United States District Court, D. Maryland
DEBORAH K. CHASANOW, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Plaintiff Juan Barnes filed the above-captioned complaint on
October 21, 2019, along with a prisoner trust fund account
(ECF No. 2). By his complaint Barnes, who is currently
incarcerated at Western Correctional Institution
(“WCI”), invites this court to revisit its
Memorandum Opinion and Order issued in Civil Action
DKC-13-281, claiming the court “made a mistake when it
dismissed the suit as time bar” (sic). ECF No. 1 at 1.
To the extent Barnes' prisoner trust fund account is
meant to be a motion to proceed in forma pauperis,
it will be granted. For reasons that follow, the complaint
must be dismissed.
court is obliged by 28 U.S.C. § 1915A to screen prisoner
complaints and dismiss any complaint that is
“frivolous, malicious or fails to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A(b). In deciding whether a complaint is
frivolous, “[t]he district court need not look beyond
the complaint's allegations . . . . It must, however,
hold the pro se complaint to less stringent standards than
pleadings drafted by attorneys and must read the complaint
liberally.” See White v. White, 886 F.2d 721,
722-23 (4th Cir. 1989).
Barnes v. Kelly, et al., Civil Action DKC-13-281 (D.
Md. 2013) (hereinafter Barnes I), the court granted
Defendants' unopposed motion to dismiss in a Memorandum
Opinion and Order dated July 18, 2013. Barnes sued Michele
Hansen and Thomas Kelly in connection with his search and
subsequent arrest on September 12, 2009. Barnes I at
ECF No. 20 at 1. The complaint in that case was filed on
January 24, 2013; and this court found that Barnes
“possessed sufficient knowledge of the facts underlying
his claim for unlawful search and seizure on September 12,
2009, the date of his initial appearance in District Court;
or in the alternative, November 17, 2009, the date of his
appearance in Circuit Court.” Id. at 6. For
that reason, the court found that Barnes' Fourth
Amendment claim asserted against Thomas Kelly was
time-barred. Id. However, the untimely filing of the
complaint was not the sole basis for its dismissal. Rather,
the court dismissed the claim as to Hansen, the Assistant
State's Attorney who prosecuted the criminal case against
Barnes, because the complaint made no specific allegations
against her and because she was entitled to prosecutorial
immunity. Id. at 3-4. The claim against the City of
Hagerstown was dismissed because Barnes failed to allege
facts to support a theory of municipal liability.
Id. at 6-7 citing Monell v. New York City
Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 692-94 (1978).
The pendent state claims were dismissed with prejudice due to
Barnes' failure to comply with the notice requirements of
Maryland's Local Government Tort Claims Act. Id.
at 7. Barnes did not appeal this court's
extent the complaint seeks relief in the context of
Barnes I, it fails to state a cognizable basis for
relief from that judgment. Rule 60 permits relief from a
judgment or order of this court in order to correct clerical
mistakes; oversights and omissions. Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 60(a).
A party may also be granted relief from judgment on motion
for the following reasons: (1) mistake, inadvertence,
surprise or excusable neglect; (2) newly discovered evidence
that, with reasonable diligence, could not have been
discovered in time to move for a new trial under Rule 59(b);
(3) fraud, misrepresentation, or misconduct by an opposing
party; (4) the judgment is void; (5) the judgment has been
satisfied, release or discharged; and (6) any other reason
that justifies relief. Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 60(b). It is within
this court's discretion to grant or deny a motion filed
pursuant to Rule 60(b). See Nat'l Credit Union Admin.
Bd. v. Gray, 1 F.3d 262, 265 (4th Cir. 1993). The rule
does not contemplate its substitution for appellate review of
a district court's decision. To the extent a party is
aggrieved by a judgment and asserts it is void, Rule 60 (b)
is not the proper vehicle to mount that challenge.
“‘[A] judgment is not void merely because it is
erroneous. It is void only if the court that rendered it
lacked jurisdiction of the subject matter, or of the parties,
or if it acted in a manner inconsistent with due process of
law.'” Eberhardt v. Integrated Design &
Const., Inc., 167 F.3d 861, 871 (4th Cir. 1999) (quoting
Schwartz v. United States, 976 F.2d 213, 217 (4th
Cir.1992)) (quoting 11 Wright & Miller, Federal
Practice and Procedure § 2862 at 198-200 (1973)).
“mistake” Barnes claims this court made relates
to the date he filed his complaint in Barnes I. ECF
No. 1 at 1. He asserts that his complaint was filed in
December of 2012 and that he raised a claim of malicious
prosecution against Michele Hansen. Id. Review of
Barnes's initial complaint in Barnes I reveals
that it was mailed to this court on January 22, 2013, and
received two days later when it was docketed. Barnes
I at ECF No. 1. Further, in his supplemental complaint
dated January 28, 2013, Barnes raised claims of “4th
Amendment violation unlawful search seizure; False Arrest;
False Imprisonment; Negligence.” Barnes I at
ECF No. 3 at 3. In neither the original complaint nor the
supplemental complaint did Barnes explain the basis for his
claim against Hansen. Barnes's allegations against Hansen
stated in the instant complaint were never before this court.
See ECF No. 1 at 2-4. His assertion that this
court's decision was incorrect would have been a basis
for appellate review, not for post-judgment relief.
extent Barnes is attempting to file a new claim against
Hansen for malicious prosecution, the claim is barred by the
doctrine of res judicata. Res judicata,
also known as claim preclusion, is a legal doctrine that
promotes judicial efficiency and the finality of decisions.
In re Microsoft Corp Antitrust Litigation, 355 F.3d
322, 325 (4th Cir. 2004). Under the doctrine of res
judicata, a final judgment on the merits in an earlier
decision precludes the parties from relitigating issues that
were raised or could have been raised during that action.
Pueschel v. United States, 369 F.3d 345, 354 (4th
Cir. 2004). This doctrine applies when there is: (1) a final
judgment on the merits in a prior lawsuit; (2) an identity of
cause of action in both the earlier and later suits; and (3)
an identity of parties or their privies in the two suits.
Id. at 354-55. Although res judicata must
ordinarily be pleaded as an affirmative defense, a court may
raise the defense on its own motion if it is “on notice
that it has previously decided the issue presented.”
Arizona v. California, 530 U.S. 392, 412 (2000);
accord Clodfelter v. Republic of Sudan, 720 F.3d
199, 208-10 (4th Cir. 2013); Eriline Co. S.A. v.
Johnson, 440 F.3d 648, 655 (4th Cir. 2006). Such an
action is warranted based on one of the underlying purposes
of res judicata, “avoidance of unnecessary
judicial waste.” Arizona, 530 U.S. at 412.
states he was acquitted by a jury in April of
2010. ECF No. 1 at 2. Affording the instant
complaint liberal construction, it is clear that Barnes
intended to raise a malicious prosecution claim in Barnes
I, but failed to delineate the claim or to even include
facts related to Hansen's alleged malice in proceeding
with the prosecution against him. Because the claim could
have been raised in the prior suit, but was not, Barnes is
now precluded from doing so in a newly filed civil action
more than six-years after the original complaint was
dismissed. Defendants in Barnes I are entitled to
rely on the finality of the judgment entered in their favor
and for which no appellate review was sought.
separate Order which follows, the complaint shall be
 Barnes did file a motion for
reconsideration pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 60 on July 1, 2019.
Barnes I at ECF No. 26. That motion will be
addressed by separate Order in Barnes I.
 A cause of action for malicious
prosecution requires “termination of the prior criminal
proceeding in favor of the accused” see Heck v.
Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 484 (1994), and “does not
accrue until the criminal proceedings have ...