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Case Law Update: Res Judicata in Strict Liability

Kiefer v. Rust-Oleum Corporation, No. 1-08-2879 affirmed that the res judicata element of “final adjudication on the merits” can be satisfied even where a court’s dismissal of strict liability count did not specify whether it was with or without prejudice, and where plaintiff was granted leave to file amended complaint. Examination of hearing transcripts, including court’s consideration that Canada courts (where Plaintiff resided and where accident occurred) did not allow strict liability, and that Canadian law should apply to bar strict liability count. Plaintiff voluntarily dismissed remaining negligence count per Section 2-1009, and then re-filed negligence count within year, but re-filed Complaint was barred by res judicata, per Supreme Court holding in Hudson v. City of Chicago. This Illinois case will affect areas such as product liability cases.

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