Angel v. Bullington
In Angel v. Bullington, 330 U.S. 183, 190, 67 S.Ct. 657, 661, 91 L.Ed. 832 (1947), the United States Supreme Court stated:
It is suggested that the North Carolina Supreme Court did not adjudicate the "merits" of the controversy. It is a misconception of res judicata to assume that the doctrine does not come into operation if a court has not passed on the "merits" in the sense of the ultimate substantive issues of a litigation. An adjudication declining to reach such ultimate substantive issues may bar a second attempt to reach them in another court of the State.