United States District Court, District of Columbia
February 21, 2014
David Earl Wattleton, Plaintiff,
Eric Himpton Holder, Jr., Defendant.
The plaintiff is an individual civilly committed pursuant to 18 U.S.C § 4243 at the Federal Medical Center in Rochester, Minnesota. He has submitted an "Emergency Application for Expedited Mandatory Preliminary Injunctive Relief and Declaratory Judgment and Damages, " construed as a complaint, in which he again claims that "the term 'writ of habeas corpus' as used in sub-section (g) of [18 U.S.C. § 4247] is unconstitutionally vague and should be stuck down . . .." Id. at 1. The plaintiff has already unsuccessfully litigated this issue. See Wattleton v. Holder, No. 13-0375, 2013 WL 1222943 (D.D.C. Mar. 22, 2013), aff'd, 534 Fed.Appx. 3 (D.C. Cir. 2013). Hence, this case will be dismissed 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)). Res judicata therefore forecloses this action.