United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
WILLIAM G. YOUNG, DISTRICT JUDGE
plaintiff Demond Hicks (“Hicks”) sued Lieutenant
James Redd, Jr. (“Redd”) under section 1983 of
chapter 42 of the United States Code for alleged violations
of his Eighth Amendment rights. Compl., ECF No. 1. Redd seeks
dismissal of the action on the basis of non-mutual claim
preclusion. Def.'s Mot. Dismiss Claim Preclusion, ECF No.
12; Mem. Law Supp. Def.'s Mot. Dismiss Claim Preclusion
(“Def.'s Mem. Claim Preclusion”), ECF No. 13.
Redd contends that the Court's final judgment in
Hicks' earlier lawsuit against Redd's subordinates
precludes this suit. See Judgment, Hicks v.
Public Safety Sec'y, No. 17- cv-10195-WGY, ECF No.
73 (D. Mass. Oct. 12, 2018) (“Hicks I”),
appeal docketed, No. 18-2041 (1st Cir. Oct. 24,
present motion requires the Court to consider the bounds of
PRINCIPLES OF RES JUDICATA
res judicata “has the dual purpose of
protecting litigants from the burden of relitigating an
identical issue with the same party or his privy and of
promoting judicial economy by preventing needless
litigation.” Parklane Hosiery Co., Inc. v.
Shore, 439 U.S. 322, 326 (1979). To this end, the
federal rules and courts encourage litigants to bring all
related claims in a single lawsuit. The rules do so, in part,
by disallowing suits seeking to adjudicate claims that arise
from the same nucleus of operative fact as claims that were
previously adjudicated, and that were, or could have been,
brought. Gonzalez v. Banco Cent. Corp., 27 F.3d 751,
755-56 (1st Cir. 1994) (citing Kale v. Combined Ins.
Co., 924 F.2d 1161, 1165 (1st Cir. 1991)); see
also Fed.R.Civ.P. 18, 19, 20 (liberally permitting
joinder of claims and parties).
the federal rules facilitate claim preclusion with liberal
amendment standards; pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 15, a plaintiff may amend his or her complaint as
matter of right within 21 days of service of the complaint or
a responsive pleading, but also anytime thereafter with the
permission of the opposing party or the court, which the
court is “freely to give . . . when justice so
requires.” Finally, “the achievement of
substantial justice rather than symmetry is the measure of
the fairness of the rules of res
judicata.” Blonder-Tongue Labs. v.
University of Ill. Found., 402 U.S. 313, 325 (1971)
(quoting Bruszewski v. United States, 181 F.2d 419,
421 (3d Cir. 1950)).
Hicks did not have an opportunity to sue Redd for alleged
violations of his Eighth Amendment rights despite his sincere
efforts beginning early in the litigation. Applying the above
principles to the present case, the Court rules that
substantial justice is best achieved by allowing Hicks'
case against Redd to move forward.
attempt to sue Redd has taken a circuitous route, which the
Court sketches out as it is relevant here. See
Medina-Padilla v. United States Aviation Underwriters,
Inc., 815 F.3d 83, 85-86 (1st Cir. 2016) (“Where a
motion to dismiss is premised on res judicata, [the court]
may take into account, in addition to the well-pleaded facts
in the complaint, the record in the original action.”).
February 1, 2017, Hicks filed a complaint against Daniel
Bennett, the Secretary of the Massachusetts Executive Office
of Public Safety and Security, and the Massachusetts
Department of Corrections (“the Department”)
alleging various violations of the Americans with
Disabilities Act and section 1983 of chapter 42 of the United
States Code. Compl., Hicks I, ECF No. 1. After
Bennett and the Department moved to dismiss, Defs.' Mot.
Dismiss Failure State Claim and Mem. Law Supp. Defs.'
Mot. Dismiss Failure State Claim, Hicks I, ECF Nos.
11-12, Hicks voluntarily dismissed Bennett and sought leave
to amend to add three additional defendants: Officers
“McGlynn” and “Povado” and Lieutenant
“Redd, ” Notice Voluntary Dismissal Secretary
Bennett and Mot. Amend Compl. Add 3 Defs., Hicks I,
ECF Nos. 15-16.
April 4, 2017, the Court allowed the Department's pending
motion to dismiss “without prejudice to the filing of a
motion to amend setting forth a plausible claim for relief
against the individuals sought to be added as
defendants.” Order, Hicks I, ECF No. 20.
thus once again filed for leave to amend, with one critical
error: in his motion to amend, he expressed an intent to
“amend to reflect the identity and the actions of
officers McGlynn, Povado, Redd, ” Mot. Leave File Am.
Compl. Pursuant Ct.'s Order 4/4/17, Hicks I, ECF
No. 22, but in the proposed complaint attached to his motion,
he named only McGlynn and Polvado, Am. Compl., Hicks
I, ECF No. 22-1. This seeming oversight ultimately
doomed Hicks' ability to include Redd in his original
April 13, 2017, the Court denied Hicks' motion to file an
amended complaint, ruling that there were no allegations
“concerning who, if anyone, is alleged deliberately to
have denied the petitioner necessary medical care.”
Order, Hicks I, ECF No. 25.
review, the First Circuit affirmed “the dismissal of
all claims except for the Eighth Amendment Claim, ”
ruling the allegations “sufficient to withstand a
motion to dismiss an ...