Hamilton v. Alabama Department of Corrections et al (INMATE 2)
ORDER: It is hereby Ordered as follows. 1. The objections of the Plaintiff are Overruled. 2. The court adopts the 59 Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge.3. Defendants motions for summary judgment (Docs # 28 and 38 ) are Granted and this case is Dismissed with prejudice. 4. Costs are taxed against the Plaintiff. 5. Judgment will be entered in favor of the Defendants. Signed by Honorable Judge W. Harold Albritton, III on 9/23/2016. (kh, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
DAVID D. HAMILTON, # 136399,
ALABAMA DEPT. OF CORRECTIONS,
CASSANDRA CONWAY, DEWAYNE
ESTES, & CAROLYN GOLSON,
CIVIL ACTION NO. 2:13-CV-281-WHA
This 42 U.S.C. § 1983 case is before the court on the Recommendation of the Magistrate
Judge in which the Magistrate Judge recommended that defendants’ motion for summary
judgment be granted as barred by the doctrine of res judicata. Plaintiff has filed objections. (Doc.
Plaintiff’s first objection regarding the court’s application of res judicata to his complaint
is that this defense does not apply to a decision by an administrative agency. The Magistrate
Judge did not rely on an administrative agency decision to dismiss this action under res judicata.
Rather, the Magistrate Judge relied on the fact that on April 5, 2012, Plaintiff filed suit against
Carolyn Golson and the Alabama Department of Corrections (“ADOC”) in the Circuit Court for
Montgomery County, Hamilton v. Golson, et al., wherein Plaintiff challenged his prison
classification as a sex offender. The basis for the state civil action involves the same factual
predicate presented to this court to support Plaintiff’s § 1983 complaint. The decision of the state
court regarding Plaintiff’s civil action constituted a decision on the merits and operated as a final
judgment. See Rule 41(b), ALA. R. CIV. P. (“Unless the court in its order for dismissal otherwise
specifies, a dismissal under this subdivision and any dismissal not provided for in this rule, other
than a dismissal for lack of jurisdiction, for improper venue, or for failure to join a party under
Rule 19, operates as an adjudication upon the merits.”)
Next, plaintiff concedes that the Montgomery County Circuit Court is a court of
competent jurisdiction, but appears to argue that because he had no trial or hearing regarding his
civil action, res judicata does not apply. The Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Alabama, is
a court of competent jurisdiction. Ala. Code § 12-11-30(1) (1975). Whether it held a hearing
and/or trial on the matter before it is irrelevant for res judicata purposes.
Regarding the identity of the parties component of res judicata, plaintiff argues that
defendant Conway “would not be identical without apportionment liability.” This theory of tort
liability is inapplicable to a determination of whether defendant Conway is in privity by law with
the other defendants named in both the prior state court action and the instant complaint. Because
the Magistrate Judge found that defendant Conway has an identity of interest in plaintiff’s prior
state court litigation, the Magistrate Judge determined that she was in privity with her fellow
defendants such that she could take advantage of the previous adjudication in their favor. The
Finally, plaintiff maintains that he did not bring the same cause of action in the state court
as he presents in his § 1983 complaint. In both his state court complaint and the instant § 1983
complaint, Plaintiff challenges as erroneous and/or improper, under both state law and the
Constitution, his classification as a sex offender and requests that the “S” suffix be removed from
his AIS number. The claims brought by Plaintiff in this case arise out of the same “nucleus of
operative facts,” or same factual predicates, as alleged in the earlier state court complaint. As
explained in the Recommendation:
It is critical that the same facts must substantially support both
It is well-settled that the principle test for comparing causes of
action for the application of res judicata is whether the primary
right and duty or wrong are the same in each action. Res judicata
applies not only to the exact legal theories advanced in the prior
case, but to all legal theories and claims arising out of the same
nucleus of operative facts . . . . As it is sometimes stated, where
two successive suits seek recovery for the same injury, a judgment
on the merits operates as a bar to the later suit, even though a
different legal theory of recovery is advanced in the second suit.
Old Republic Ins. Co. v. Lanier, 790 So. 2d 922, 928–29 (Ala.
2000) (quotation marks and citations omitted) (emphasis in
(Doc. # 59, p. 4). Such is the case here.
For these reasons, after conducting an independent evaluation and de novo review of the
file in this case, it is hereby Ordered as follows.
1. The objections of the Plaintiff are Overruled.
2. The court adopts the Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge.
3. Defendant’s motions for summary judgment (Docs # 28 and 38) are Granted and this case
is Dismissed with prejudice.
4. Costs are taxed against the Plaintiff.
5. Judgment will be entered in favor of the Defendants.
Done this 23rd day of September, 2016.
/s/ W. Harold Albritton
W. HAROLD ALBRITTON
SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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