Hinkle was driving a taxi that
was involved in an accident with a car owned by Smith and driven by
Hinkle successfully sued
Carter for the damage to the taxi and loss of revenue. The case was over.
Later Hinkle sued Smith and
Carter again, but this time for personal injuries suffered during the
Carter argued that the
completion of the earlier case barred Hinkle from suing again for
The Trial judge permitted
the case to go forward.
The Trial Court found for
Hinkle and awarded him another $1k for personal injuries. Carter
The Appellate Court affirmed
the decision to have a second case.
The question was whether a
single tort, resulting in damage to both person and property can give
rise to two distinct causes of action,
and does recovery for one bar subsequent action on the other.
The Appellate Court noted
that the courts have been split on this issue, with a slight majority
feeling that there is only one cause of action, and therefore a second suit would be barred
on the basis of claim preclusion (aka res judicata).
The single cause of action
rule helps to unclog courts from needless litigation and reduce the
burden on defendants. (See Vasu v. Kohlers, Inc. (145 Ohio St. 321 (1945))).
aka the primary rights
On the other hand,
different evidence may be required to support different claims, so it is
unfair to the plaintiff for them to try to support all of their claims
in a single action (See Brundsen v. Humphrey (L.R. 14 Q.B.D. 141 (1884))).
aka the single wrongful
For example, personal
injuries claims go away if the plaintiff dies, but property damage
claims are assignable to the plaintiff's heirs.
Restatement of Torts §24 suggests a pragmatic approach, focusing on
whether the facts are closely connected in "time, space, origin, or
motivation," and whether "if taken together, they form a
convenient unit for trial purposes."
aka the transactional
In this case, the Appellate Court
basically agreed with Brundsen, saying that the plaintiff is permitted to unite both claims in
the same action, but they are not compelled to do so.