In re: Sherrod et al. v. WebberAnnotate this Case
Larry Webber petitioned for a writ of mandamus to direct the circuit court to vacate his order denying his motion to dismiss an action filed against him by Donald Sherrod, Helen Sherrod, and State Farm Fire and Casualty Company ("State Farm"). The Sherrods hired Webber to paint inside their house. The Sherrods and State Farm alleged that Webber and his employees did not cover objects in the house before painting and that overspraying damaged the walls, floors, countertops, fixtures, appliances, and a number of items of personal property in the house. Donald Sherrod sued Webber in the small-claims court. Helen was not a party to the small-claims-court action. Sherrod won, and Webber paid the judgment. The Sherrods sued Webbr again, this time in Circuit Court - the only difference this time was that Helen was added as a party. In her affidavit filed for the circuit court action, Helen Sherrod stated that State Farm paid them "for damage to the flooring, walls and interior of the home. State Farm did not pay us for the damage to any of the personal property because the damage to the personal property [was] not covered by our policy." In response to the circuit court action, Webber moved to dismiss the complaint, asserting that the action was barred by the doctrine of res judicata and the prohibition against double recovery. The circuit court denied Webber's motion to dismiss without explaining its reasons. The Supreme Court concluded that res judicata barred the Sherrods and State Farm from bringing the circuit-court action. Accordingly, the circuit court should have granted Webber's motion for a summary judgment on all the claims against him.