Jean-Louis v. City of Riverside (9th Cir. 2021) 850 Fed.Appx. 548

Louis Jean-Louis sued the City of Riverside, City officials, and City employees, alleging a scheme to place houses into receivership by levying excessive fines for violating City ordinances. The district court dismissed Jean-Louis’ suit on res judicata grounds, because Jean-Louis had previously settled and dismissed virtually identical claims. Jean-Louis appealed, arguing that his claims were subject to California’s “public policy exception” to res judicata.

Representing the defendants, GMSR responded that Jean-Louis had forfeited his public policy argument by failing to raise it below, that there is no “public policy exception” under governing federal law, and that in any event, Jean-Louis’ claims would not fit within California’s narrow public policy exception. The Ninth Circuit agreed. In a memorandum disposition, it found there was no reason to depart from the general practice of declining to consider new arguments on appeal, and added that even if California law applied, “we are unconvinced that this case falls within the ‘extremely narrow’ public interest exception to res judicata contemplated by California law.”

Court of Appeals Opinion – View Document