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ARGUED DECEMBER 4, 2009

Before POSNER, RIPPLE, and WOOD, Circuit Judges.

Rex Carr, a successful class action lawyer in southern Illinois, is locked in mortal combat with his former law partners, the defendants in a RICO case (with a supplemental state-law claim, 28 U.S.C. § 1367) that he brought in federal district court. The dispute is over the division of legal fees in cases handled by the law firm (Carr Korein Tillery, LLC) before it broke up; Carr is seeking some $20 million in compensatory damages alone. The district court dismissed the entire case, supplemental claim and all, under Rule 12(b)(6) (failure to state a claim), on the ground that Carr’s claims are precluded by judgments in previous suits by him against the same defendants. Since res judicata is an affirmative defense, the defendant should raise it and then move for judgment on the pleadings under Rule 12(c). Forty One News, Inc. v. County of Lake, 491 F.3d 662, 664 (7th Cir. 2007); McCready v. eBay, Inc., 453 F.3d 882, 892 n. 2 (7th Cir. 2006). The judge thus jumped the gun in dismissing the case under Rule 12(b)(6). But the error is of no consequence. He had before him all he needed in order to be able to rule on the defense, and anyway the plaintiff does not complain about the error.

 
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