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SADLER v. BROWN

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK


June 23, 1992

ARLEAMON SADLER, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
LEE P. BROWN, et al., Defendants.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOHN E. SPRIZZO

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

 SPRIZZO, D.J.:

 Plaintiff Arleamon Sadler, Jr. brings this action pro se against thirty-six defendants, including numerous government officials and agencies of the city and state of New York, federal government agencies, judges, and assorted private entities and individuals. Plaintiff seeks damages of $ 100 trillion and injunctive relief stemming from defendants' alleged violations both of plaintiff's civil rights under 42 U.S.C. ยงยง 1983 and 1985(3), *fn1" and plaintiff's constitutional rights under the First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments. Defendants move, inter alia, to dismiss plaintiff's complaint on grounds of res judicata; *fn2" failure to comply with the requirements of Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a), and for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). *fn3" For the reasons that follow, defendants' motions are granted and the complaint is dismissed with prejudice.

 BACKGROUND

 Plaintiff alleges that after he reported a potential case of police corruption to the Internal Affairs Unit of the New York City Police Department in August 1989, defendants responded by placing him under constant surveillance. See Plaintiff's Complaint PP3-4 ("Compl."). Plaintiff conclusorily asserts that his "mail was tampered with, his phone conversations tapped, his right to earn a living as he see [sic] fit denied, his right to travel and associate hampered and obstructed, [and] his access to legal agencies and the services of said agencies denied. . .," see Compl. P5, with the consequence that plaintiff has been placed in a state of involuntary slavery. See Compl. PP4-5. Plaintiff also alleges, even more generally, that defendants have violated his dismissed as untimely on February 13, 1991, six days before he filed the instant complaint. Plaintiff also filed a complaint on August 27, 1990 alleging that New York City Mayor David N. Dinkins and Deputy Mayor Bill Lynch attempted to prevent his attorney from advising him regarding the aforesaid action. This second action was assigned to Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum and was dismissed on November 7, 1990, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim. Despite plaintiff's reference to his attorney in both the second action and the instant action, he prosecuted all three actions pro se. Plaintiff filed the present complaint on February 19, 1991.

 DISCUSSION

 The doctrine of res judicata operates to preclude litigation of a cause of action previously decided on its merits by a court of competent jurisdiction in a case involving the same parties or their privies. Commissioner v. Sunnen, 333 U.S. 591, 597, 92 L. Ed. 898, 68 S. Ct. 715 (1948). To prevail on a defense of res judicata, the law of this Circuit requires that a defendant establish that there was a "final judgment on the merits" in the prior action, that issues raised in the subsequent action were identical to those decided in the prior action, and that the party against whom the defense is asserted was a party in the prior action. Kreager v. General Electric Company, 497 F.2d 468, 472 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 419 U.S. 861, 42 L. Ed. 2d 95, 95 S. Ct. 111, reh'g denied, 419 U.S. 1041, 42 L. Ed. 2d 319, 95 S. Ct. 530 (1974).

 Plaintiff alleges the same nucleus of facts in the instant case as those alleged in the case filed before Judge Kram. The determination whether claims are duplicative for purposes of res rights to free speech and of the press, to due process and equal protection of the law, and to privacy. See Compl. PP7-9. *fn4"

  In December 1989, plaintiff filed a similar action before Judge Shirley Wohl Kram of this court, asserting claims based on the same transactions or occurrences as those alleged in the instant action. On June 21, 1990, Judge Kram dismissed plaintiff's amended complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). Plaintiff appealed from the dismissal of his amended complaint which was judicata "is not a matter of precision, nor subject to the application of any mechanical formula." Expert Electric v. Levine, 554 F.2d 1227, 1234 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 434 U.S. 903, 54 L. Ed. 2d 190, 98 S. Ct. 300 (1977). Both complaints allege that, at approximately the same time in 1989, plaintiff reported a possible case of police corruption to the Internal Affairs Unit, and that thereafter, defendants conspired to place him under constant surveillance, to tap his telephone, to hamper his ability to travel, and to obstruct his access to public places and the courts. *fn5" Accordingly, the Court finds that the two complaints plead an identity of facts concerning the same transactions or occurrences. See id. at 1234.

 The requirement of identity of parties is also satisfied. Plaintiff, as he presently does here, both instituted and prosecuted the previous action, thus clearly meeting the requirement "that the party bound [be] in substance the one whose interests were at stake in the prior litigation." Id. at 1233.

 Finally, the prior decision was on the merits. Rule 41(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that a dismissal of an action upon a motion by the defendant, unless otherwise specified by the court dismissing the action, shall constitute an adjudication on the merits. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(b); Bell v. Hood, 327 U.S. 678, 682, 90 L. Ed. 939, 66 S. Ct. 773 (1946); Weston Funding Corp. v. Lafayette Towers, Inc., 550 F.2d 710, 712-15 (2d Cir. 1977); Exchange National Bank of Chicago v. Touche Ross & Co., 544 F.2d 1126, 1130-31 (2d Cir. 1976) ("judgments under Rule 12(b)(6) are on the merits, with res judicata effects. . . "). Since plaintiff's action before Judge Kram was dismissed upon motion of the defendants pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) with no specification that that dismissal was not on the merits, it is clear that plaintiff's previous action was dismissed on the merits, and that this action is barred by res judicata.

 In any event, plaintiff's complaint here clearly fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Plaintiff's section 1985(3) claim is impermissibly vague. "Complaints containing only 'conclusory,' 'vague,' or 'general allegations' of a conspiracy to deprive a person of constitutional rights will be dismissed." Ostrer v. Aronwald, 567 F.2d 551, 553 (2d Cir. 1977) (per curiam) (citations omitted). *fn6" Furthermore, notwithstanding the liberality with which courts must construe pro se complaints, plaintiff's section 1983 claims must be dismissed for failure to comply with Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a) because plaintiff's complaint expresses only the most highly conclusory allegations. *fn7" See Salahuddin v. Cuomo, 861 F.2d 40, 43 (2d Cir. 1988).

 CONCLUSION

 For the reasons stated above, the complaint is dismissed with prejudice. *fn8" It follows that plaintiff's numerous requests for relief documented above must also be denied. The Clerk of Court is directed to close the above-captioned action.

 It is SO ORDERED.

 Dated: New York, New York, June 23, 1992

 John E. Sprizzo

 United States District Judge


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