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SPALLONE v. VILLAGE OF ROSELLE

April 11, 1984

CURT SPALLONE, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
VILLAGE OF ROSELLE, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Shadur, District Judge.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

    1. Initially defendants urged the collateral estoppel effect
  of Spallone's state court conviction barred his entire action
  under Allen v. McCurry, 449 U.S. 90, 101 S.Ct. 411, 66
  L.Ed.2d 308 (1980).
    2. In reply defendants have also argued any causes of action
  not barred by the state court conviction are merely common
  law torts that should no longer be constitutionally
  cognizable under the analysis of Parratt v. Taylor,
  451 U.S. 527, 101 S.Ct. 1908, 68 L.Ed.2d 420 (1981).

Though Spallone admits the first contention is well taken against his false arrest claim, none of the Complaint's four counts rests solely on false arrest. Thus collateral estoppel does not warrant dismissal of any count. As for the second assertion, Parratt has not been extended, nor should it be, to allegations such as those of the Complaint.

Facts*fn2

All four counts of the Complaint arise out of Spallone's October 24, 1982 arrest and alleged beating by police officers Dennis Medema ("Medema") and Michael Krueger ("Krueger"):

    1. Count One alleges Medema and Krueger arrested and beat
  Spallone without cause, then fabricated a story to justify
  both the arrest and the beating.
    2. Count Two alleges all defendants conspired to arrest and
  beat Spallone without cause, then to cover up their
  wrongdoing.
    3. Count Three alleges Roselle Chief of Police Dayle Lites
  ("Lites") and Roselle itself are responsible for "policies,
  practices, and customs" (¶ 21) that proximately caused the
  wrongdoings alleged in Counts One and Two.
    4. Count Four alleges Lites and Roselle breached duties to
  Spallone to take adequate steps to prevent the wrongdoings
  alleged in Counts One and Two.

Spallone faced trial on four criminal charges after his arrest: (1) illegal possession or transportation of alcohol, (2) driving while intoxicated, (3) resisting arrest and (4) battery of a police officer. On September 9, 1983 he was convicted of the first two counts but acquitted of the last two. Spallone says he raised no constitutional defenses at his state trial.*fn3

Res Judicata Principles

"Res judicata" (in a broad sense) comprises claim preclusion, which prohibits litigants from splitting a single cause of action into more than one civil proceeding, and issue preclusion or collateral estoppel, which prohibits litigants from relitigating issues actually resolved in an earlier proceeding.*fn4 It is beyond dispute that federal civil rights suits are subject to both issue preclusion (Allen) and claim preclusion (Migra) stemming from prior state court litigation.

Because defendants assert the preclusive effect of Spallone's criminal trial, Spallone's inability to have raised civil claims at that trial*fn5 forecloses any application of claim preclusion principles. Accordingly ...


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