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Marks v. Keeton

United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division

May 9, 2014

JULIUS MARKS, #191094, Plaintiff,
v.
OFFICER M. KEETON, Defendant.

RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE

WALLACE CAPEL, Jr., Magistrate Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff, an inmate confined at the Easterling Correctional Facility, filed this 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 complaint against correctional officer Munchie Keeton. In the instant cause of action, Plaintiff complains that Keeton touched his private part during pat searches. Plaintiff also challenges his confinement at Easterling. Upon review of the complaint and the defendant's motion to dismiss, the court concludes that this case is due to be dismissed.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Eighth Amendment Claims

Plaintiff complains that on four separate and isolated occasions Keeton while conducting requisite pat searches during routine "shakedowns" touched his private part.[1] Complaint - Doc. No. 1 at 3 (During the first three searches, "while [Keeton was] shaking me down... the inside palm [of his left hand] touched... my penis." With respect to the last search, Keeton "touched me again on my private part... with his left inside palm....").

1. Claims Barred by Doctrine of Res Judicata.

In his motion to dismiss, Keeton argues that the claims regarding the initial three searches are barred by the doctrine of res judicata due to this court's dismissal of Marks v. Keeton, Civil Action No. 2:13-CV-620-WHA (M.D. Ala. 2013), consolidated with Marks v. Woods, Civil Action No. 2:13-CV-647-WHA (M.D. Ala. 2013), prior civil actions filed by Plaintiff in which he challenged these searches on the same grounds as those presently pending before the court.

Under well settled federal law,

[t]he preclusive effect of a judgment is defined by claim preclusion and issue preclusion, which are collectively referred to as "res judicata." Under the doctrine of claim preclusion, a final judgment forecloses "successive litigation of the very same claim, whether or not relitigation of the claim raises the same issues as the earlier suit." New Hampshire v. Maine, 532 U.S. 742, 748, 121 S.Ct. 1808, 149 L.Ed.2d 968 (2001). Issue preclusion, [often denoted as "collateral estoppel", ] in contrast, bars "successive litigation of an issue of fact or law actually litigated and resolved in a valid court determination essential to the prior judgment, " even if the issue recurs in the context of a different claim. Id., at 748-749, 121 S.Ct. 1808. By "preclud[ing] parties from contesting matters that they have had a full and fair opportunity to litigate, " these two doctrines protect against "the expense and vexation attending multiple lawsuits, conserv[e] judicial resources, and foste[r] reliance on judicial action by minimizing the possibility of inconsistent decisions." Montana v. United States, 440 U.S. 147, 153-154, 99 S.Ct. 970, 59 L.Ed.2d 210 (1979).

Taylor v. Sturgell, 553 U.S. 880, 892 (2008).

"Our res judicata analysis has always required a consideration of the facts and legal theories of two causes of action as well as the rights and duties involved in each case." Draper v. Atlanta Indep. Sch. Sys., 377 F. A'ppx 937, 940 (11th Cir. 2010), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 131 S.Ct. 342 (2010) (citing Manning v. City of Auburn, 953 F.2d 1355, 1359 (11th Cir. 1992)). "We have consistently concluded that when the substance and facts of each action are the same, res judicata bars the second suit." Id. In I.A. Durbin, Inc. v. Jefferson National Bank, 793 F.2d 1541 (11th Cir. 1986), the court summarized the doctrine of res judicata as follows:

Res judicata... refers to the preclusive effect of a judgment in foreclosing relitigation of matters that were litigated or could have been litigated in an earlier suit.... In order for the doctrine of res judicata to bar a subsequent suit, four elements must be present: (1) there must be a final judgment on the merits; (2) the decision must be rendered by a court of competent jurisdiction; (3) the parties, or those in privity with them, must be identical in both suits; and (4) the same cause of action must be involved in both cases.

I.A. Durbin, 793 F.2d at 1549 (citations omitted). The records of this court demonstrate that each of the requisite elements for application of the bar ...


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