United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
JULIAN R. HOOD, JR., Plaintiff,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, et al., Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
T. NEFF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
proceeding pro se, filed this action on December 10, 2015,
alleging wrongful employment termination (Dkt 1). The matter
was referred to the Magistrate Judge, who issued a Report and
Recommendation (R&R, Dkt 7), recommending that this Court
dismiss Plaintiff's complaint as precluded under the
doctrine of res judicata. The matter is presently before the
Court on Plaintiff's objections to the Report and
Recommendation (Dkt 8). In accordance with 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1) and Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3), the Court has considered
de novo those portions of the Report and Recommendation to
which objections have been made. For the reasons that follow,
the Court denies Plaintiff's objections and issues this
Opinion and Order.
objects to the Magistrate Judge's recommendation that his
case be dismissed because of res judicata (Objs., Dkt 8 at
PageID.66; R&R, Dkt 7 at PageID.65). Plaintiff asserts
that in this new case “[n]ot all actions relate to my
termination and are considered individual, unique, and
separate transactions from my termination”
(id.). Furthermore, Plaintiff contends that
“[i]n all six complaints that the [Magistrate Judge]
referenced, none were decided on their merits or . . .
resolve[d] based on the facts and evidence of the case . . .
” (id.), and he contends that the requested
relief is different from his previously filed complaints
(id. at PageID.66-67). Because Plaintiff believes
res judicata does not apply, he objects to the Magistrate
Judge's failure to analyze the merits of his underlying
argument fails to demonstrate any factual or legal error in
the Magistrate Judge's analysis or conclusion. Under the
doctrine of res judicata, a claim is precluded from
re-litigation when the following elements are met:
(1) a final decision on the merits in the first action by a
court of competent jurisdiction;
(2) the second action involves the same parties, or their
privies, as the first;
(3) the second action raises an issue actually litigated or
which should have been litigated in the first action; and
(4) an identity of the causes of action.
Sanders Confectionary Prods., Inc. v. Heller Fin.,
Inc., 973 F.2d 474, 480 (6th Cir. 1992) (citing King
v. South Cent. Bell Tel. & Tel. Co., 790 F.2d 524
(6th Cir. 1986)).
Plaintiff's assertion that none of his previous
complaints were “decided on their merits” (Objs.,
Dkt 8 at PageID.66) is without merit. Plaintiff's
previous complaints were dismissed with prejudice. See
Hood v. Brennan, No. 1:14-cv-1104, 2015 WL 4173425, at
*7 (W.D. Mich. July 10, 2015). “A dismissal with prejudice
‘operates as a final adjudication on the merits and has
a res judicata effect.'” Pedreira v. Sunrise
Children's Servs., Inc., 802 F.3d 865, 870 (6th Cir.
2015) (quoting Warfield v. AlliedSignal TBS Holdings,
Inc., 267 F.3d 538, 542 (6th Cir. 2001)).
Plaintiff's argument that because he alleged different
recovery theories and different relief requests, the claims
in his complaints are different (Objs., Dkt 8 at
PageID.66-67), is without merit. “The accepted test in
preclusion law for determining whether two suits involve the
same claim or cause of action depends on factual overlap,
barring ‘claims arising from the same
transaction.'” United States v. Tohono
O'Odham Nation, 563 U.S. 307, 316 (2011) (quoting
Kremer v. Chem. Constr. Corp., 456 U.S. 461, 482
n.22 (1982)). Plaintiff's failure to bring claims under
different theories in his previous complaints does not now
shield him from claim preclusion. “A final judgment on
the merits bars any and all claims by the parties or their
privies based on the same cause of action, as to every matter
actually litigated as well as every theory of recovery
that could have been presented.” Armour v.
McCalla, 16 F. App'x 305, 306 (6th Cir. 2001)
(unpublished) (emphasis added) (citing J.Z.G. Res., Inc.
v. Shelby Ins. Co., 84 F.3d 211, 214 (6th Cir. 1996)).
Plaintiff's claims arise under the same transaction or
series of transactions-his employment and subsequent
termination with the United States Postal Service-and the
Magistrate did not err in recommending dismissal based on
proffers no argument that would warrant rejecting the
Magistrate Judge's conclusion that his Complaint fails to
state a claim upon which relief could be granted based on
either of the two remaining elements of res judicata.
See W.D. Mich. LCivR 72.3(b) (requiring an objecting
party to “specifically identify the portions of the
proposed findings, recommendations or report to which
objections are made and the basis for such
the Magistrate Judge did not err in recommending that
Plaintiff's case be barred under the doctrine of res
judicata because (1) Plaintiff's previous complaints were
dismissed with prejudice, which is a final judgment on the
merits; (2) Plaintiff's claim arises from the same
transaction, or series of transactions, alleged in his
previous complaints; and (3) Plaintiff does not contest the
remaining two elements of res judicata.
Court's decision terminates this action, the Court will
also enter a corresponding ...