claims in both federal and state forums arising from his loss of staff privileges. In that case, the plaintiff had not filed a state antitrust claim in his prior state action, but rather added it by amending his complaint in the District Court. Nanavati v. Burdette Tomlin Memorial Hosp., 645 F.Supp. 1217, 1229, n. 22 (D.N.J. 1986). The Nanavati defendants sought dismissal on the theory of claim preclusion, arguing that in effect: 1) under the entire controversy doctrine plaintiff should have been required to bring his state antitrust claims in the prior state court action; 2) because he failed to do so such claims are barred by New Jersey's law of claim preclusion; and 3) because the New Jersey antitrust statute is virtually identical to the relevant sections of the Sherman Act, plaintiff's Sherman Act claims should be barred in the federal action as well.
Relying on the Supreme Court's decision in Marrese v. American Academy of Orthopaedic. Surgeons, 470 U.S. 373 (1985),
the Third Circuit disagreed. In a very detailed analysis, the Court rejected the argument primarily, if not entirely, because it found a jurisdictional requirement for claim preclusion. The Court stated:
Because we determine that New Jersey claim preclusion does not apply to claims over which the initial New Jersey court lacked jurisdiction, i.e., to claims which could not have been brought in New Jersey state court, we need not reach the factual question whether the factual nexus of Nanavati's federal antitrust claim is sufficiently related to the claims tried in state court that New Jersey's res judicata-based "entire controversy doctrine" would apply. Nanavati v. Burdette Tomlin Memorial Hosp., 857 F.2d 96 (3d Cir. 1988).
Because Nanavati is controlling here, plaintiff's Sherman Act claims are not barred by claim preclusion.
IV. Issue Preclusion
The preclusive effects of former adjudications include not only the doctrine of claim preclusion (res judicata), but also an analogous doctrine once known as collateral estoppel and now known as issue preclusion.
Unlike claim preclusion, which applies to any claims that could have been brought in the prior action, Watkins 591 A.2d at 599, issue preclusion applies only to bar relitigation of those issues that were actually litigated in the first suit. Restatement (Second) of Judgments, § 27 (1982) (Issue preclusion applies "When an issue of fact or law is actually litigated . . ."); Pittman, 756 F.Supp at 841; Allesandra v. Gross, 187 N.J. Super. 96, 103, 453 A.2d 904, 907 (App.Div. 1982).
Unlike the state court action in Nanavati, in which no antitrust issue was raised, plaintiff here filed state antitrust claims in his state court action. Additionally, Judge Gottlieb necessarily decided that case on the merits when he granted summary judgment for the defendants and dismissed the complaint with prejudice. See In Re Brown, 951 F.2d at 569.
The Third Circuit has described New Jersey's antitrust statute as being "virtually identical to that of federal law," and noted further that the statute itself provides that it should be construed "in harmony with ruling judicial interpretations of comparable Federal antitrust statutes." Nanavati, 857 F.2d at 111. The events and conduct on which Dr. Untracht bases his allegations of anti-competitive and predatory conspiracy are the same for both sets of pleadings. Because of the similarity, if not exact duplication, of both the underlying facts and legal theories, this Court finds that Judge Gottlieb's summary judgment ruling for defendants in the state court action has necessarily decided the operative issues here. Accordingly, plaintiff is barred from attempting to relitigate in this court precisely the same antitrust issues decided in the state court action.
In opposition to this motion, the plaintiff has argued extensively that Judge Gottlieb's decision below was in error for a variety of reasons. This court does not sit as an appellate court for the New Jersey trial courts, so whatever errors may have been made in the state court can be addressed only in the state appellate courts. Moreover, whether a judge in a prior action ruled correctly or incorrectly has no independent bearing on the applicability of claim or issue preclusion.
For the reasons explained above all of the claims asserted by plaintiff in this action are precluded by the judgment previously rendered in the state court action decided by Judge Gottlieb. The court will enter an appropriate order.
JOSEPH E. IRENAS
DATED: September 10th, 1992
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT - September 10, 1992, Filed
IRENAS, District Judge
The above matter having been brought before the Court on motion of defendants for summary judgment pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c) and sanctions and attorney fees under Rule 11, and the Court having read the papers in support and opposition to the motion, for the reasons set forth in an opinion on even date herewith,
IT IS on this 10th day of September, 1992 ORDERED that:
1. Defendants' motion for summary judgment is GRANTED;
2. Defendants' motion for sanctions and attorney fees is DENIED.
Joseph E. Irenas