After discovery was complete, expert witness disclosure deadlines passed, and summary judgment briefing was complete, plaintiff sought to amend his lawsuit for racial discrimination and retaliation under Title VII to add violations of the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the? Fair? Labor? Standards? Act? (FLSA).?? The district court denied leave, granted partial summary judgment to the employer, and dismissed the remaining claims for failure to exhaust claims through the EEOC.? Plaintiff then filed a second lawsuit alleging his FMLA and FLSA claims, which the trial court dismissed on res judicata grounds. While recognizing the specific allegations as different, the Court of Appeals nevertheless affirmed holding the two suits ?share a common nucleus of operative fact? (i.e., the job termination) and ?involve the same overall harms and primary rights.?? Apparently a matter ?of? first ?impression ?in ?this? circuit, ?the Court held that res judicata bars filing of claims denied on a prior leave to amend because of dilatoriness. ?The Court also remarked that the plaintiff?s? ignorance? of? his? FMLA? and? FLSA claims when he filed his initial Complaint ?does not …avoid the bar of res judicata unless the ignorance was caused by the misrepresentation or concealment of the opposing party.?Mpoyo v. Litton Electro-Optical Systems, No. 04-15047 (Dec. 5, 2005, Beezer, Kozinski, C. Carney U.S. Dist. Judge for C.D. Cal. sitting by desig.).
Claim preclusion prevents second lawsuit alleging new theories for wrongful discharge
Dec 5, 2005