I have blogged on this case several times and after his U.S. Supreme Court win two months ago, Fane Lozman has won another victory before the U.S. Circuit Court for the Eleventh Circuit in Lozman v. City of Riviera Beach, Docket No. 11-15448 (Restani, J.).
Fane Lozman with his dog Lady in front of his houseboat at the Riviera Beach Marina (2006 Palm Beach Post file photo)
Lozman appealed from the district court's dismissal of his amended complaint asserting, inter alia, violations of his Constitutional rights, based on the Rooker-Feldman doctrine and res judicata principles. At issue was the preclusive effect of a prior state court eviction action initiated by the City against Lozman. The court concluded that the state court proceedings as to the First Amendment issues raised in the second amended counterclaim did not end prior to the commencement of the federal action and therefore, Rooker-Feldman did not divest the court of jurisdiction, regardless of whether the claims raised in state court were identical to those raised in federal courts.
Consequently, the court found that it need not address the City's arguments as to whether any of the claims asserted in the federal amended complaint were inextricably intertwined with a state court judgment. The court further concluded that none of the federal causes of action were barred by res judicata under Florida's transaction test; defendants have not specified what issues they believe were identical in the federal amended complaint and in the eviction action, but instead, defendants merely restated their res judicata argument as a collateral estoppel argument; and the Admiralty Action had no preclusive effect of any of the issues raised here. Accordingly, the court reversed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's amended complaint and remanded for further proceedings.
So this case soldiers on...watch this space!
If you are interested in receiving a full copy of this decision, please feel free to contact me at email@example.com.