Terminated employee's civil rights violation claim dismissed pursuant to the doctrine of res judicata
Russo v. City of New York, USCA, 2nd Circuit, 17-233-CV*
United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York dismissed Anthony J. Russo's claim brought under 42 U.S.C. §1983. The district court sua sponte** dismissed Russo’s complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1915(e)(2)(B) and the doctrine of res judicata.***
Russo had been terminated by the New York City Board of Education as the result of an arbitration conducted pursuant to §3020-a of the New York State Education Law. Although Russo brought a CPLR Article 75 action challenging the arbitration award in New York State Supreme Court, the award was ultimately affirmed by the New York State Court of Appeals.
The Second Circuit affirmed the district court dismissal Russo’s complaint and the denial of his motion for reconsideration on the ground that Russo’s claims are barred by the doctrine of claim preclusion. We note at the outset that “the failure of a defendant to raise res judicata does not deprive a court of the power to dismiss a claim on that ground” in large part because of “the strong public policy in economizing the use of judicial resources by avoiding relitigation.
The Circuit Court then found that the dismissal Russo's petition on the basis of res judicata was appropriate in this case because Russo raises claims that are premised entirely on the same set of facts and alleged misconduct as the facts and misconduct alleged in his state court action, and because the initial state forum had the power to award the full measure of relief sought in this §1983 action.
Further, said the court, "even though Russo’s federal claims were not raised and litigated in his state action, there was no error in the district court’s decision to dismiss these claims on the grounds that they were barred by the state court judgment."
*N.B. Summary order - rulings by summary order do not have precedential effect. Citation to a summary order filed on or after January 1, 2007, is permitted and is governed by federal rule of appellate procedure 32.1 and the 2nd Circuit's local rule 32.1.1.
** An action taken by the court without a formal motion by a party.
*** A matter that has been adjudicated by a court of competent jurisdiction and as a result not be relitigated further by the same parties.
The decision is posted on the Internet at: