Judge Michael Ciaffa

Costco Wholesale alleged defendant customers defrauded it regarding the purchase and return of a $5,000 engagement ring. When defendants bouthgt the ring the transaction was erroneously recorded under a different customer’s Costco account, depriving defendants of a 2 percent rebate. Defendants were unsatisfied with Costco’s proposed remedies and left with the ring and a receipt signifying the purchase was made in cash and not by credit card. They bought another ring at a different store, and returned the Costco ring for a cash refund. The credit card charges from the original purchase were billed to defendants by American Express, and the charges were contested. AmEx resolved the disputes in defendants’ favor, and their account was credited. Costco claimed they were defrauded and lost $5,431.24 due to defendants’ fraudulent actions. The court concluded as the dispute heard by American Express involved the same issue and Costco was afforded ample opportunity to contest the claims, Costco was collaterally estopped from relitigating defendants’ liability in this action or from recovering damages from defendants.