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Dindo v. Whitney

United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
451 F.2d 1 (1st Cir. 1971)


Facts

Dindo (plaintiff) was injured in a car accident that occurred while he was driving a vehicle owned by Whitney (defendant). Allegedly, the vehicle left the road after Whitney attempted to reach a flashlight by placing his hand through the steering wheel as Dindo drove. The accident occurred in 1965, and Dindo brought a timely action against Whitney to recover damages for his injuries in 1968. However, prior to this action, Whitney sued Dindo in 1966 to recover for his own injuries sustained in the same accident. The same insurance policy covered both Dindo, as the driver, and Whitney, as the vehicle owner. Thus, the insurer defended Dindo in the original action, and he did not retain counsel of his own. He was unaware of his right to bring a counterclaim against Whitney in the original suit, and he did not do so. The insurance company settled the original case with Whitney. Dindo then retained his own attorney, and brought the present action against Whitney. On appeal, Dindo argued that the compulsory counterclaim rule should not apply to bar his claim against Whitney because the original action was settled, instead of disposed of upon final judgment, and because he was unaware that he was entitled to file a counterclaim until later.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Aldrich, C.J.)

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