a full hearing on the merits of his constitutional deprivation claims in his state mandamus action. Second, there are no allegations that plaintiff was prohibited from introducing any evidence in his state action. And most importantly, both of plaintiff's suits involve the same legal theories. In Jones, the first hearing dealt with the defendant's conduct and whether it constituted just cause for dismissal, while the subsequent federal case concerned the actions of the employer and whether those actions constituted racial discrimination. In the instant case, plaintiff must prove in both his state and federal actions that defendants' conduct violated his constitutional right to equal protection of the law.
The state court rendered final judgment in the mandamus action on the merits of plaintiff's claim that defendants violated his constitutional rights. Thus, the "same evidence" needed to sustain the instant case would have sustained the mandamus case. Therefore, the court finds that res judicata applies to plaintiff's § 1983 action. Torcasso, 157 Ill. 2d at 490; Koen, 909 F.2d at 999.
The Court next looks to Illinois law to determine the effect of the Circuit Court's judgment. In Torcasso, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that, "where there is identity of parties, subject matter, and cause of action, the doctrine of res judicata extends not only to every matter that was actually determined in the prior suit but to every other matter that might have been raised and determined in it." 157 Ill. 2d at 490; Koen, 909 F.2d at 999 (under Illinois res judicata law, a party may not maintain two suits based on the same facts by simply altering the claim for relief).
Plaintiff argues that damages were not available to him in his mandamus action because the amount of damages is not a "fixed sum." Under Illinois law, a prevailing plaintiff in a mandamus action is entitled to recover both damages and costs.
This circuit has applied res judicata to § 1983 actions even where the original mandamus action did not define a specific amount for damages. Wozniak, 845 F.2d at 681-682 (res judicata applied to prevailing mandamus plaintiffs' subsequent § 1983 action alleging damages resulting from the defendants' abuse of discretion in refusing to issue an excavation and fill permit).
In Wozniak, the plaintiffs did not bring a § 1983 claim or seek damages in his state court mandamus action. Id., 845 F.2d at 679. After prevailing in the state mandamus action, the plaintiffs filed a § 1983 in federal court. The plaintiffs sought to avoid the application of res judicata, arguing that the state mandamus action and the federal suit involved "different causes of action." Id, at 680. The court held that "by failing to allege every claim for relief in their cause of action that the state court had authority to consider, the Wozniaks have split their claim; hence, any attempt to relitigate the propriety of the County's actions is vulnerable to a defense of res judicata." Id, at 681-682. The court dismissed plaintiffs' claim and ruled that under Illinois law the Wozniaks not only could have, but should have joined their damage claim under § 1983 with their mandamus action in state court. Id.
Plaintiff further argues that as a prisoner, he would not have been entitled to money damages in his state habeas action. Plaintiff cites to this court's ruling on August 17, 1994, holding that plaintiff would not be able to include incarcerated persons in his class action damages claim.
Rooding, 864 F. Supp. at 740. Plaintiff misinterprets the court's earlier ruling. The court ruled that prisoners could not be included in plaintiff's § 1983 damages action because his claim requires a conclusion that the duration of confinement was improper. Because this conclusion would compel release of any prisoners included in the claim, it could not be made in a § 1983 action. Id.; citing Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 488-490, 93 S. Ct. 1827, 1835-6, 36 L. Ed. 2d 439 (1973).
Plaintiff's argument fails because he did comply with the ruling in Preiser by attacking the duration of his confinement in the habeas corpus and mandamus action in state court. Under Preiser, plaintiff could not have attempted to attack the validity of his confinement and attempted to obtain his release in federal court by bringing a § 1983 claim. However, plaintiff could have and should have petitioned the state court that the duration of his confinement was improper under his habeas corpus and mandamus actions, and joined his § 1983 damage claim or sought damages under 735 ILCS 5/14-105. Koen, 909 F.2d at 999; Wozniak v. County of DuPage, 845 F.2d 677, 681 (7th Cir., 1988).
For the reasons stated above, the Court finds that res judicata applies and therefore estops plaintiff from asserting his § 1983 federal action. Accordingly, because defendants are entitled to judgment as a matter of law, the Court grants defendants' motion for judgment on the pleadings.
ENTER: January 18, 1995.
Robert W. Gettleman
United States District Judge
JUDGMENT IN A CIVIL CASE
Decision by Court. This action came to trial or hearing before the Court. The issues have been tried or heard and a decision has been rendered.
IT IS ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that this Court finds that res judicata applies and therefore estops plaintiff from asserting his § 1983 federal action.
Because defendants are entitled to judgment as a matter of law, defendants' motion for judgment on the pleadings is granted.
January 18, 1995