2021 Georgia Code
Title 24 - Evidence
Chapter 14 - Proof Generally
Article 3 - Particular Matters of Proof
§ 24-14-42. Judgment Admissible; Effect

Universal Citation: GA Code § 24-14-42 (2021)

A judgment shall be admissible between any parties to show the fact of the rendition thereof; between parties and privies it is conclusive as to the matter directly in issue, until reversed or set aside.

(Code 1981, §24-14-42, enacted by Ga. L. 2011, p. 99, § 2/HB 24.)

Law reviews.

- For article on the effect of a conviction that is based on a nolo contendere plea, see 13 Ga. L. Rev. 723 (1979).


Editor's notes.

- In light of the similarity of the statutory provisions, decisions under former Civil Code 1910, § 5820, former Code 1933, § 38-623, and former O.C.G.A. § 24-4-42 are included in the annotations for this Code section.

Direct or indirect relitigation prohibited.

- Questions settled by a former final judgment must have been considered an end of the litigation; those questions could not be litigated in other actions, directly or indirectly. Smith v. Robinson, 214 Ga. 835, 108 S.E.2d 317 (1959) (decided under former Code 1933, § 38-623).

Issues in second suit are concluded as between parties and their privies if they were made in the first suit or if, under the rules of pleading and evidence, they could have been put in issue. Roadway Express, Inc. v. McBroom, 61 Ga. App. 223, 6 S.E.2d 460 (1939) (decided under former Code 1933, § 38-623).

Mere witness not estopped.

- While an adjudication of the same subject matter in issue in a former suit between the same parties by a court of competent jurisdiction is an end of litigation, the plaintiff was not estopped by the judgment rendered in the court of ordinary (now probate court) in a proceeding to which the plaintiff was not a party, although the plaintiff appeared as a witness therein. McAfee v. Martin, 211 Ga. 14, 83 S.E.2d 605 (1954) (decided under former Code 1933, § 38-623).

Entire record must be offered.

- When a judgment was relied on as establishing any particular state of facts it could be proved only by offering in evidence the entire proceedings in which the judgment was rendered. Cambron v. Canal Ins. Co., 246 Ga. 147, 269 S.E.2d 426 (1980), overruled on other grounds, Wright v. Young, 297 Ga. 683, 777 S.E.2d 475 (2015) (decided under former Code 1933, § 38-623).

New rule of law irrelevant.

- Judgment of the Court of Appeals, reversing a judgment of the trial court could not be set aside on motion in the trial court, upon the ground that since the rendition of the decision by the Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court, in another case, announced a rule of law contrary to the decision of the Court of Appeals. Atkinson v. Battle, 11 Ga. App. 837, 76 S.E. 597 (1912) (decided under former Civil Code 1910, § 5820).

Decree in chancery was evidence, not merely of the fact of its rendition, but also of all the consequences resulting therefrom. It may have been given in proof against persons who were not parties to the bill, in support of the plaintiff's right or title to sue. Hardwock v. Hook, 8 Ga. 354 (1850) (decided under former law).

Judgment could not be collaterally questioned by third persons, except on the ground of fraud and collusion, in the procurement of the judgment. Creditors or bona fide purchasers could attack a judgment fraudulently obtained, whenever the judgment interfered with their rights, either at law or in equity. Hammock v. McBride, 6 Ga. 178 (1849) (decided under former law).

Same parties and privies.

- Debtor's transfer of real property to the debtor's wife, a default judgment in a lawsuit, which the trustee claimed rendered the debtor insolvent, in which the wife did not participate and which was filed after the transfer did not prove the debtor's insolvency at the time of the transfer for purposes of former O.C.G.A. § 18-2-22(3); the wife's status as the debtor's wife, standing alone, did not establish privity with the debtor, and the judgment against the debtor did not bind the wife. Thurmond v. Turner (In re Turner), Bankr. (Bankr. N.D. Ga. Sept. 19, 2006) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 24-4-42).

Irregular judgment.

- Although the judgment of a court may have been irregular, still the judgment may have been given in evidence for many purposes. Bryan v. Watson, 20 Ga. 480 (1856) (decided under former law).

Consent order in previous litigation involving an insurer and insured in subsequent litigation, unreversed and not set aside, which recited that a compromise settlement release was valid according to all its terms and provisions was conclusive on the parties as to any claim under the policy. Mutual of Omaha Ins. Co. v. Morris, 120 Ga. App. 525, 171 S.E.2d 378 (1969) (decided under former Code 1933, § 38-623).

Litigation of jurisdiction.

- When in an action for divorce brought by wife, the husband appeared and filed an answer denying the allegations as to residence and also filed a plea to the jurisdiction, the question as to jurisdiction was necessarily litigated despite the fact that he had not appeared to defend the action in person, and the result was binding on the husband, in the absence of fraud, accident, or mistake, unmixed with negligence on his part. Johnson v. Johnson, 188 Ga. 800, 4 S.E.2d 807 (1939) (decided under former Code 1933, § 38-623).

Issue directly litigated.

- When the defendant in a trover suit sued the plaintiff therein for divorce, and the question of title to the automobile was adjudicated by a court of competent jurisdiction, without objection by either party, in the action for divorce, the judgment rendered in that case, when the issue as to the title of the automobile was directly made, was conclusive on that question in the trover case. Maddox v. Carithers, 77 Ga. App. 280, 47 S.E.2d 888 (1948) (decided under former Code 1933, § 38-623).

When custody of minor child was vested in the mother by prior judgment, until and unless it was set aside in accordance with law, it was conclusive against the father, and was res judicata in a habeas corpus proceeding by the father. Levens v. Edge, 217 Ga. 418, 122 S.E.2d 728 (1961) (decided under former Code 1933, § 38-623).

Res judicata in criminal case.

- Court properly sustained the state's plea of res judicata and dismissed on oral motion the defendant's special plea, when the judgment pleaded in bar thereof adjudicated the issue, as the judgment so pleaded by the state had been neither reversed nor modified by any exception which the accused had taken to it, such unreversed and unmodified judgment had consequently become and was the law of the case. Seymour v. State, 210 Ga. 571, 81 S.E.2d 808 (1954) (decided under former Code 1933, § 38-623).

Evidence of original divorce decree.

- Trial court presiding over an action for modification of alimony erred in refusing to allow the introduction into evidence of the original divorce decree. Cotton v. Cotton, 272 Ga. 276, 528 S.E.2d 255 (2000) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 24-4-42).

Admissibility of civil judgment in criminal case.

- Judgment in a civil action was not admissible in a criminal action to prove any fact determined in the civil action. Flynt v. State, 153 Ga. App. 232, 264 S.E.2d 669, application for stay of execution, 449 U.S. 888, 100 S. Ct. 2960, 64 L. Ed. 2d 837 (1980) (decided under former Code 1933, § 38-623).


Am. Jur. 2d.

- 29A Am. Jur. 2d, Evidence, § 1277 et seq.

9A Am. Jur. Pleading and Practice Forms, Evidence, § 11.


- 32A C.J.S., Evidence § 1027.


- Judgment in favor of less than all parties to contract as bar to action against other parties, 2 A.L.R. 124.

Conviction or acquittal as evidence of facts on which it was based, in a civil action, 31 A.L.R. 261; 18 A.L.R.2d 1287.

Judgment in action on commercial paper as affecting party to the paper who was not a party to the suit, 34 A.L.R. 152.

Conclusiveness of decree assessing stockholders of insolvent corporation as against nonresident stockholders not personally served within the state in which it was rendered, 48 A.L.R. 669; 175 A.L.R. 1419.

Judgment in action for services of physician or surgeon as bar to action against him for malpractice, 49 A.L.R. 551.

Suit in one state or country to enforce a contract as regards real property therein as a bar to suit in another state or country to enforce the contract as regards the property therein, 52 A.L.R. 180.

Judgment in action for death as a bar to an action for the same death in another jurisdiction or under another statute, 53 A.L.R. 1275.

Necessity of verdict against servant or agent as condition of verdict against master or principal for tort of servant or agent, 78 A.L.R. 365.

Admissibility and effect of finding or order on claim under Workmen's Compensation Act for personal injury, in proceedings on claim for compensation for death, 88 A.L.R. 1179.

Necessity of offering in evidence the record in the prior case in support of plea or claim that former judgment is bar or res judicata, 96 A.L.R. 944.

Judgment in favor of defendant in action for personal injuries as bar to suit for death caused by such injuries, and vice versa, 99 A.L.R. 1091.

Homestead exemption as exception to rule that judgment is conclusive as to defenses which might have been but were not raised, 103 A.L.R. 934.

Extraterritorial recognition and effect, as regards marital status, of a decree of divorce or separation rendered in a state or country in which neither of the parties was domiciled, 105 A.L.R. 817; 1 A.L.R.2d 1385; 28 A.L.R.2d 1303.

Findings or order upon application for alimony pendente lite in action for divorce or separation as res judicata, 105 A.L.R. 1406.

Advantage which the original trier of facts enjoyed over reviewing court from opportunity of seeing and hearing witnesses, 111 A.L.R. 742.

Adjudication in fixing inheritance, succession, or estate tax, as conclusive for other purposes, 117 A.L.R. 1227.

Judgment against tort-feasor's insurer in action by injured person as res judicata in similar action by another person injured in same accident, 121 A.L.R. 890.

Rule of res judicata as applied to judicial construction of will, 136 A.L.R. 1180.

Judgment as conclusive as against, or in favor of one not a party of record or privy to a party, who prosecuted or defended suit on behalf and in the name of party, or assisted him or participated with him in its prosecution or defense, 139 A.L.R. 9.

Judgment for plaintiff in action in tort or contract against codefendants, as conclusive in subsequent action between codefendants as to the liability of both or the liability of one and the nonliability of the other, 142 A.L.R. 727.

Conclusiveness as to merits of judgment of court of foreign country, 148 A.L.R. 991.

Judgment in wrongful death action as res judicata in a subsequent action in same jurisdiction for the same death under same statute brought by or for benefit of statutory beneficiary whose status as such was ignored in the former action, 148 A.L.R. 1346.

Judgment for or against ward, cestui que trust, trustor, or distributee, as res judicata as to guardian, trustee, assignee for creditors, receiver, or personal representative, not a party to action or proceeding in which judgment was rendered, 162 A.L.R. 1024.

Judgment in tax case as to one period as res judicata as to another period, 162 A.L.R. 1204.

Judgment for defendant based on the statute of limitations as bar to maintenance of action in another state, 164 A.L.R. 693.

Judgment based on construction of instrument as res judicata of its validity, 164 A.L.R. 873.

Privity between cotenants for purposes of doctrine of res judicata, 169 A.L.R. 179.

Recognition as to marital status of foreign divorce decree attacked on ground of lack of domicil, since Williams decision, 1 A.L.R.2d 1385, 28 A.L.R.2d 1303.

Denial of divorce in sister state or foreign country as res judicata in another suit for divorce between the same parties, 4 A.L.R.2d 107.

Privity as between lessor or bailor and lessee or bailee of personal property as regards effect of judgment in third person's action for damages against lessee or bailee as res judicata in lessor's or bailor's subsequent action against third person for damage to the property, or vice versa, 4 A.L.R.2d 1378.

Judgment denying validity of will because of undue influence, lack of mental capacity, or the like, as res judicata as to validity of another will, deed, or other instrument, 25 A.L.R.2d 657.

Decree granting or refusing injunction as res judicata in action for damages in relation to matter concerning which injunction was asked in first suit, 26 A.L.R.2d 446.

Judgment involving real property against one spouse as binding against other spouse not a party to the proceeding, 58 A.L.R.2d 701.

Decree in suit for "separation" as res judicata in subsequent suit for divorce or annulment, 90 A.L.R.2d 745.

Judgment in spouse's action for personal injuries as binding, as regards loss of consortium and similar resulting damage, upon other spouse not a party to the action, 12 A.L.R.3d 933.

Judgment in action against codefendants for injury or death of person, or for damage to property, as res judicata in subsequent action between codefendants as to their liability inter se, 24 A.L.R.3d 318.

Liability insurer's right to open or set aside, or contest matters relating to merits of, judgment against insured, entered in action in which insurer did not appear or defend, 27 A.L.R.3d 350.

Judgment in action against seller or supplier of product as res judicata in action against manufacturer for injury from defective product, or vice versa, 34 A.L.R.3d 518.

Validity of verdict or verdicts by same jury in personal injury action awarding damages to injured spouse but denying recovery to other spouse seeking collateral damages, or vice versa, 66 A.L.R.3d 472.

Modern views of state courts as to whether consent judgment is entitled to res judicata or collateral estoppel effect, 91 A.L.R.3d 1170.

Judgment in death action as precluding subsequent personal injury action by potential beneficiary of death action or vice versa, 94 A.L.R.3d 676.

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