Once debtor litigates case in state court and a judgment is entered he or she cannot start an adversary case in bankruptcy court on the same issue. The state court judgment will stand and preclude the issue from being litigated again. In the case below, debtor had a judgment rendered against him in the Superior Court. He then filed an adversary in bankruptcy court on the same issue resulting in the dismissal pursuant to the issue preclusion doctrine.

UNITED STATES BANKRUPTCY COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
In re
BRANDI S. NAVE,
Debtor.
____________________________
KEITH BRITT,

Plaintiff,
v.
BRANDI S. NAVE,
Defendant.
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Case No. 09-00651
(Chapter 7)
Adversary Proceeding No.
09-10033
Not for publication in
West’s Bankruptcy Reporter
MEMORANDUM DECISION RE PLAINTIFF’S RESPONSE TO ORDER
TO SHOW CAUSE WHY ADVERSARY PROCEEDING OUGHT NOT BE DISMISSED
The plaintiff Britt was allowed to pursue in the Superior
Court his sanctions claims that he was asserting could be found
non-dischargeable under § 523(a)(6). The Superior Court has
ruled against Britt. Under the doctrine of res judicata (claim
preclusion), the Superior Court’s judgment bars Britt’s pursuit
of his claim in this court. Because Britt is deemed not to have
any claim, the doctrine of collateral estoppel (issue preclusion), which might (or might not) have disposed of the
§ 523(a)(6) question if the Superior Court had ruled instead that
Britt was entitled to a judgment in his favor, does not come into
play as there is no claim as to which to apply that doctrine.
In response to this court’s order to show cause why this
adversary proceeding ought not be dismissed based on the Superior
Court ruling, Britt notes that he has taken an appeal from the
Superior Court’s ruling. The law, however, is well established
that a final judgment is entitled to res judicata effect even if
an appeal is pending. If Britt prevails on appeal, he may within
a reasonable time file a motion under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 60(b)(5) to vacate the dismissal of this proceeding.1
Britt asks that the court stay this proceeding pending the
outcome of his appeal from the Superior Court’s ruling, but this
court has no desire to periodically inquire into the status of
Britt’s appeal. Instead, the burden should be on Britt to notify
this court via a timely Rule 60(b)(5) motion in the event his
appeal is successful. A judgment follows dismissing this
adversary proceeding.
[Signed and dated above.] Copies to: All counsel of record.
1 Rule 60(b)(5) provides in relevant part that a court may
relieve a party from a judgment for the reason that “the judgment
. . . is based on an earlier judgment that has been reversed or
vacated . . . .”
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