United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Frankfort
MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER
Gregory F. Van Tatenhove, United States District Judge
Fender was arrested and sent to Carroll County Jail. [R. 9.]
While in prison he alleges he nearly died due to the
prison's failure to treat his medical condition.
Id. So, he sued in Kentucky state court seeking
compensation for his damages. Id. That case was
dismissed for failure to state a claim. Id. Fender
failed to appeal, and a final judgment was entered.
Id. Now Fender seeks a second bite at the apple by
adding constitutional law claims, adding defendants, and
filing in federal court. [R. 1.] But the Defendants have
moved to dismiss because Fender was already given a full and
fair opportunity to ligate his claim. [R. 7, 8.] The Court
agrees. He will not be given another.
Court is required “to give preclusive effect to
state-court judgments whenever the courts of the State from
which the judgments emerged would do so.” Allen v.
McCurry, 449 U.S. 90, 96 (1980). Because Kentucky courts
would apply claim and issue preclusion to bar Fender's
claims they must be dismissed. The Court explains each in
preclusion “bars a party from re-litigating a
previously adjudicated cause of action and entirely bars a
new lawsuit on the same cause of action.” Yeoman v.
Commonwealth of Ky., Health Policy Bd., 983 S.W.2d 459,
465 (Ky. 1998). To invoke claim preclusion a defendant must
show: (1) identity of the parties; (2) identity of the cause
of action; and (3) the previous action was resolved on the
merits.” Id. Actual identity of the parties is
not required. Id. Instead, a defendant who was a
non-party to the previous suit must only show that they are
“in privity with a party from the prior suit such that
the [. . .] public interest in bringing an end to litigation
and the individual's interest in freedom from multiple
and vexatious litigation of the same cause-are served.”
Wayne County Hosp., Inc., v. Jakobson, 567 Fed.Appx.
314 (6th Cir. 2014) (citing BTC Leasing Inc. v.
Martin, 685 S.W.2d 191, 197-98 (Ky.Ct.App. 1984).
actual identity exists for Jailer Mike Humphrey in both his
individual and official capacity. [R. 9 at 7.] And privity of
identity attaches to the claims against the remaining
Defendants in their official capacities. Such privity exists
because Fender named Carroll County as a defendant in the
original action and “individuals sued in their official
capacities stand in the shoes of the entity they
represent.” See Alkire v. Irving, 330 F.3d
802, 810 (6th Cir. 2003). Therefore, Fender's official
capacity claims are just repackaged claims against the
County. Fender's factual allegation are identical to
those presented before, and any and all theories of recovery
stated in this case should have been raised in his previous
action. Armour v. McCalla, 16 Fed.Appx. 305, 306
(6th Cir. 2001) (applying the same transaction or occurrence
approach for res judicata as Kentucky). Since those
claims were dismissed with prejudice in state court for
failure to state a claim, Fender cannot resuscitate them now.
plaintiff can be barred by issue preclusion from bringing a
claim against a non-party to the original suit.
Yeoman, 983 S.W.2d at 465. But to do so the
defendant must show: (1) the issue in the second case were
the same as the issue in the first case; (2) the issue has
been litigated; (3) the issue was decided; (4) decision on
the issue in the prior action must have been necessary to the
court's judgment. Id. (citing Restatement
(Second) of Judgments S. 27 (1982)). The Defendants have
satisfied their burden of showing that Fender's claims
satisfy all four prongs.
identical issues are presented in both of Fender's
cases-his treatment while in prison. The addition of a
deliberate indifference constitutional law claim only creates
a distinction without a difference. Indeed, the only change
is Fender's burden of proof for his constitutional law
claim is higher. And after full briefing on his allegations
of unlawful treatment in state court, Fender's claims
were dismissed with prejudice for failure to state a claim on
which relief could be granted. The court could not have made
its ruling without determining that the Defendants'
conduct was not grossly negligent-less than what Fender would
have to now prove. Richmond v. Huq, 885 F.3d 929
(6th. Cir. 2018). Fender cannot now charge that he was not
given a full and fair opportunity to litigate his case,
particularly, whereas here, he chose not to appeal the trial
court's ruling. Berrier v. Bizer, 57 S.W.3d 271,
courts apply res judicata when the public has an
interest in bringing an end to litigation and to prevent
multiple and vexatious litigation from the same cause.
Barnett v. Commonwealth, Ky.,348 S.W.2d 834, 835
(1961). Both these concerns animate the Courts decision
today. The state court fairly determined that Fender's
complaint failed to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted. This Court must be faithful to that determination.
Accordingly, and being sufficiently ...