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Powell v. Gray

United States District Court, District of Columbia

November 25, 2014

Theodore E. Powell, Plaintiff,
v.
Mayor Vincent C. Gray et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

RUDOLPH CONTRERAS, District Judge.

Plaintiff is a former teacher with the District of Columbia Public Schools who has submitted a complaint that once again challenges his termination on November 2010. For the following reasons, the Court will grant plaintiff's accompanying motion to proceed in forma pauperis and dismiss the case.

"As the plaintiff well knows, his exclusive remedy... comes by way of the District of Columbia's Comprehensive Merit Personnel Act" and judicial review in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Powell v. Gray, No. 13-1568, 2013 WL 5615129, at *1 (D.D.C. Sept. 26, 2013) (citing Powell v. Am. Fed. of Teachers, 883 F.Supp.2d 183, 187 (D.D.C. 2012)) (other citations omitted). "[P]laintiff [] has no recourse in this Court." Id.

In addition, the instant complaint is procedurally barred to the extent that it is based on previously adjudicated facts. See Powell, 883 F.Supp.2d at 184-85. 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)). And 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)). A separate Order of dismissal accompanies this Memorandum Opinion.


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