Unpublished Disposition, 902 F.2d 41 (9th Cir. 1986)Annotate this Case
Steve STEVENSON, Plaintiff-Appellant,v.Hale Mahaolu ELUA, Defendant-Appellee.
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.
Submitted April 24, 1990.* Decided April 27, 1990.
Before TANG, NELSON and O'SCANNLAIN, Circuit Judges.
Steve Stevenson appeals pro se the district court's grant of Hale Mahaolu Elua's motion to dismiss this civil rights action. Stevenson contends that his claims are not barred by the doctrine of res judicata. We affirm.
Hale Mahaolu Elua ("HME") is a federally funded housing facility where Stevenson resides as a tenant. Stevenson filed a complaint against HME in Hawaii state court on April 26, 1984. The basis of the complaint was that HME allegedly discriminated against Stevenson in the enforcement of rules regarding yard and garden policies, gave false and derogatory information to Stevenson's former employer, and harassed Stevenson by delivering notices to desist activities which violated project rules. On February 12, 1986, the defendant's motion for summary judgment was granted and Stevenson's claim was dismissed. The Hawaii Supreme Court dismissed Stevenson's appeal on June 19, 1986.
Stevenson then filed this action in the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii. Stevenson's federal complaint sought damages for destruction of his garden, constant harassment and terrorizing, and for giving derogatory statements to his former employer. The district court found that Stevenson's claims were barred by the doctrine of res judicata and dismissed the action. We review de novo. Kruso v. Int'l Tel. & Tel. Corp., 872 F.2d 1416, 1421 (9th Cir. 1989)
A final judgment on the merits in a state court operates as a res judicata bar to preclude relitigation of a claim in a federal court. Allen v. McCurry, 449 U.S. 90, 95 (1980). In this action, the federal courts must accord the Hawaii state court judgment the same preclusive effect the judgment would receive in state court. See Trujillo v. County of Santa Clara, 775 F.2d 1359, 1363 (9th Cir. 1985). Under Hawaii law, the judgment of the state court dismissing Stevenson's first complaint is a bar to a new action in any court between the same parties or their privies concerning the same subject matter. Marsland v. Int'l Soc'y for Krishna Consciousness, 66 Haw. 119, 124, 657 P.2d 1035, 1038-39 (1983). That judgment precludes the relitigation, not only of the issues which Stevenson litigated in the first action, but also of all grounds of claim and defense which the parties might have properly litigated in the first action but were not litigated or decided. Stevenson's claims in this federal action all arise from essentially the same subject matter as his state action and relitigation of these claims is therefore precluded. See id.