Shell v. Schwartz, No. 08-16450 (11th Cir. 12/17/2009), 08-16450.

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtPer Curiam
PartiesCARL SHELL, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. TIM SCHWARTZ, HOLLYWOOD HOUSING AUTHORITY, Defendants-Appellees.
Docket NumberNo. 09-11170.,No. 08-16450.,08-16450.,09-11170.
Decision Date17 December 2009

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CARL SHELL, Plaintiff-Appellant,
No. 08-16450.
No. 09-11170. Non-Argument Calendar.
United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit.
December 17, 2009.

Appeals from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, D. C. Docket No. 07-61261-CV-WPD.

Before TJOFLAT, CARNES and WILSON, Circuit Judges.

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In this consolidated appeal, Carl Shell, proceeding pro se, appeals the district court's order granting summary judgment in favor of the Hollywood Housing Authority and Tim Schwartz, in his capacity as project manager of the Housing Authority. Shell also appeals the district court's order denying his motion for relief from judgment, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(6). The underlying lawsuit involves a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim to recover terminated federal housing benefits, a claim that was also litigated in earlier state court proceedings.

In this instant appeal, Shell contends that the district court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of the appellees based on its finding that his claims were barred by the doctrine of res judicata. He says that doctrine is inapplicable because he suffered an injustice when his housing assistance benefits were terminated before he received an administrative hearing. Shell further contends that the district court abused its discretion in denying his Rule 60(b)(6) motion for relief from judgment because the earlier state court actions did not result in on-the-merits adjudications, a contention he bases on the theory that he never had standing to sue in state court.


We review de novo a district court's ruling on summary judgment, applying the same legal standards as the district court. Whatley v. CNA Ins. Cos., 189 F.3d

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1310, 1313 (11th Cir. 1999). The moving party is entitled to summary judgment, "if the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). If the non-moving party bears the ultimate burden of proof regarding the claim at issue in the motion, that party, in response to the motion, must go beyond the pleadings and establish, through competent evidence, that there truly is a genuine, material issue to be tried. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 2553, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). "When deciding whether summary judgment is appropriate, all evidence and reasonable factual inferences drawn therefrom are reviewed in a light most favorable to the non-moving party." Rojas v. Florida, 285 F.3d 1339, 1341-42 (11th Cir. 2002) (quotation omitted).

Whether a claim is barred by res judicata is a legal determination that we review de novo. Kizzire v. Baptist Health System, Inc., 441 F.3d 1306, 1308 (11th Cir. 2006). When considering "whether to give res judicata effect to a state court judgment," we "must apply the res judicata principles of the law of the state whose decision is set up as a bar to further litigation." Green v. Jefferson County Comm'n., 563 F.3d 1243, 1252 (11th Cir. 2009) (quotation omitted), cert. denied, (U.S. Oct. 5, 2009) (No. 09-20).

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Under Florida law:

[a] judgment on the merits rendered in a former suit between the same parties or their privies, upon the same cause of action, by a court of competent jurisdiction, is conclusive not only as to every matter which was offered and received to sustain or defeat the claim, but as to every other matter which might with propriety have been litigated and determined in that action.

Fla. Dep't. of Transp. v. Juliano, 801 So.2d 101, 105 (Fla. 2001) (quotation omitted). More specifically, "[t]he Florida doctrine of res judicata bars subsequent litigation where there is (1) identity of the thing sued for, (2) identity of the cause of action, (3) identity of persons and parties to the actions, and (4) identity of the quality or capacity of the person for or...

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