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DOYEL v. CITY OF MARIANNA

June 20, 1985

PEARL DOYEL, PLAINTIFF
v.
CITY OF MARIANNA, Marianna Building Inspector LLOYD WILSON, and JACK GENTRY, DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: ROY

 Pending before the Court is the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendants City of Marianna and Marianna Building Inspector Lloyd Wilson.

 The City and Wilson assert in their Motion that this action is barred as to them because of the doctrines of res judicata and collateral estoppel.

 On July 22, 1983 the City filed a Petition for Declaratory Judgment in the Chancery Court of Lee County, Arkansas asking the court to determine "what rights, if any, the citizens of the City of Marianna have to locate trailers or mobile homes in areas designated R-3 Residential and in other areas in the City of Marianna. . . ." Plaintiff and her daughter, Alyce Doyel Wheeler, filed a Complaint In Intervention in that action on September 6, 1983 recounting her unsuccessful efforts to obtain a permit from Mr. Wilson. She alleged the refusal to issue the permit was "arbitrary and capricious in view of the fact that a permit was issued to Janette Jaco. . . .", that there was no established procedure to issue permits and that the ordinance was "unconstitutional on its face because it is unreasonably vague upon its face." On January 4, 1984 the Chancellor held for the City in all respects and ordered Plaintiff to remove the mobile home from her lot. This decision was not appealed. On April 27, 1984 Plaintiff filed the present federal action.

 Defendants rely upon the Supreme Court's decision in Allen v. McCurry, 449 U.S. 90, 66 L. Ed. 2d 308, 101 S. Ct. 411 (1980) in support of their res judicata defense. In that action based upon 42 U.S.C. § 1983 the Supreme Court held that a state court judgment must be given the same preclusive effect by a federal court that it would have enjoyed in another court of that state. This rule has been applied in civil rights cases. Kremer v. Chemical Const. Corp., 456 U.S. 461, 72 L. Ed. 2d 262, 102 S. Ct. 1883 (1982). The Eighth Circuit has recently applied these principles in a civil rights case. Leslie v. Bolen, 762 F.2d 663 (8th Cir. 1985) (per curiam).

 These decisions are premised upon the United States Constitution's Full Faith and Credit Clause as implemented by 28 U.S.C. § 1738 which requires federal courts to give the records and judicial proceedings of a state the same "full faith and credit in every court within the United States and its Territories and Possessions as they have by law or usage in the courts of such State . . . from which they are taken." Allen held only that issues actually litigated in the state court are entitled to the same preclusive effect in a subsequent § 1983 action in federal court as they have in other courts of that state. The preclusive effect of a state court judgment as to a federal issue which could have been raised in state court but was not so raised was not determined in Allen. 449 U.S. at 97 n. 10. However, this question was finally settled by the Supreme Court in Migra v. Warren City School District Board of Education, 465 U.S. 75, 104 S. Ct. 892, 79 L. Ed. 2d 56 (1984). In that case the Plaintiff sued her former employer, a school board, and three of its members in state court for breach of contract and wrongful interference with her contract of employment as the result of her termination. The state court ordered her reinstated and awarded her compensatory damages. she then filed a complaint in federal court against the Board, its members and the Superintendent of schools alleging violations of 1st, 5th and 14th amendment rights, seeking redress under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and § 1985. Plaintiff argued that because she did not litigate her § 1983 federal claim in state court, the state court judgment does not preclude her suit in federal court. The Supreme Court refused to limit the preclusive effect to issues actually litigated in state court. The Court said:

 
Id. 104 S. Ct. at 900.

 The Supreme Court said that it was more important to give full faith and credit to state judgments than to guarantee a state forum for a state claim and a federal forum for a federal claim.

 The Court finds Migra is controlling in this case so that if the Plaintiff's claim would be precluded in an Arkansas state court, even though it had not been previously litigated, then it is precluded here.

 The next step in the analysis of the Motion for Summary Judgment is to determine if the state courts of Arkansas would be precluded from hearing this claim because of the Chancery Court judgment. The Arkansas Supreme Court has said:

 
Generally speaking, it [res judicata] applies when there has been a final adjudication on the merits of an issue, . . ., by a court of competent jurisdiction, on the matters litigated or which might have been litigated. [citations omitted] It is res judicata even though not adjudicated if the matters were necessarily within the issues and might have been litigated in the former suit. [citations omitted] The exact same ...

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