Cooper v. Discount Scooters Inc.
A plaintiff who presents his claims in the forum of his choice may be bound by the earlier court's judgment, if the plaintiff subsequently files the same claims in another forum. Allegedly, the plaintiff, Jeffrey Cooper, rented a scooter at Foxwoods Casino and crashed into a chair when the scooter suddenly accelerated. Cooper sued the Mashantucket Pequot Gaming Enterprise, and in 2010 the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Court granted judgment to the Gaming Enterprise and wrote, "After careful review of the security video and the testimony of all witnesses, the court concludes that it was the plaintiff's action in trying to get close to the gaming chair which caused the scooter to lurch forward initially and travel into the adjacent gaming machine chair." Cooper sued Discount Scooters Inc. in Connecticut Superior Court, and Discount Scooters moved for summary judgment. In Coca Cola Co. v. Pepsi Cola Co., a 1934 decision, a Delaware court wrote, "[A]ssuming an identity of the issues . . . a plaintiff who deliberately chooses his forum and there unsuccessfully presents his proofs is bound by such adverse judgment in a second suit involving all the identity issues already decided." The Superior Court found that res judicata or collateral estoppel applied, as a result of the judgment of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Court. Although the defendants were different, both suits alleged that the defendant was negligent. The plaintiff's claims in both suits were the same. Privity exists between Discount Scooters and the Mashantucket Pequot Gaming Enterprise, which ably represented the interests of Discount Scooters. Both courts had jurisdiction over the plaintiff's claims against Discount Scooters. The court granted Discount Scooters' motion for summary judgment.