United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER SUMMARILY DISMISSING THE CIVIL
VICTORIA A. ROBERTS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Plaintiff Vernon Coleman's pro se civil
rights complaint filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff
is an inmate incarcerated at the Federal Correctional
Institution in Jesup, Georgia. He claims that Defendant
Bucciarellir filed a false police report claiming that he was
in possession of heroin. Plaintiff also claims that the City
of Detroit and County of Wayne failed to correct Defendant
Bucciarellir's illegal actions. After careful review of
the complaints, the case is summarily dismissed.
claims that on July 10, 2018, Defendant Detroit Metropolitan
Airport Officer Bucciarellir filed a false police report
stating that Plaintiff was in possession of five grams of
heroin. He forwarded this information to the United States
Probation Department. Plaintiff says he was arrested by the
probation office and returned to prison on his federal
sentence, but that the associated new criminal charges
against him were dropped. Plaintiff also claims that $120,
000 in cash was confiscated from him and never returned.
Plaintiff claims that Defendant Bucciarellir violated his
constitutional rights by filing the false police report and
seizing the cash. He asserts that Defendants City of Detroit
and County of Wayne are liable for damages for failing to
investigate and correct the illegal conduct of Defendant
Bucciarellir. Plaintiff seeks over $365, 000, 000 in damages.
not Plaintiff's first civil action concerning the
legality of his arrest and the seizure of his money. In
Coleman v. Bucciarellir, Eastern District of
Michigan Civil No. 19-cv-10630, Dkt. 1, Plaintiff made
identical allegations against Defendant Bucciarellir.
Plaintiff claimed that the officer filed false charges
against him and seized money without a warrant. Plaintiff
also claimed that Bucciarellir informed Plaintiff's
federal probation officer Thomas Hare about the arrest, and
the false evidence from the arrest was used as the basis for
his two-year probation prison sentence.
search of the Court's PACER system shows that Plaintiff
originally pled guilty to conspiracy to possess with the
intent to distribute at least five kilograms of a mixture and
substance containing cocaine and was sentenced on January 26,
2011 in the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Georgia to 87 months in prison followed by 5
years supervised release. See United States v.
Coleman, No. 1:07-CR-233 (N.D.Ga. Jan. 25, 2019) (ECF
804). On January 25, 2019, Plaintiff's supervised release
was revoked, and he was sentenced to twenty four months
incarceration as a result of the incident that is the subject
matter of both actions.
Standard of Review
was granted permission to proceed without prepayment of fees.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a); McGore v.
Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601, 604 (6th Cir. 1997). Under
the Prison Litigation Reform Act, Pub. L. No. 104-134, 110
Stat. 1321 (1996) (PLRA), the Court is required to dismiss
any prisoner action brought under federal law if the
complaint is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief
from a defendant immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1915(e)(2), 1915A; 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c).
The Court must read plaintiff's pro se complaint
indulgently, see Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520
(1972), and accept plaintiff's allegations as true,
unless they are clearly irrational or wholly incredible.
Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 33 (1992).
Coleman v. Bucciarellir, Eastern District of
Michigan Civil No. 19-cv-10630, Plaintiff raised the same
claims-claims for filing a false report and unlawful
seizure-that he raises in this case. That case was summarily
dismissed under Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477,
486-87 (1994), because Plaintiff had not proven that his
supervised release violation was overturned or invalidated.
Id., Dkt. 17 at 5.
doctrine of res judicata, also called claim preclusion, means
a final judgment on the merits of an action precludes the
parties or their privies from relitigating claims that were
or could have been raised in that action. Federated
Department Stores, Inc. v. Moitie, 452 U.S. 394, 398
(1981). Res judicata is an affirmative defense, Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(c), and “[c]ourts generally lack the ability to raise
an affirmative defense sua sponte.” Neff v.
Flagstar Bank, FSB, 520 Fed.Appx. 323, 327 (6th Cir.
2013) (quoting Hutcherson v. Lauderdale Cty., 326
F.3d 747, 757 (6th Cir. 2003)). The Court “may take the
initiative to assert the res judicata defense sua sponte in
‘special circumstances.'” Id.
(quoting Arizona v. California, 530 U.S. 392, 412
(2000)). One such special circumstance occurs when “a
court is on notice that it has previously decided the issue
presented.” Arizona, 530 U.S. at 412. That
special circumstance is present here.
prior case resulted in a final judgment for failing to state
a claim, and Plaintiff's new complaint fails to assert
that his supervised release violation was overturned or
invalidated since he filed his prior action. “The
dismissal for failure to state a claim under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) is a ‘judgment on the
merits.'” Federated Department Stores,
Inc., 452 U.S. at 399 n.3. “[A] federal judgment
becomes final for . . . claim preclusion purposes when the
district court disassociates itself from the case, leaving
nothing to be done at the court of first instance save
execution of the judgment.” Clay v. United
States, 537 U.S. 522, 527 (2003).
the judgment in Plaintiff's prior case is final, it
operates as an absolute bar to any subsequent action on the
same cause between the same parties or their privies with
respect to every matter that was actually litigated in the
first case, as well as every ground of recovery that might
have been presented. Black v. Ryder/P.I.E. Nationwide,
Inc., 15 F.3d 573, 582 (6th Cir. 1994). Claim preclusion
operates to relieve parties of the cost and vexation of
multiple lawsuits, conserve judicial resources, and by
preventing inconsistent decisions, encourage reliance on
adjudication. Allen v. McCurry, 449 U.S. 90, 94
(1980). In order to apply the doctrine of claim preclusion,
the court must find that (1) the previous lawsuit ended in a
final judgment on the merits; (2) the previous lawsuit was