Maldonado v. Flynn

In Maldonado v. Flynn, 417 A.2d 378 (Del. Ch. 1980), Vice Chancellor Hartnett summarized the rule against claim splitting as follows: "The rule against claim splitting is an aspect of the doctrine of res judicata and is based on the belief that it is fairer to require a plaintiff to present in one action all of his theories of recovery relating to a transaction, and all of the evidence relating to those theories, than to permit him to prosecute overlapping or repetitive actions in different courts or at different times. Thus, where a plaintiff has had a "full, free and untrammeled opportunity to present his facts," but has neglected to present some of them or has failed to assert claims which should in fairness have been asserted, he will ordinarily be precluded by the doctrine of res judicata from subsequently pressing his omitted claim in a subsequent action." (Id. at 382) The Court also held: "The rule against claims splitting cannot, however, entirely deny the plaintiff an opportunity to present his facts and theory of recovery. Therefore, where it appears that plaintiff could not for jurisdictional reasons have presented his claim in its entirety in a prior adjudication, the rule against claim splitting will not be applied to bar this claim. The question whether plaintiff has impermissibly split his claim is therefore dependent on whether he is able to present it, in its entirety, in the proper forum; which must be determined from an examination of the jurisdiction of the prior forum." (id. at 383.)