Cromwell v. County of Sac,
94 U.S. 351 (1876)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Cromwell v. County of Sac, 94 U.S. 351 (1876)

Cromwell v. County of Sac

94 U.S. 351


1. The difference between the effect of a judgment as a bar or estoppel against the prosecution of a second action upon the same claim or demand and its effect as an estoppel in another action between the same parties upon a different claim or cause of action, stated. In the former case, the judgment, if rendered upon the merits, constitutes an absolute bar to a subsequent action. It is a finality as to the claim or demand in controversy, concluding parties and those in privity with them, not only as to every matter which was offered and received to sustain or defeat the claim or demand, but as to any other admissible matter which might have been offered for that purpose. But where the second action between the same parties is upon a different claim or demand, the judgment in the prior action operates as an estoppel only as to those matters in issue or points controverted, upon the determination of which the finding or verdict was rendered.

2. In an action against a county in Iowa upon certain interest coupons originally attached to bonds issued by the county for the erection of a courthouse, it was found and determined that the bonds were void as against the county in the hands of parties who did not acquire them before maturity for value, and inasmuch as the plaintiff in that action had not proved that he had given such value, it was adjudged that he was not entitled to recover. Held that the judgment did not estop the plaintiff, holding other bonds of the same series, and other coupons attached to the same bonds as the coupons in the original action, from showing, in a second action against the county, that he acquired such other bonds and coupons for value before maturity.

3. The finding in one action that the plaintiff therein is the holder and owner of certain coupons in suit does not estop the defendant from showing, in another action, that such plaintiff prosecuted the first action for the use and benefit of the plaintiff in the second action. The finding only establishes the fact that such plaintiff held the legal title to the coupons, which was sufficient for the purpose of the action, and was not inconsistent with an equitable and beneficial interest in another.

The action was on certain bonds and coupons thereto attached, issued by the County of Sac, in the State of Iowa. The facts are sufficiently stated in the opinion of the court. The defendant obtained judgment, and the plaintiff brought the case here.

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