Souffront v. La Compagnie Des Sucreries - 217 U.S. 475 (1910)
U.S. Supreme Court
Souffront v. La Compagnie Des Sucreries, 217 U.S. 475 (1910)
Souffront v. La Compagnie Des Sucreries de Porto Rico
Argued April 15, 1910
Decided May 16, 1910
217 U.S. 475
Where the vendors bring an action in their own name, but to protect their vendees, such vendees, although having acquired title prior to the institution of the action, are privies thereto, and may plead the judgment in such action as res judicata; in such a case, the general rule that no one whose interest was acquired prior to the institution of the action is privy to the judgment rendered therein does not apply.
Under Spanish law, it was competent for vendors, after parting with title, to conduct a litigation in their own names for the benefit of their vendees, and therefore a judgment in such a case inures to the benefit of the vendees as between them and the defendants against whom it was rendered and their respective privies.
One who prosecutes or defends a suit in the name of another to establish and protect his own right, or who assists in the prosecution or defense of an action in aid of some interest of his own, and who does this openly to the knowledge of the opposing party, is as much bound by the judgment and as fully entitled to avail himself of it as an estoppel against an adverse party as he would be if he had been a party to the record. Lovejoy v. Murray, 3 Wall. 1.
Assertions that parties are not privies to a judgment and cannot plead it as res judicata, and that a judgment can be collaterally attacked as rendered against one insane at the time, raise questions of law, and where, as in this case, such questions are to be determined on the facts appearing in such judgments and in the pleadings, the court does not usurp the functions of the jury by determining that the contentions raised by such assertions are without merit.
The facts are stated in the opinion.