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Tony A. Wilson v. Sahbra Smook Jacobs

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY


December 28, 2010

TONY A. WILSON,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
SAHBRA SMOOK JACOBS, DEFENDANT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mary L. Cooper United States District Judge

NOT FOR PUBLICATION

OPINION

THE PLAINTIFF PRO SE applies for in-forma-pauperis relief under 28 U.S.C. § ("Section") 1915 ("IFP Application"). (Dkt. entry no. 1, Appl.) This Court, based upon the plaintiff's financial situation, will (1) grant the IFP Application, and (2) deem the Complaint to be filed. The Court may now (1) review the Complaint, and (2) dismiss it sua sponte if it is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). The Court will dismiss the Complaint, as it is frivolous and fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted.

THE PLAINTIFF brought an earlier action ("First Action") against the same defendant named in this action ("Second Action"), alleging constitutional violations due to the manner in which the defendant was processing the plaintiff's application for admission to the bar for the State of New Jersey. See Wilson v. Jacobs, No. 08-4795, 2009 WL 1968788, at *1 (D.N.J. July 1, 2009). This Court, inter alia, dismissed the amended complaint in the First Action, because (1) the plaintiff's claims were not ripe for judicial action, and (2) an award of relief to the plaintiff would be akin to an advisory opinion. Id. at *3-5. This Court also noted that federal courts are reluctant to review decisions by state courts concerning admissions to that state's bar. Id. at *5.

THE THIRD CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS, in affirming this Court's decision, agreed that the plaintiff's claims were not ripe for adjudication. See Wilson v. Jacobs, 350 Fed.Appx. 614, 615-16 (3d Cir. 2009). The United States Supreme Court denied the plaintiff's petition for a writ of certiorari on March 1, 2010. See 130 S.Ct. 1700 (2010).*fn1

THE PLAINTIFF now asserts identical claims in the Second Action. (Dkt. entry no. 1, Compl.) But the plaintiff's claims remain barred, as they are not yet ripe for adjudication. See Wilson v. Jacobs, 350 Fed.Appx. at 615-16.

THE CLAIMS in the Second Action are also barred by res judicata and collateral estoppel. This Court may sua sponte consider these affirmative defenses when reviewing claims by a pro se plaintiff in conjunction with an IFP application. See McMillian v. Trans World Airlines, 331 Fed.Appx. 103, 104 (3d Cir. 2009) (dismissing appeal from district court order sua sponte dismissing complaint on res judicata grounds under Section 1915); Britt v. United Steel Workers Local 2367, 319 Fed.Appx. 89, 90 (3d Cir. 2008) (affirming order sua sponte dismissing complaint for same); Agcaoili v. Wiersielis, 273 Fed.Appx. 138, 138-39 (3d Cir. 2008) (affirming judgment sua sponte dismissing complaint for same). Res judicata applies, as (1) the order in the First Action is valid, final, and on the merits, (2) the parties in both of the actions are the same, and (3) the claims in the Second Action arise from the same transactions or occurrences as the claims in the First Action. See Migra v. Warren City Sch. Dist. Bd. of Educ., 465 U.S. 75, 77 n.1 (1984); Sibert v. Phelan, 901 F.Supp. 183, 186 (D.N.J. 1995). Collateral estoppel also applies, as (1) the identical issues were decided in the prior adjudication in the First Action, (2) there was a final judgment on the merits issued in the First Action, (3) the defendant here was a party to the prior adjudication, and (4) the plaintiff had a full and fair opportunity to litigate the issues in question. See Bd. of Trs. of Trucking Emps. of N. Jersey Welfare Fund v. Centra, 983 F.2d 495, 505 (3d Cir. 1992).*fn2

THE COURT will dismiss the Complaint for the aforementioned reasons. The Court will issue an appropriate order and judgment.

Mary L. Cooper


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