United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Greenville Division
ORDER OF DISMISSAL
MICHAEL P. MILLS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court, sua sponte, for
consideration of dismissal. Plaintiff Howard Hays, a
Mississippi inmate, has filed a civil rights action pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the State of Mississippi,
the City of Greenwood, Leflore County, Raymond Moore, Sgt.
Byron Granderson, and Sheriff Rickey Banks. Having fully
reviewed Hays' complaint and the applicable law, the
Court determines that res judicata bars this action.
complaint is subject to sua sponte dismissal under
the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”) because
he has been permitted to proceed in forma pauperis
in this action. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2);
see also 28 U.S.C. § 1915A (subjecting prisoner
complaint to preliminary screening regardless of in forma
pauperis status). Pursuant to the PLRA, the Court is
obligated to evaluate the complaint and dismiss it if it is
“frivolous or malicious, ” if it “fails to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted, ” or if
it “seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is
immune from such relief.” § 1915(e)(2).
was on parole on September 26, 2014, when he was arrested by
Sgt. Byron Granderson on charges of grand larceny and
commercial burglary and was booked into the Leflore County
Adult Detention Center. Three days later, Hays' parole
officer issued a warrant for Hays' arrest based on the
new charges against Hays.
action, Hays claims that an unreasonable amount of time
elapsed between his arrest and the judicial determination of
probable cause for that arrest. He additionally contends that
he was not timely advised of his right to counsel, and that
he was wrongfully denied bond consideration. He asks the
Court to release him, issue injunctive and declaratory
relief, and award him punitive and compensatory damages for
these alleged violations of his constitutional rights.
concedes in his complaint that the events complained of in
the instant action were previously litigated in Hays v.
Granderson, 4:15cv51-NBB-DAS (N.D. Miss.). See
Doc. #1 at 7. In that action, Hays sued Sgt. Granderson, the
City of Greenwood Police Department, and Leflore County,
alleging false arrest, malicious prosecution, and the denial
of a prompt judicial determination of probable cause after
his September 26, 2014, arrest. Ultimately, the Court entered
summary judgment in favor of Defendants on the merits of
Hays' claims. See id. at Doc. #112.
claims in the instant action are barred by the doctrine of
res judicata, and as to at least some Defendants, the related
doctrine of collateral estoppel. Collateral estoppel
precludes relitigation of issues that were actually
adjudicated in a prior case involving a party to that case.
See Allen v. McCurry, 449 U.S. 90, 94 (1980). Res
judicata states that a final judgment on the merits rendered
by a court of competent jurisdiction is conclusive as to the
parties and those in privity with them. See, e.g.,
Cromwell v. County of Sac., 94 U.S. 351, 352 (1876). Res
judicata generally applies if “(1) the parties are
identical or in privity; (2) the judgment in the prior action
was rendered by a court of competent jurisdiction; (3) the
prior action was concluded by a final judgment on the merits;
and (4) the same claim or cause of action was involved in
both actions.” Test Masters Educ. Servs., Inc. v.
Singh, 428 F.3d 559, 571 (5th Cir.2005) (citation
has already litigated his claims concerning the alleged lack
of a preliminary hearing and the denial of access to counsel
following his September 26, 2014, arrest. Both the prior suit
and this later-filed suit involve the same cause of action
under the “transactional test, ” which provides
that “a prior judgment's preclusive effect extends
to all rights of the plaintiff with respect to all or any
part of the transaction, or series of connected transactions,
out of which the original action arose.”
Petro-Hunt, LLC v. United States, 365 F.3d 385,
395-96 (5th Cir. 2004) (citation omitted). Accordingly,
Hays' assertion of additional facts and/or theories in
this suit does not prevent application of res judicata, as
the doctrine prevents “litigation of all grounds for,
or defenses to, recovery that were previously available to
the parties, regardless of whether they were asserted or
determined in the prior proceeding.” Brown v.
Felsen, 442 U.S. 127, 131 (1979). Similarly, the fact
that Hays has named additional defendants in this later-filed
action does not shield him from the preclusive effect of res
judicata. See, e.g., Caballero v. Robinson, 95 F.3d
49, 1996 WL 457298, at *1 (5th Cir. July 8, 1996) (finding
“unavailing” plaintiff's contention that his
suit was not res judicata because he named new additional
defendants in the later-filed case).
the instant suit is duplicative of Hays' earlier-filed
action. Because Hays' claims in this lawsuit were
considered and ruled on in Hays v. Granderson,
4:15cv51-NBB-DAS (N.D. Miss.), res judicata bars this action,
and it is frivolous and malicious. See, e.g., Pittman v.
Moore, 980 F.2d 994, 994-95 (5th Cir. 1993); Bailey
v. Johnson, 846 F.2d 1091, 1021 (5th Cir. 1988).
reasons as set forth herein, the instant action is
DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE as frivolous and
malicious, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i), counting as a
“strike” under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g). A ...