United States District Court, S.D. New York
January 6, 2004.
JOSEPH AZZOLINI, Plaintiff, -against- MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL, INC., Defendant
The opinion of the court was delivered by: RICHARD CASEY, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER
Joseph Azzolini commenced this action against Marriott International,
Inc. on June 13, 2003. Azzolini alleges that Marriott violated its
written employment agreement with him when he was terminated on June 13,
1997. (See Dkt. No. 1: Compl. ¶¶ 6-11.) Marriott has moved to dismiss
the Complaint under the doctrine of res judicata. Marriott's motion was
deemed fully submitted on October 7, 2003. For the reasons that follow,
the motion is GRANTED.
Prior to this action, on October 19, 1999, Azzolini commenced an action
in the Southern District of New York against Marriott, alleging that he
suffered racial discrimination when he was terminated as a parking
associate.*fn1 On January 10, 2002, at the close of discovery, Judge
Lawrence McKenna granted Marriott's unopposed motion for summary
judgment. Thereafter, on July 21, 2003, Azzolini moved pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(6) to vacate the January 10, 2002
Order granting Marriott summary judgment and dismissing the Complaint.
Despite Azzolini's Rule 60(b)(6) motion, that case, as it now stands, is
closed and a final judgment has been
Marriott has therefore asserted, and Azzolini has conceded, that this
action is barred by the doctrine of res judicata. (See Dkt. No. 10: Pl.
Mem. of Law in Opp'n to Mot. to Dismiss, at 4 ("Plaintiff concedes that
under the `transactional analysis' rule . . . his breach of contract
claim is sufficiently related to the facts and transactions at issue in
the 1999 lawsuit and therefore would otherwise be barred by the final
judgment entered in that action.")) Because the 1999 lawsuit was (1) a
final judgment on the merits, (2) issued by a court of competent
jurisdiction, (3) in a case involving the same parties, and (4) involving
the same nucleus of operative facts present here, the doctrine of res
judicata bars this action. See Woods v. Potter, 63 Fed. Appx. 590 (2d
Cir. 2003); In re Teltronics Servs., Inc., 762 F.2d 185, 190 (2d Cir.
Despite this, Azzolini requests that the Court defer ruling on
Marriott's motion until the Rule 60(b)(6) motion filed in the 1999
lawsuit is determined. The Court rejects this request. First, Rule
60(b)(6) does not foreclose a party from asserting a 12(b)(6) defense. As
discussed above, the January 10, 2002 Order granting Marriott summary
judgment remains a final judgment; it is therefore undisputed that the
elements of res judicata are met. Second, Azzolini fails to acknowledge
that in making his Rule 60(b)(6) motion, he could have requested
permission to amend the Complaint in the 1999 lawsuit in the event that
Judge McKenna vacated the dismissal. Such a request, in fact, would have
better served the interest of judicial economy than Azzolini's chosen
course: commencing this action and then requesting the Court to defer
ruling on Marriott's motion to dismiss, despite the fact that the
elements of res judicata are squarely satisfied in this case.
Marriott's motion to dismiss, therefore, is GRANTED. The Clerk of the
Court is directed to close the case.