In the context of litigation resulting from a builder's financial collapse, this case out of the Eastern District provides a close look at the "four identities of res judicata" and associated case law.  The trial court granted builder's motion to dismiss certain claims on the grounds of res judicata in light of prior consent judgments.  The court finds in this case that while the consent judgments bar particular claims against defendant Miceli Homes, they do not bar claims against individual defendant Frank Miceli because the "identity of the quality or status of the persons for or against whom the claim is made" is not met.

Court summary:

Plaintiff Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company appeals the judgment of the Circuit Court of St. Louis County in favor of defendants Frank J. Miceli, in his individual capacity and as trustee of the Frank Miceli Revocable Trust, the unknown beneficiaries of said trust, Stephen Miceli, in his individual capacity and as trustee of the Joseph J. Miceli Revocable Trust, the unknown beneficiaries of said trust, Miceli Homes, Inc. (“Miceli Homes”), Miceli Development Company, Miceli Holding Company, Masterwork Homes, Inc., and Miceli Masterwork Homes, Inc., D/B/A Miceli Custom Homes.

AFFIRMED IN PART, REVERSED IN PART, AND REMANDED.

DIVISION ONE HOLDS:

The trial court did not err by finding that the consent judgments barred Commonwealth’s Counts I-V against defendant Miceli Homes on the basis of res judicata. However, the trial court did err by finding that the consent judgments bar Counts I-V with respect to defendant Frank Miceli.

The trial court did not err by finding that Commonwealth’s Counts VII-VIII failed to state a claim.

Finally, the trial court erroneously declared and applied the law in granting judgment against Commonwealth on its motion for creditor’s bill and to pierce the corporate veil.

We remand to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

4/28/15

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