Civil Procedure – Judgments – Effect of Prior “Compromise” Judgment as Collateral Estoppel

In a negligence action for injuries sustained in an automobile accident, one of three successful plaintiffs was granted a new trial because damages awarded her were inadequate. In the new trial the issue of negligence was relitigated over plaintiff’s objection that the question of liability was res judicata. The jury found for the defendant and plaintiff appealed. Held, affirmed, one justice dissenting. Although the judgment in favor of the other two plaintiffs in the prior action establishing defendant’s liability has become final, this prior judgment is not res judicata. Since the judgment was entered pursuant to a verdict which was evidently a compromise among the jurors, the jury failed to determine the issue of liability. Taylor v. Hawkinson, 47 Cal. (2d) 893, 306 P. (2d) 797 (1957).