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O’Brien v. City of Syracuse

Court of Appeals of New York
429 N.E.2d 1158 (1981)


Facts

O’Brien and one or more other persons (plaintiffs) sued the City of Syracuse and one or more other parties (defendants), alleging an unlawful taking of real property without just compensation. After a nonjury trial, the court dismissed plaintiffs’ suit for failure to establish a de facto taking. That decision was affirmed on appeal. Later, plaintiffs filed a second suit in which they alleged essentially the same facts but also that their property had been taken by tax deed and that recovery was warranted because defendants trespassed upon and damaged that property. Defendants moved to dismiss the complaint on the basis of res judicata, among other grounds. Citing Smith v. Kirkpatrick, 111 N.E.2d 209 (N.Y. 1953), the trial court ruled that the suit was not barred by res judicata because the subsequent cause of action involved substantially different elements of proof compared to the prior suit. The Appellate Division reversed. Plaintiffs appealed.

Rule of Law

The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision.

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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