Peter Wojciechowski, on his own behalf and on behalf of all other persons similarly situated, Plaintiff-Appellant,
Kohlberg Ventures, LLC, Defendant-Appellee.
and Submitted March 7, 2019 Seattle, Washington
from the United States District Court for the Northern
District of California Maria-Elena James, Magistrate Judge,
Presiding D.C. No. 3:16-cv-06775-MEJ
N. Fisher (argued), René S. Roupinian, and Jack A.
Raisner, Outten & Golden LLP, New York, New York; Gail L.
Chung, Outten & Golden LLP, San Francisco, California;
L. Thieme (argued), Littler Mendelson P.C., Seattle,
Washington; Michael F. McCabe and George J. Tichy II, Littler
Mendelson P.C., San Francisco, California; for
Before: Ronald M. Gould and Richard A. Paez, Circuit Judges,
and Janis Graham Jack, [*] District Judge.
Law / Claim Preclusion
the district court's dismissal, the panel held that claim
preclusion did not bar a claim against Kohlberg Ventures,
LLC, under the Worker Adjustment Retraining and Notification
Act because a settlement agreement approved by the bankruptcy
court in a prior class action did not release any claims
panel concluded that the parties in the bankruptcy proceeding
did not intend their settlement to extend to Kohlberg.
Accordingly, claim preclusion did not bar plaintiff's
WARN Act claim against Kohlberg. The panel remanded the case
for further proceedings.
'preclud[ing] parties from contesting matters that they
have had a full and fair opportunity to litigate, '"
the related doctrines of claim and issue preclusion
"protect against 'the expense and vexation attending
multiple lawsuits, conserv[e] judicial resources, and
foste[r] reliance on judicial action by minimizing the
possibility of inconsistent decisions.'" Taylor
v. Sturgell, 553 U.S. 880, 892 (2008) (alterations in
original) (quoting Montana v. United States, 440
U.S. 147, 153-154 (1979)). We consider here whether a prior action
brought by Plaintiff-Appellant Peter Wojciechowski against
nonparties to this case bars this action against
Defendant-Appellee Kohlberg Ventures LLC, under the doctrine
of claim preclusion. The previous action-a class
action-settled, and the court approved the settlement
agreement and closed the case. The settlement agreement
released Wojciechowski's and the class's claims
against various parties, but it explicitly did not release
any claims against Kohlberg. Kohlberg was not a party to the
that the settlement agreement-and in particular, the intent
of the settling parties-determines the preclusive effect of
the previous action. Because the settlement agreement
specifically did not release Wojciechowski's and the
class's claims against Kohlberg, claim preclusion does
not bar Wojciechowski's current claim. The district court
erred in dismissing this action, and we reverse and remand
for further proceedings.
was formerly employed by ClearEdge Power, LLC. He was
terminated without notice. Six days later, ClearEdge Power,
LLC-along with its ...