United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Dublin Division
SAMANTHA D. WATKINS, Plaintiff,
CAPITAL CITY BANK, Defendant.
DUDLEY H. BOWEN, District Judge.
Before the Court are Defendant's motion to consolidate, motion to dismiss, and motion for injunction and award of attorney's fees. Defendant's motion to consolidate is DENIED as moot, Defendant's motion to dismiss is GRANTED, and Defendant's motion for injunction and award of attorneys' fees is DENIED.
On March 12, 2014, Plaintiff and Matthews, Wilson & Matthews, Inc. filed a motion to vacate in Matthews, Wilson & Matthews, Incorporated and Samantha D. Watkins v. Capital City Bank, CV 306-95 (S.D. Ga. 2014) (hereinafter referred to as the "underlying suit"). On April 21, 2014, Plaintiff filed the instant case seeking relief from judgment in the underlying suit, although judgment had not yet been entered therein. On July 7, 2014, Chief Judge Lisa Godbey Wood denied the motion to vacate in the underlying suit, finding that it "fell well short of the standard to vacate the judgment." Id., Plaintiff and Matthews, Wilson & Matthews, Inc. appealed that judgment and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the case for failure to prosecute because Matthews, Wilson & Matthews, Inc. did not retain counsel as required by local rules. Matthews, Wilson & Matthews, Inc. and Samantha D. Watkins v. Capital City Bank, No. 14-13565-A (11th Cir. 2014).
Here, Plaintiff contends that she is entitled to relief from the judgment in the underlying suit - which had not yet been entered when she brought this action - on the grounds that Defendant used fraud to obtain the result. Plaintiff insists that Defendant intentionally misappropriated funds, doctored evidence, and "prevented a full and fair litigation of all issues germane to Plaintiff's case." (Compl. ¶¶ 5, 8.) Plaintiff presents no factual basis for her bald allegations.
A. Defendant's Motion to Consolidate
Defendant requests that this case be consolidated with, then dismissed with, the underlying suit. As noted, the underlying suit is no longer pending. Defendant's motion to consolidate is therefore DENIED as moot.
B. Defendant's Motion to Dismiss
Defendant argues that Plaintiff's case should be dismissed on grounds of res judicata, (claim preclusion) and collateral estoppel (issue preclusion), and the Court agrees. The United States Supreme Court declared that
[u]nder res judicata, a final judgment on the merits bars further claims by parties or their privies based on the same cause of action. Under collateral estoppel, once an issue is actually and necessarily determined by a court of competent jurisdiction, that determination is conclusive in subsequent suits based on a different cause of action involving a party to the prior litigation.
Montana v. United States , 440 U.S. 147, 153-54 (1979)(internal citations and quotations omitted). In short, claims and issues that have already been raised are barred by these doctrines. City Bank N.A. v. Data Lease Fin. Corp. , 904 F.2d 1498, 1503 (11th Cir. 1990)("[T]f the case arises out of the same nucleus of operative fact, or is based upon the same factual predicate, as a former action, [then] the two cases are really the same claim' or cause of action' for purposes of res judicata.")
Here, Plaintiff's case arises out of the same nucleus of operative fact, based upon the same factual predicate, as the underlying suit. Both cases challenge the foreclosure of the Knob Hill Assisted Living Center and subsequent legal proceedings. The Court finds that Plaintiff has had a full and fair opportunity to ...