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Mwabira-Simera v. Howard University

United States District Court, District Circuit

December 9, 2013

Samuel H. Mwabira-Simera, Plaintiff,
v.
Howard University et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

ELLEN S. HUVELLE, District Judge.

This matter, brought pro se, is before the Court on its initial review of the complaint and application to proceed in forma pauperis. Plaintiff sues Howard University, the University's President, and other high-level administrators under several federal anti-discrimination laws for "academic and employment discrimination" that allegedly occurred while he was a graduate student in the School of Engineering from Spring semester 1997 to Spring semester 2002. Compl. ΒΆΒΆ 5-6, 10. Since this action is based on the same events underlying the claims adjudicated in Mwabira-Simera v. Howard University, 692 F.Supp.2d 65 (D.D.C. 2010), the Court will grant plaintiff's in forma pauperis application and will dismiss this case as procedurally barred.

Under the principle of res judicata, a final judgment on the merits in one action "bars any further claim based on the same nucleus of facts'...." Page v. United States, 729 F.2d 818, 820 (D.C. Cir. 1984) (quoting Expert Elec., Inc. v. Levine, 554 F.2d 1227, 1234 (D.C. Cir. 1977)). Res judicata bars the relitigation "of issues that were or could have been raised in [the prior] action." Drake v. FAA, 291 F.3d 59, 66 (D.C. Cir. 2002) (emphasis in original) (citing Allen v. McCurry, 449 U.S. 90, 94 (1980)); see I.A.M. Nat'l Pension Fund v. Indus. Gear Mfg. Co., 723 F.2d 944, 949 (D.C. Cir. 1983) (noting that res judicata "forecloses all that which might have been litigated previously"); accord Crowder v. Bierman, Geesing, and Ward LLC, 713 F.Supp.2d 6, 10 (D.D.C.2010). Although res judicata is an affirmative defense that typically must be pled, courts "may raise the res judicata preclusion defense sua sponte, " Rosendahl v. Nixon, 360 Fed.Appx. 167, 168 (D.C. Cir. 2010) (citing Arizona v. California, 530 U.S. 392, 412-13 (2000); Brown v. D.C., 514 F.3d 1279, 1285-86 (D.C. Cir. 2008)), and a "district court may apply res judicata upon taking judicial notice of [a] [party's] previous case." Tinsley v. Equifax Credit Info. Serv's, Inc., No. 99-7031, 1999 WL 506720 (D.C. Cir. June 2, 1999) (per curiam) (citing Gullo v. Veterans Cooperative Housing Ass'n, 269 F.2d 517 (D.C. Cir. 1959) (per curiam)).

The instant complaint presents claims that were (or could have been) adjudicated on the merits in the earlier case. See generally Mwabira-Simera, 692 F.Supp.2d 65 (granting the University's summary judgment motion and awarding judgment accordingly). Hence, plaintiff is precluded from litigating his claims anew. A separate Order of dismissal accompanies this Memorandum Opinion.


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