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Williams v. City of Jacksonville Police Dept.

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Williams sued the City of Jacksonville Police Department when Williams was pulled over, was removed from his vehicle at gunpoint, and was patted down.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    A claim is not prevented under the doctrine of collateral estoppel if the claim was not an essential issue in a previous judgment.

    Facts.

    Williams was pulled over by the City of Jacksonville Police Dept. The police officers made Williams get out of the car at gunpoint and conducted a pat-down search. Williams sued the City of Jacksonville Police Department under federal and state law claims asserting that the police officers used excessive force. The defendants removed the federal claims to district court. The district court judge granted summary judgment on the federal claims and dismissed the state law claims. Williams sued in state court asserting only the state law claims and the defendants moved for summary judgment on claims of collateral estoppel. The defendants motion was denied.

    Issue.

    Whether a judgment on a claim is prevented under the doctrine of collateral estoppel if the claim was not an essential issue in a previous judgment?

    Held.

    No. The judgment of the state court is reversed and remanded. Collateral estoppel applies: The issue of the reasonableness of the search and seizure was litigated, the district court’s conclusion that the officers did not use excessive force precludes a finding of negligence in state court, and William’s false arrest claim is precluded because the seizure was held lawful by the district court.

    Discussion.

    Issue preclusion does not apply where a claim was not a pertinent part of a previous judgment. Collateral estoppel will bar relitigation of the same issue if: (1) the issue was raised in an earlier proceeding, (2) the issue was actually litigated, (3) the issue was decided, (4) and the issue was necessary for the court to render judgment.


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