United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ORDER AND OPINION GRANTING DEFENDANTS' AMENDED
MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT PURSUANT TO FED. R. CIV. P. 56
Victoria A. Roberts United States District Judge
INTRODUCTION AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND
City of Mt. Clemens and Laurel Emerson,
(“Defendants”) filed this Motion for Summary
Judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) and/or
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. They say Plaintiff Roger Van Heck
(“Van Heck”) failed to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted because his pleadings do not satisfy
Fed.R.Civ.P. (8). They also say Van Heck failed to show a
genuine issue of material fact as required by Fed.R.Civ.P. 56
because his claims are barred by both the res
judicata and Rooker-Feldman doctrines.
Heck filed this action pro se under 42 U.S.C. §
1983. He claims Defendant Emerson violated his Fourth and
Fourteenth Amendment rights when she, among other things,
trespassed and took photographs of his private property. He
also brings claims under Michigan law. Van Heck previously
filed suit against these Defendants in state court alleging
the same claims. The Macomb County Circuit Court dismissed
his claims with prejudice.
Van Heck asks the Court to address claims already litigated
in state court, his claims are barred by the doctrine of
res judicata. The Court need not decide whether Van
Heck satisfied Fed.R.Civ.P. (8).
Court GRANTS Defendants' Amended Motion
for Summary Judgment.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
judgment is proper if “the movant shows that there is
no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a).
The movant has the initial burden to demonstrate the basis
for its motion and to identify portions of the record which
show the absence of a genuine issue of fact. Mt. Lebanon
Personal Care Home, Inc. v. Hoover Universal, Inc., 276
F.3d 845, 848 (6th Cir. 2002). Once the moving party meets
this burden, the non-moving party must set forth specific
facts that present a “genuine issue for trial.”
Id. The existence of a mere scintilla of evidence to
support a plaintiff's position will not suffice; there
must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for
the plaintiff. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc. 477
U.S. 242, 252 (1986). The parties must support assertions of
fact by “citing to particular parts of materials in the
record, including depositions, documents, electronically
stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations
(including those made for purposes of the motion only),
admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials.”
Van Heck's Claims Are Barred by the Doctrine of Res
say Van Heck's claims are barred by the doctrine of
res judicata because his complaint is virtually
identical to the claims raised in the Macomb County Circuit
Court, which disposed of his claims with prejudice on the
Defendants' Motion for Summary Disposition. The Court
Heck admits the Macomb County Circuit Court did dismiss his
complaint with prejudice and barred him from refiling a like
or similar complaint in the state court. He says, however,
“[s]tate [c]ourt rulings do not and cannot dictate what
the [f]ederal [c]ourt may hear or rule on.” Van
Heck's Brief and Response [Doc. #20].
Heck says “filing an appeal would be fruitless”
because the trial judge, while a prosecutor, obtained a
conviction against him which was subsequently overturned by
the Michigan Supreme Court. Van Heck claims this was
“upsetting” to the trial judge. He says the trial
judge's sister is a Michigan Court of Appeals judge, and
the trial judge's mother is a Michigan Supreme Court
judge. Van Heck also argues his state claims were wrongly
dismissed. He claims in his response the trial judge
dismissed his claims because he failed to file an answer to
Defendants' response; Van Heck says he did file.
Defendants say this is an attempt to undermine and challenge
the state court ruling.
judicata bars a subsequent action between the same parties or
their privies based on the same claims or causes of action
that were or could have been raised in the prior action.
Sanders v. County of Wayne,87 Fed.Appx. 449, 450
(6th Cir. 2003). “Federal courts must give state court
judgments the same effect the rendering state court would
give them.” Hutcherson v. Lauderdale County,
Tennessee326 F.3d 747, 755 ...