Johnson v. UMG Recordings, No. 16-2943 (7th Cir. Oct. 31, 2016).
Plaintiff’s copyright infringement case against some publishers concerning samples of his song “Different Strokes” was precluded by settlement of an earlier suit, holds the 7th Circuit in affirming that the Plaintiff should have moved before the original Judge to vacate the judgment on the alleged basis of fraud rather than commencing a new action. The Appellate Court stated: “a judgment in civil litigation is not subject to collateral attack. Fraud is a basis for setting aside a judgment, but that is done by motion…in the original case rather than by separate suit.” Because the plaintiff had not attempted to re-open his earlier suit, his effort to obtain collateral review was properly dismissed. The Court also noted that plaintiff was not entitled to split his claim into multiple pieces under the “merger and bar” doctrine. “He must instead litigate all closely related claims at once.”