Walker v. DayAnnotate this Case
Plaintiff Alexander Walker, Jr. appealed a superior court order dismissing his claim of conspiracy to defame on res judicata grounds after finding privity between defendant Aaron Day, and other defendants in a separate defamation action. While plaintiff’s defamation action was pending, he filed a lawsuit against defendant, alleging a claim of conspiracy to commit defamation and seeking enhanced compensatory damages. The complaint described the defamation, which provided the basis for the conspiracy claim, in much the same terms as the complaint in the separate defamation action, but also alleged facts to support the conspiracy claim. Defendant moved to dismiss the conspiracy action on the grounds of, inter alia, res judicata, arguing, in part, that he was in privity with the defamation defendants for res judicata purposes. On appeal, plaintiff argued the trial court erred by: (1) deciding the privity issue at the motion to dismiss stage; and (2) applying the First Circuit Court of Appeals’ privity standard, rather than New Hampshire precedent, to determine privity. The New Hampshire Supreme Court agreed that the trial court erred by applying the privity standard used by the First Circuit, and, therefore, vacated the trial court’s ruling and remanded.