N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 652


Double Litigation

the harassment and expense of double litigation.

(2) The second class of cases of double litigation is that where one of the parties has a just claim or defense, of which the original court has no jurisdiction, even though such court does have jurisdiction of the principal suit itself. In such a situation, the best the parties can do is to stay the proceedings in the first court and then institute ancillary proceedings in a different court in order to handle the particular claim or defense over which the first court lacks jurisdiction, and, thereafter, return to the first court to complete the procedure. The following cases are instances of these difficulties, and also show the futility of any legislative attempts to cure the situation: Adams v Camden Safe Deposit and Trust Co., 121 N. J. L. 389; Falcon B. & L. Ass'n. v Schwartz, 121 N. J. Eq. 27; Metropolitan Life Ins. Co. v Tarnowski, 130 N. J. Eq. 1; Teas v Third National Bank and Trust Co., 125 N. J. Eq. 224; Peters v Public Service Corp. of N. J., 132 N. J. Eq. 500; Freeman v Conover, 95 N. J. L. 89; Weinstein v Blanchard, 9 N. J. Mis. 113, 109 N. J. L. 332.

(3) The third category into which these cases of double litigation fall is that where one court can only do partial justice, and resort to another court is necessary to do complete justice. The following cases are instances of this situation: Hayes v Smith, 104 N. J. Eq. 146; Richman v Schwartz, 130 N. J. Eq. 495; Miller v Bond & Mortgage Guaranty Co., 121 N. J. Eq. 197; Palisade Gardens, Inc. v Grosch, 121 N. J. Eq. 240.

Perhaps the best way to make the real situation clear is to give two instances with which our courts have recently had to deal, in one of which our citizens have been forced to go before different courts seven different times in order to obtain justice, and in the other after they had gone through these five different courts, neither side had obtained justice, but the parties had been left exactly where they started in the beginning. In considering these cases, we must further bear in mind that the facts and the legal proceedings are being reduced to their lowest possible terms in order to simplify the discussion.

Example A: One Wemple and others agreed with the Goodrich Company for the latter to transfer certain judgments to them. To enforce this agreement, under our present court system, Wemple, therefore,

  • (1) Filed a bill in Chancery to compel such transfer, which Chancery decreed.  
  • (2) However, on appeal, our highest court reversed Chancery, and ordered the bill dismissed because it found jurisdiction in such a situation to lie not in Chancery but in the common law courts.  

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