interest in avoiding the burdens of twice defending a suit, but is also based on the avoidance of unnecessary judicial waste." (quotation marks omitted)). The same thing can be found concerning 13(a): Thuron Industries, Inc. v. Conard-Pyle Co., 579 F.2d 633 (Cust. & Pat. Appeals 1978). Makes sense.

 

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