Campbell v. City of Spencer, No. 14-6015 (10th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
Municipalities City of Spencer and the Town of Forest Park, and Blaze’s Tribute Equine Rescue, acting under a search warrant, seized 44 abused and neglected horses from plaintiff-appellant Ann Campbell’s properties. After a forfeiture hearing, a state district court in Oklahoma issued an order granting Spencer and Forest Park’s joint forfeiture petition. Campbell later sued the municipalities (and Blaze) in federal court under 42 U.S.C. section 1983. The district court dismissed Campbell’s complaint, applying both claim and issue preclusion to prevent relitigation of matters common to the state court forfeiture proceeding. Campbell appealed. After review, the Tenth Circuit concluded the district court properly dismissed Campbell’s 1983 claims: because Campbell could have raised her constitutional claims in the forfeiture proceeding but did not do so, and because the Court's allowing her to raise these claims in this appeal would impair the Municipalities’ rights established in that proceeding, the Court held that the district court properly concluded that claim preclusion disallowed Campbell from pursuing her constitutional claims.