Hooper, Charles v. Pederson, Gary et al
ORDER denying plaintiff's request for leave to proceed and dismissing this case as barred by the doctrine of res judicata. Signed by District Judge William M. Conley on 12/26/2013. (jef),(ps)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF WISCONSIN
CHARLES WILLIAM HOOPER,
OPINION AND ORDER
CHARLES WILLIAM HOOPER,
OPINION AND ORDER
CAPTAIN GARY PEDERSON, et al.,
Former state inmate Charles William Hooper filed two proposed civil actions
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, both alleging that his constitutional rights were violated
while he was incarcerated. Hooper also requested leave to proceed in forma pauperis in
The federal in forma pauperis statute requires this court to screen all
complaints filed by indigent litigants and dismiss any portion that is legally frivolous,
malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted or seeks monetary relief
from a defendant who by law cannot be sued for money damages. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e).
Even under the lenient standard that governs pro se pleadings, neither of Hooper’s
complaints may proceed further.
ALLEGATIONS OF FACT
In addressing any pro se litigant’s pleadings, the court must read the allegations of
the complaint generously. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 521 (1972). For purposes of
this order, the court accepts plaintiff’s well-pleaded allegations as true and assumes the
probative facts that follow.
Hooper presently resides in Chicago, Illinois. In 2009, Hooper was incarcerated
by the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (“WDOC”) at the Kettle Moraine
Correctional Institution (“KCMI”) and that he was confined at the Juneau County Jail.
Both of his pending lawsuits were filed after Hooper’s release from state custody.
In Case No. 12-cv-665, Hooper sues “Deputy Myers,” who works as a correctional
officer at KCMI.
Hooper contends that Myers violated his constitutional rights by
placing him in “a cold cell with no clothing, no blankets and no food for 24 hours.”
Hooper explains that he was housed in “segregation” or protective custody during this
time following an assault by other inmates. As a result, Hooper also maintains that he
was denied an opportunity to attend the feast of Ramadan, as well as “visitation, phone
calls and outgoing mail by the prison.” Hooper concludes his one-paragraph complaint
with a request for “$1 million for the pain and suffering that was [in]flicted by the prison
and Officer Myers.”
In Case No. 12-cv-666, Hooper sues the following officers and deputies employed
at the Juneau County Jail: Captain Gary Pederson, Deputy Saunburg, Captain Steven
Coronado, Deputy Graves, Deputy Neil Neville, Deputy Fave, Deputy Tole and Deputy
Cook. Again in a one-paragraph complaint, Hooper alleges in conclusory fashion that his
constitutional rights were violated in the following manner: (1) he was denied medical
care for an unspecified ailment; (2) “false complaints” were filed against him; (3) he was
subjected to racial epithets; (4) he was denied “equal treatment” because of his race; (5)
Captain Coronado denied him the right to practice his Muslim beliefs; (6) he was denied
a mattress “for weeks at a time”; (7) he was beaten by Deputies Fave, Tole and Cook at
Captain Pederson’s direction; and (8) he was falsely imprisoned by the State of
Wisconsin. Hooper seeks $20 million in damages for the pain and suffering caused by
Hooper may not proceed because the claims raised in the above-referenced
complaints were litigated previously in this district and dismissed with prejudice pursuant
to a judgment that has become final for purposes of res judicata. The doctrine of res
judicata, otherwise known as claim preclusion, bars parties from relitigating those claims
that were or could have been litigated previously. See Federated Dep’t Stores, Inc. v. Moitie,
452 U.S. 394, 398 (1981) (citations omitted). Res judicata applies if there is: “(1) a final
judgment on the merits in an earlier action, (2) an identity of the cause of action in both
the earlier and later suit, and (3) an identity of parties or privies in the two suits.” Tartt
v. Northwest Comm. Hosp. and Northwest Suburban Anesthesiologists, Ltd., 453 F.3d 817, 822
(7th Cir. 2006) (quoting Smith v. City of Chicago, 820 F.2d 916, 917 (7th Cir. 1987)
The claims that Hooper now requests leave to pursue in Case No. 12-cv-665 were
litigated previously against the same parties in Hooper v. Kettle Moraine Correctional Center
and Officer Myers, Case No. 11-cv-11-slc (W.D. Wis.). After he was granted leave to
proceed with his claims against Myers, Hooper failed to participate in more than one
pretrial conference and did not appear for his deposition.
When Hooper failed to
respond to Myers’s motion for summary judgment, the court asked Hooper to show
cause why his case should not be dismissed with prejudice pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P.
41(b) for failure to prosecute. Hooper did not respond. Therefore, the court entered
judgment in favor of the defendants and dismissed Case No. 11-cv-11 on May 7, 2012.
The claims that Hooper now seeks leave to pursue in Case No. 12-cv-666 were
also litigated in two earlier civil actions against the same Juneau County defendants. See
Hooper v. Juneau County Jail, Captain Coronado, Lt. Pederson, Deputy Graves and Officer
Neville, Case No. 10-cv-743-slc (W.D. Wis.); Hooper v. Lt. Gary Pederson, Deputy Saunburg,
Deputy Fave, Deputy Tole and Deputy Cook, Case No. 11-cv-571-slc (W.D. Wis.). Those
cases were ultimately consolidated and the defendants filed a motion to dismiss pursuant
to Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(b) after Hooper failed for a third time to attend a scheduled
deposition. When Hooper also failed to respond to that motion, this court issued an
order directing Hooper to show cause why Case Nos. 10-cv-743 and 11-cv-571 should
not be dismissed with prejudice pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(b). Receiving no response
from Hooper, the court dismissed Case Nos. 10-cv-743 and 11-cv-571 on May 11, 2012,
Hooper failed to pursue an appeal from the dismissal of any of these previous
cases, although court records reflect that Hooper eventually filed motions for relief from
the final judgment entered in Case Nos. 10-cv-743, 11-cv-11 and 11-cv-571. Hooper
explained that he was unable to litigate in those cases because he was incarcerated from
March through May of 2012. The court found that Hooper’s explanation was false. On
the contrary, the record contained evidence showing that Hooper was in custody for only
one day during the pertinent time-period. Finding no valid reason for Hooper’s failure to
prosecute his claims, the court denied relief from these final judgments. Hooper again
chose not to pursue any appeal from that decision.
Where a plaintiff does not pursue an appeal from a dismissal entered pursuant to
Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(b), the dismissal operates as a final judgment on the merits for
purposes of the doctrine of res judicata. See Tartt, 453 F.3d 822; see also La Beau v. Taco
Bell, 892 F.2d 605, 607 (7th Cir. 1989) (holding that a dismissal for want of prosecution
under Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(b) operates as “a binding adjudication on the merits” unless the
court specifies otherwise). Based on information contained in the complaint, and taking
judicial notice of court records from Case Nos. 10-cv-743, 11-cv-11 and 11-cv-571,
Hooper had an opportunity to litigate the same claims that he attempts to re-assert
against the same defendants in Case Nos. 12-cv-665 and 12-cv-666.
claims were dismissed pursuant to a final judgment on the merits, the complaints in these
two pending cases must be dismissed as barred by the doctrine of res judicata. See Taylor
v. Sturgell, 553 U.S. 880, 892 (2008); King v. Burlington N. & Santa Fe Ry., 538 F.3d 814,
818 (7th Cir. 2008).
IT IS ORDERED that Plaintiff Charles William Hooper’s request for leave for
leave to proceed in Case Nos. 12-cv-665 and 12-cv-666 is DENIED and both of these
cases are DISMISSED as barred by the doctrine of res judicata.
Entered this 26th day of December, 2013.
BY THE COURT:
WILLIAM M. CONLEY
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?