William Hinton v. Edward Goewey, et al
Filed Nonprecedential Disposition PER CURIAM. AFFIRMED. Diane P. Wood, Chief Judge; Joel M. Flaum, Circuit Judge and Diane S. Sykes, Circuit Judge. [6894386-1]  [17-1404]
To be cited only in accordance with Fed. R. App. P. 32.1
United States Court of Appeals
For the Seventh Circuit
Chicago, Illinois 60604
Submitted December 21, 2017*
Decided January 5, 2018
DIANE P. WOOD, Chief Judge
JOEL M. FLAUM, Circuit Judge
DIANE S. SYKES, Circuit Judge
WILLIAM L. HINTON,
EDWARD GOEWEY, et al.,
Appeal from the United States District
Court for the Northern Division
of Illinois, Eastern Division.
No. 16 C 5231
John Robert Blakey,
O R D E R
William Hinton, an Illinois inmate, appeals the dismissal of his civil‐rights suit
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on claim preclusion grounds. We affirm.
In the first of his two suits, Hinton filed a form complaint alleging that on
May 17, 2014, several police officers unlawfully searched and arrested him.
* We agreed to decide the case without oral argument because the briefs and record
adequately present the facts and legal arguments, and oral argument would not
significantly aid the court. FED. R. APP. P. 34(a)(2)(C).
Judge Der‐Yeghiayan reviewed the complaint and noticed that Hinton had not listed
any previously filed cases in state or federal court, despite a printed warning—in all
capital letters—on the form about a plaintiff’s obligation to disclose his litigation
history. The warning set forth the possible consequences of noncompliance:
IF YOU HAVE FILED MORE THAN ONE LAWSUIT, THEN YOU MUST
DESCRIBE THE ADDITIONAL LAWSUITS ON ANOTHER PIECE OF
PAPER, USING THIS SAME FORMAT. REGARDLESS OF HOW MANY
CASES YOU HAVE PREVIOUSLY FILED, YOU WILL NOT BE EXCUSED
FROM FILLING OUT THIS SECTION COMPLETELY, AND FAILURE
TO DO SO MAY RESULT IN DISMISSAL OF YOUR CASE.
The court discovered from its docketing system that Hinton had in fact filed four
federal lawsuits from 2011 to 2012. Concluding that Hinton “concealed facts relating to
prior litigation,” the court dismissed the action.
Nearly a year later, Hinton filed his second form complaint, this time alleging
that on May 17, 2014, the officers, along with several prosecuting attorneys and the
judge who presided over a criminal matter in state court, had violated his rights in
connection with an unlawful search and seizure. The allegations mirrored those he
presented in the prior suit, but this time he included information about five lawsuits he
had filed between 2011 and 2015. Judge Blakey initially allowed Hinton to proceed on
his claims against the police officers, but later granted the officers’ motion to dismiss the
complaint on grounds that it was barred by claim preclusion. The judge explained that
Hinton’s two complaints were “nearly identical” in that they named the same officers
and raised claims that arose out of the same underlying encounter. The judge went on
to consider the remaining element in a claim‐preclusion inquiry—whether the dismissal
of the first case was a final judgment on the merits—and concluded that it was:
Judge Der‐Yeghiayan stated that he had dismissed the action because Hinton concealed
facts relating to prior litigation and that the case was “terminated.”
Hinton’s briefs are barebones and difficult to parse, see FED. R. APP. P. 28(a)(8);
Anderson v. Hardman, 241 F.3d 544, 545–46 (7th Cir. 2001), but we understand him
generally to challenge the district court’s claim‐preclusion analysis. We agree with
Judge Blakey, however, that claim preclusion applies here. The doctrine of claim
preclusion bars a party from relitigating a claim that was decided or could have been
decided in an earlier suit. Barr v. Bd. of Trs. of W. Ill. Univ., 796 F.3d 837, 840 (7th Cir.
2015). And all requirements for claim preclusion have been met: the parties in this suit
are the same as in the prior case; the allegations involve the same operative facts;
and there was a final judgment in the prior suit. Id. Although in the prior suit
Judge Der‐Yeghiayan did not reach the substance of Hinton’s claims, the language of
his ruling (“Civil case terminated. All pending motions . . . are stricken as moot.”) made
clear that he intended the dismissal to be final, with prejudice, thereby terminating any
claims that Hinton may have had against these defendants arising out of this set of
operative facts. See Hernandez v. Dart, 814 F.3d 836, 841 (7th Cir. 2016). The order
therefore operates as an adjudication upon the merits for claim‐preclusion purposes
and bars Hinton from returning to the same court with the same underlying claim.
Semtek Int’l Inc. v. Lockheed Martin Corp., 531 U.S. 497, 505–06 (2001) (“‘[W]ith prejudice’
is an acceptable form of shorthand for ‘an adjudication upon the merits.’”) (citation and
quotation marks omitted); see Claiborne v. Wisdom, 414 F.3d 715, 719 (7th Cir. 2005); Fed.
Election Comm’n v. Al Salvi for Senate Comm., 205 F.3d 1015, 1019–20 (7th Cir. 2000).
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