On August 18, 1993, plaintiff returned to court and asserted once more that he felt ill. The judge then entered an "Order for Hospital Evaluation" directing that plaintiff be taken to the hospital for a complete "diagnostic work up consistent with [plaintiff's] history and symptomology." See Pl. Ex. E. On the same day plaintiff was transported to West Jersey Hospital where he was diagnosed with late-onset diabetes and hospitalized for eight days. See Pl. Ex. E, F.
On August 8, 1995, plaintiff sued Dr. Young, the Camden County Board of Chosen Freeholders, the Camden County Department of Corrections, the CCCF warden, a corrections officer and a Camden County Freeholder in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, alleging violations of his Sixth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights and medical malpractice. See Def. Ex. E at 1. On the same day plaintiff instituted an action against the same defendants in this Court alleging the same constitutional violations. See Compl. P 1.
On December 6, 1996, the Court denied plaintiff's motion to consolidate state and federal claims. On December 20, 1996, Superior Court Judge John B. Mariano granted summary judgment in favor of Dr. Young and dismissed plaintiff's complaint with prejudice.
Defendant filed the instant motion for summary judgment on June 17, 1997. On June 24, 1997, plaintiff filed a cross-motion for summary judgment.
A. Summary Judgment
Under Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c), a court may grant summary judgment "if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." The non-moving party may not simply rest on its pleadings to oppose a summary judgment motion but must affirmatively come forward with admissible evidence establishing a genuine issue of fact. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265, 106 S. Ct. 2548 (1986).
In deciding a motion for summary judgment, the Court must construe the facts and inferences in a light most favorable to the non-moving party. Pollock v. American Tel. & Tel. Long Lines, 794 F.2d 860, 864 (3d Cir. 1986). The role of the court is not "to weigh the evidence and determine the truth of the matter, but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202, 106 S. Ct. 2505 (1986).
The substantive law governing the dispute will determine which facts are material, and only disputes over those facts "that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. A genuine issue for trial does not exist "unless the party opposing the motion can adduce evidence which, when considered in light of that party's burden of proof at trial, could be the basis for a jury finding in that party's favor." J.E. Mamiye & Sons, Inc. v. Fidelity Bank, 813 F.2d 610, 618 (3d Cir. 1987)(Becker, J., concurring).
B. Liability of Dr. Young
On the same day plaintiff filed the instant suit, he filed a complaint in state court. The state court granted Dr. Young's motion for summary judgment and dismissed plaintiff's complaint in its entirety.
Pursuant to the doctrine of res judicata, plaintiff's claims against Dr. Young are barred.
The Supreme Court has recognized that "res judicata. . . relieves[s] the parties of the cost and vexation of multiple lawsuits, conserve[s] judicial resources, and, by preventing inconsistent decisions, encourage[s] reliance on adjudication." Montana v. United States, 440 U.S. 147, 153-54, 59 L. Ed. 2d 210, 99 S. Ct. 970 (1979). The Supreme Court has "noted with implicit approval the view of other federal courts that res judicata principles fully apply to civil rights suits brought under [§ 1983]." Allen v. McCurry, 449 U.S. 90, 96, 66 L. Ed. 2d 308, 101 S. Ct. 411 (1980).
"[A] federal court applying preclusion principles is bound by the Full Faith and Credit statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1738, and must give a prior state judgment the same effect as would the adjudicating state." Gregory v. Chehi, 843 F.2d 111, 116 (3d Cir. 1988)(footnote omitted).
The result is the same in § 1983 suits brought in federal courts. See id. at 117. "When determining the judgment preclusion effect of a judgment rendered by a state court, we are referred to the law of the rendering state." Harris v. Pernsley, 755 F.2d 338, 342 (3d Cir.), cert. denied, 474 U.S. 965, 88 L. Ed. 2d 314, 106 S. Ct. 331 (1985); see also Migra v. Warren City Sch. Dist. Bd. of Educ., 465 U.S. 75, 81, 79 L. Ed. 2d 56, 104 S. Ct. 892 (1984); Allen, 449 U.S. at 95-96.
Judge Louis H. Pollak recently noted that:
The term "res judicata" has both a broad and a narrow meaning. Narrowly, . . . it refers only to claim preclusion. . . . However, the preferred usage of the term encompasses both claim and issue preclusion.
Venuto v. Witco Corp., 117 F.3d 754, 1997 U.S. App. LEXIS 17209, 1997 WL 356928 (3d Cir. 1997).
In this case we are concerned with collateral estoppel
which is a branch of the broader law of res judicata that bars relitigation of any issue actually determined in a prior action between the parties. It is a somewhat narrower concept than claim preclusion which is normally associated with the term res judicata. See Allesandra v. Gross, 187 N.J. Super. 96, 103-104, 453 A.2d 904, 907-908. The requirements for applying issue preclusion are set forth in Restatement (Second) of Judgments § 27:
When an issue of fact or law is actually litigated and determined by a valid and final judgment, and the determination is essential to the judgment, the determination is conclusive in a subsequent action between the parties, whether on the same or a different claim.