Superior Court Grants Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Based on Doctrine of Res Judicata
Best Drywall Inc. v. Feeheley, C.A. No. 03C-04-005 (Del. Super. Ct. Jan. 6, 2005)
The plaintiff brought an action against a former officer for fraud, unjust enrichment, and breach of fiduciary duty. The defendant moved to dismiss based on doctrine of res judicata because a similar case had been brought and dismissed for failure to prosecute in the Court of Chancery. The Superior Court granted the motion to dismiss.
Best Drywall sued a former vice president, Garey Feeheley, for fraud, unjust enrichment, and breach of fiduciary duty after it was suspected that he was siphoning off projects, resources, employees and profits from Best Drywall. In particular, Feeheley asked a secretary to change the name on invoices from Best Drywall to GDF Enterprises. Initially, Best Drywall brought an action in the Court of Chancery for breach of a noncompetition agreement. Prior to the Superior Court action being brought, the Court of Chancery action was dismissed for lack of prosecution. Considering the defendant's motion to dismiss, the Superior Court determined that the theories of liability were different, but both cases arose from the same operative facts. Accordingly, the court dismissed the claims against Feeheley pursuant to the doctrine of res judicata.
The court refused to dismiss the case against GDF Enterprises because it had not been a party to the original action in the Court of Chancery.
Jason C. Jowers