JUSTICE O'CONNOR delivered the opinion of the Court.
This case concerns the preclusive effect of a state court judgment in a subsequent lawsuit involving federal antitrust claims within the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal courts. The Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, sitting en banc, held as a matter of federal law that the earlier state court judgments barred the federal antitrust suit. 726 F.2d 1150 (1984). Under 28 U. S. C. § 1738, a federal court generally is required to consider first the law of the State in which the judgment was rendered to determine its preclusive effect. Because the lower courts did not consider state preclusion law in this case, we reverse and remand.
Petitioners are board-certified orthopaedic surgeons who applied for membership in respondent American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (Academy). Respondent denied the membership applications without providing a hearing or a statement of reasons. In November 1976, petitioner Dr. Treister filed suit in the Circuit Court of Cook County, State of Illinois, alleging that the denial of membership in the Academy violated associational rights protected by Illinois common law. Petitioner Dr. Marrese separately filed a similar action in state court. Neither petitioner alleged a violation of state antitrust law in his state court action; nor did either petitioner contemporaneously file a federal antitrust suit. The Illinois Appellate Court ultimately held that Dr. Treister's complaint failed to state a cause of action, Treister v. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 78 Ill.App.3d 746, 396 N.E.2d 1225 (1979), and the Illinois Supreme Court denied leave to appeal. 79 Ill.2d 630 (1980). After the Appellate Court ruled against Dr. Treister, the Circuit Court dismissed Dr. Marrese's complaint.
The judgment of contempt was reversed by a divided panel of the Court of Appeals in an opinion holding that the District Judge had abused his discretion by authorizing discovery of the membership files and also suggesting that the federal action was barred by claim preclusion and that the antitrust claims were groundless. 692 F.2d 1083 (1982). This opinion was vacated by an en banc vote, and the original panel issued a narrower opinion that did not discuss claim preclusion.
On the claim preclusion issue, no opinion commanded the votes of a majority of the Court of Appeals. A plurality opinion concluded that a state court judgment bars the subsequent filing of a federal antitrust claim if the plaintiff could have brought a state antitrust claim under a state statute "materially identical" to the Sherman Act. Id., at 1153. The plurality examined the Illinois Antitrust Act, Ill. Rev. Stat., ch. 38, ¶ 60-3(2) (1981), and found that it is sufficiently similar to the Sherman Act to bar petitioners' federal antitrust claims in the instant case. Id., at 1155-1156. An opinion concurring in part concluded that res judicata required petitioners to bring their "entire cause of action within a reasonable period of time." Id., at 1166 (Flaum, J.). To avoid preclusion of their federal antitrust claim, petitioners should have either filed concurrent state and federal actions or brought their state claims in federal court pendent to their Sherman Act claim. Ibid.
Five judges also concluded that the discovery order was invalid and therefore the contempt judgment should be reversed. A plurality opinion first observed that the discovery order was invalid because the District Court should have dismissed the suit on claim preclusion grounds before the discovery order was entered. Id., at 1158. Alternatively, the order constituted an abuse of discretion because it did not adequately prevent petitioners from misusing the discovery process. Id., at 1158-1162. Three judges joined the entire discussion concerning the discovery order. A fourth judge did not believe that claim preclusion applied, but he agreed that the discovery order constituted an abuse of discretion. Id., at 1162 (Eschbach, J., concurring in part and dissenting in part). Finally, the fifth judge observed that it was sufficient
We granted certiorari limited to the question whether the Court of Appeals correctly held that claim preclusion requires dismissal of the federal antitrust action, 467 U.S. 1258 (1984), and we now reverse.
Before addressing the merits of the decision below, we first examine whether the Court of Appeals had jurisdiction to review the District Court's denial of the motion to dismiss. Although the parties did not raise the jurisdictional issue before this Court, we address it to assure that the claim preclusion issue is properly before us. See, e. g., United States v. Storer Broadcasting Co., 351 U.S. 192, 197 (1956). In the present case, the District Court initially refused to certify its denial of the motion to dismiss for immediate appeal pursuant to 28 U. S. C. § 1292(b). The District Court subsequently held respondent in criminal contempt for refusing to comply with a discovery order. Respondent then appealed from the judgment of criminal contempt pursuant to 28 U. S. C. § 1291. See Bray v. United States, 423 U.S. 73 (1975) (per curiam). While the appeal from the contempt judgment was pending, the District Court amended the earlier denial of the motion to dismiss in order to certify it for immediate appeal. App. to Pet. for Cert. I-1. The Court of Appeals authorized interlocutory appeal pursuant to § 1292(b), and ordered proceedings consolidated with the appeal from the contempt order. 726 F. 2d, at 1152; App. to Pet. for Cert. J-1.
Petitioners argued below that because the appeal from the contempt order was pending, the District Court lacked jurisdiction to amend its order denying the motion to dismiss to
Thus, prior to certification of the claim preclusion issue pursuant to § 1292(b), the contempt judgment was the only matter before the Court of Appeals. See 706 F. 2d, at 1497-1498; 692 F. 2d, at 1096. The District Court's amendment of its initial denial of the motion to dismiss did not interfere with but instead facilitated review of the pending appeal from the contempt order. We agree with the Court of Appeals, 726 F. 2d, at 1152, that the pendency of the appeal from the contempt judgment did not prevent the District Court from certifying the denial of the motion to dismiss for immediate appeal under § 1292(b). Accordingly, the Court of Appeals properly exercised jurisdiction over the consolidated appeals, and we have jurisdiction to review that court's decision with respect to dismissal of the antitrust claim.
The issue presented by this case is whether a state court judgment may have preclusive effect on a federal antitrust claim that could not have been raised in the state proceeding. Although federal antitrust claims are within the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal courts, see, e. g., General Investment
The preclusive effect of a state court judgment in a subsequent federal lawsuit generally is determined by the full faith and credit statute, which provides that state judicial proceedings "shall have the same full faith and credit in every court within the United States . . . as they have by law or usage in the courts of such State . . . from which they are taken." 28 U. S. C. § 1738. This statute directs a federal court to refer to the preclusion law of the State in which judgment was rendered. "It has long been established that § 1738 does not allow federal courts to employ their own rules of res judicata in determining the effect of state judgments. Rather, it goes beyond the common law and commands a federal court to accept the rules chosen by the State from which the judgment is taken." Kremer v. Chemical Construction Corp., 456 U.S. 461, 481-482 (1982); see also Allen v. McCurry, 449 U.S. 90, 96 (1980). Section 1738 embodies concerns of comity and federalism that allow the States to determine, subject to the requirements of the statute and the Due Process Clause, the preclusive effect of judgments in their own courts. See Kremer, supra, at 478, 481-483. Cf. Riley v. New York Trust Co., 315 U.S. 343, 349 (1942) (discussing preclusive effect of state judgment in proceedings in another State).
The fact that petitioners' antitrust claim is within the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal courts does not necessarily make § 1738 inapplicable to this case. Our decisions indicate that a state court judgment may in some circumstances have preclusive effect in a subsequent action within the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal courts. Without discussing § 1738,
More generally, Kremer indicates that § 1738 requires a federal court to look first to state preclusion law in determining the preclusive effects of a state court judgment. Cf. Haring v. Prosise, 462 U.S. 306, 314, and n. 8 (1983); Smith, Full Faith and Credit and Section 1983; A Reappraisal, 63 N. C. L. Rev. 59, 110-111 (1984). The Court's analysis in Kremer began with the finding that state law would in fact bar relitigation of the discrimination issue decided in the earlier state proceedings. 456 U. S., at 466-467. That finding implied that the plaintiff could not relitigate the same issue in federal court unless some exception to § 1738 applied. Ibid. Kremer observed that "an exception to § 1738 will not be recognized unless a later statute contains an express or implied repeal." Id., at 468; see also Allen v. McCurry, supra, at 99. Title VII does not expressly repeal § 1738, and the Court concluded that the statutory provisions and legislative history do not support a finding of implied repeal. 456 U. S., at 476. We conclude that the basic approach adopted in Kremer applies in a lawsuit involving a claim within the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal courts.
To be sure, a state court will not have occasion to address the specific question whether a state judgment has issue or claim preclusive effect in a later action that can be brought
With respect to matters that were not decided in the state proceedings, we note that claim preclusion generally does not apply where "[t]he plaintiff was unable to rely on a certain theory of the case or to seek a certain remedy because of the limitations on the subject matter jurisdiction of the courts. . . ." Restatement (Second) of Judgments § 26(1)(c) (1982). If state preclusion law includes this requirement of prior jurisdictional competency, which is generally true, a state judgment will not have claim preclusive effect on a cause of action within the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal courts. Even in the event that a party asserting the affirmative defense of claim preclusion can show that state preclusion rules in some circumstances bar a claim outside the jurisdiction of the court that rendered the initial judgment, the federal court should first consider whether application of the state rules would bar the particular federal claim.
We are unwilling to create a special exception to § 1738 for federal antitrust claims that would give state court judgments greater preclusive effect than would the courts of the State rendering the judgment. Cf. Haring v. Prosise, 462 U. S., at 317-318 (refusing to create special preclusion rule for § 1983 claim subsequent to plaintiff's guilty plea). The plurality opinion for the Court of Appeals relied on Federated
If we had a single system of courts and our only concerns were efficiency and finality, it might be desirable to fashion claim preclusion rules that would require a plaintiff to bring suit initially in the forum of most general jurisdiction, thereby resolving as many issues as possible in one proceeding. See Restatement (Second) of Judgments § 24, Comment g (1982); C. Wright, A. Miller, & E. Cooper, supra, § 4407, p. 51; id., § 4412, p. 93. The decision of the Court of Appeals approximates such a rule inasmuch as it encourages plaintiffs to file suit initially in federal district court and to attempt to bring any state law claims pendent to their federal antitrust claims. Whether this result would reduce the overall burden of litigation is debatable, see 726 F. 2d, at 1181-1182 (Cudahy, J., dissenting); C. Wright, A. Miller, & E. Cooper, supra, § 4407, p. 51-52, and we decline to base our interpretation of § 1738 on our opinion on this question.
More importantly, we have parallel systems of state and federal courts, and the concerns of comity reflected in § 1738 generally allow States to determine the preclusive scope of their own courts' judgments. See Kremer, supra, at 481-482; Allen v. McCurry, 449 U. S., at 96; cf. Currie, Res Judicata: The Neglected Defense, 45 U. Chi. L. Rev. 317, 327 (1978) (state policies may seek to limit preclusive effect of state court judgment). These concerns certainly are not made less compelling because state courts lack jurisdiction
In this case the Court of Appeals should have first referred to Illinois law to determine the preclusive effect of the state judgment. Only if state law indicates that a particular claim or issue would be barred, is it necessary to determine if an exception to § 1738 should apply. Although for purposes of this case, we need not decide if such an exception exists for federal antitrust claims, we observe that the more general question is whether the concerns underlying a particular grant of exclusive jurisdiction justify a finding of an implied partial repeal of § 1738. Resolution of this question will depend on the particular federal statute as well as the nature of the claim or issue involved in the subsequent federal action. Our previous decisions indicate that the primary consideration must be the intent of Congress. See Kremer, supra, at 470-476 (finding no congressional intent to depart from § 1738 for purposes of Title VII); cf. Brown v. Felsen, 442 U.S. 127, 138 (1979) (finding congressional intent that state judgments would not have claim preclusive effect on dischargeability issue in bankruptcy).
The decisions below did not consider Illinois preclusion law in their discussion of the claim preclusion issue. The District Court relied on federal law to conclude that the state judgments did not bar the claims under the Sherman Act. See 496 F. Supp., at 238-239. Similarly, the plurality opinion of the Court of Appeals did not discuss Illinois principles of
Petitioners also urge us to reverse the decision of the Court of Appeals with respect to the contempt order. We specifically declined to grant certiorari on questions related to the discovery order or the subsequent contempt order, and we do not address those issues here.
The judgment of the Court of Appeals is reversed, and the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
It is so ordered.
JUSTICE BLACKMUN and JUSTICE STEVENS took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.
CHIEF JUSTICE BURGER, concurring in the judgment.
I agree with the Court's implicit conclusion that the Court of Appeals approached 28 U. S. C. § 1738 too narrowly and technically by holding it irrelevant on the ground that Illinois law does not address the preclusive effect of a state court judgment on a federal antitrust suit, see 726 F.2d 1150, 1154 (1984). In the circumstances presented by this case, a fair reading of § 1738 requires federal courts to look first to general principles of state preclusion law. Those principles control if they clearly establish that the state court judgment does not bar the later federal action: Only recently, we reaffirmed
The Court now remands with directions for the District Court to consider Illinois claim preclusion law, but no guidance is given as to how the District Court should proceed if it finds state law silent or indeterminate on the claim preclusion question. The Court's refusal to acknowledge this potential problem appears to stem from a belief that the jurisdictional competency requirement of res judicata doctrine will dispose of most cases like this. See ante, at 382.
I cannot agree with the Court's interpretation of the jurisdictional competency requirement. If state law provides a cause of action that is virtually identical with a federal statutory cause of action, a plaintiff suing in state court is able to rely on the same theory of the case and obtain the same remedy as would be available in federal court, even when the plaintiff cannot expressly invoke the federal statute because it is within the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal courts. In this situation, the jurisdictional competency requirement is effectively satisfied. Therefore, the fact that state law recognizes the jurisdictional competency requirement does not necessarily imply that a state court judgment has no claim preclusive effect on a cause of action within exclusive federal jurisdiction.
The states that recognize the jurisdictional competency requirement do not all define it in the same terms. Illinois courts have expressed the doctrine in the following manner: "The principle [of res judicata] extends not only to questions which were actually litigated but also to all questions which could have been raised or determined." Spiller v. Continental Tube Co., 95 Ill.2d 423, 432, 447 N.E.2d 834, 838 (1983) (emphasis added); see also, e. g., LaSalle National Bank v. County Board of School Trustees, 61 Ill.2d 524, 529, 337 N.E.2d 19, 22 (1975); People v. Kidd, 398 Ill. 405, 408, 75 N.E.2d 851, 853-854 (1947). In the present case, each
A federal rule might be fashioned from the test, which this Court has applied in other contexts, that a party is precluded
The Court will eventually have to face these questions; I would resolve them now.
"In an automobile collision, A is injured and his car damaged as a result of the negligence of B. Instead of suing in a court of general jurisdiction of the state, A brings his action for the damage to his car in a justice's court, which has jurisdiction in actions for damage to property but has no jurisdiction in actions for injury to the person. Judgment is rendered for A for the damage to the car. A cannot thereafter maintain an action against B to recover for the injury to his person arising out of the same collision."
See also 18 C. Wright, A. Miller, & E. Cooper, Federal Practice and Procedure § 4412, p. 95 (1981), stating that the "general rule" in state courts is that "[a] second action will not be permitted on parts of a single claim that could have been asserted in a court of broader jurisdiction simply because the plaintiff went first to a court of limited jurisdiction in the same state that could not hear them." The holding in Lucas v. Le Compte, 42 Ill. 303 (1866), is similar to this "general rule," but that holding was based on a construction of an Illinois statute, Ill. Rev. Stat., ch. 59, § 35 (1845), which (a) has been repealed, see Act of Apr. 15, 1965, 1965 Ill. Laws 331, and (b) had a broader preclusive effect than general Illinois res judicata doctrine has. Clancey v. McBride, 338 Ill. 35, 169 N. E. 729 (1929), involved the same circumstances as the above-quoted illustration from the Restatement. The court resolved the case, however, without reference to the limited jurisdiction of the justice's court, by concluding that injury to the person and injury to property are distinct legal wrongs that can be the subject of separate lawsuits.