McFadden v. Butler, 070111 OHMISC, A1002247

Docket Nº:A1002247
Opinion Judge:Pat DeWine, Judge.
Party Name:MCFADDEN et al. v. BUTLER.
Attorney:Eric Deters & Associates and Eric Deters; and William Cunningham, for plaintiff. David Balzano, for defendant.
Case Date:July 01, 2011
Court:Municipal Court of Ohio





No. A1002247

Municipal Court of Ohio, Hamilton

July 1, 2011

Eric Deters & Associates and Eric Deters; and William Cunningham, for plaintiff.

David Balzano, for defendant.

Pat DeWine, Judge.

{¶ 1} This matter comes before the court on defendant/counterclaimant Katherine Butler's motion for partial summary judgment. At issue in this automobile-negligence case is the preclusive effect, if any, of plaintiff Guy McFadden's prior conviction for running a red light. The case presents an apparently novel issue of Ohio law: may a defendant use collateral estoppel to defeat a plaintiff's claim when the defendant has asserted a counterclaim arising out of the same facts?

{¶ 2} McFadden and Butler were involved in an auto accident at the intersection of Gilbert Avenue and Victory Parkway in Cincinnati, Ohio, on February 10, 2010. McFadden was issued a citation for the accident. A trial was held in the Hamilton County Municipal Court. According to his response to defendant's motion for summary judgment, McFadden retained an expert in accident reconstruction for his defense at a trial on the charge, and McFadden testified on his own behalf. McFadden was convicted by the trial court for failing to obey a red light in violation of Cincinnati Municipal Code 506-40. The conviction was subsequently upheld by the First District Court of Appeals. State v. McFadden (Feb 16, 2011), 1st Dist. No. C-100410.1

{¶ 3} Even before the criminal trial occurred in the municipal court, McFadden filed the instant lawsuit alleging that Butler had run the red light and negligently caused the accident. McFadden's wife also asserted a claim for loss of consortium. Butler answered and filed a counterclaim asserting that McFadden ran the light and negligently caused the accident. Butler moves for summary judgment in her capacity as defendant only.

{¶ 4} The doctrine of collateral estoppel has been explained to be a "preclusion of the relitigation in a second action of an issue or issues that have been actually and necessarily litigated and determined in a prior action." Goodson v. McDonough Power Equip. (1983), 2 Ohio St.3d 193, 195. There are two types of collateral estoppel or "issue preclusion." Offensive use of collateral estoppel "occurs when the plaintiff seeks to foreclose the defendant from litigating an issue [that the] defendant has previously litigated unsuccessfully in an action with another party." Parklane Hosiery Co....

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