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SPALLONE v. VILLAGE OF ROSELLE
April 11, 1984
CURT SPALLONE, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
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.
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
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
"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
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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