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Identity of Causes of Action and Relief-Generally

Abatement is either a stay or a dismissal of a suit[i].  In common law, abatement is dismissal of a suit whereas in equity; abatement is suspension of a suit[ii].  Abatement is the complete extinguishment of a cause of action[iii].  The purpose of abatement is to save the time and expense of a trial when the suit of the plaintiff cannot be maintained in the form it was originally presented.

The essential requisites of the plea or defense of another action pending are:

  • Both suits must be based on the same or substantially same cause of action[iv];
  • Both actions must arise out of the same transaction[v];
  • Causes need not be identical, but a substantial similarity is required[vi]
  • Both actions must assert the same rights, demand the same relief, and be founded on the same facts[vii];
  • Whether a judgment in the first action will be conclusive on the parties with matters involved in the second[viii].

[i] Dillard v. Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc., 961 F.2d 1148 (5th Cir. Tex. 1992)

[ii] Baer v. Fahnestock & Co., 565 F.2d 261 (3d Cir. Pa. 1977)

[iii] State ex rel. J.E. Dunn, Jr. & Associates, Inc. v. Schoenlaub, 668 S.W.2d 72 (Mo. 1984)

[iv] Weaver v. Early, 325 N.C. 535 (N.C. 1989)

[v] Catalano v. Aetna Casualty & Surety Co., 105 Ill. App. 3d 195 (Ill. App. Ct. 2d Dist. 1982)

[vi] Hartley v. Coker, 843 S.W.2d 743 (Tex. App. Corpus Christi 1992)

[vii] Haytian Republic, 154 U.S. 118 (U.S. 1894)

[viii] United States v. A. H. Fischer Lumber Co., 162 F.2d 872 (4th Cir. S.C. 1947)

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