Prosser, the policy of "complete freedom of expression," has resulted in immunity from civil liability" conferred upon witnesses whether they testify voluntarily or not and even though their testimony is by affidavit or deposition. The resulting lack of any civil remedy against perjurers is simply part of the price that is paid for witnesses who are free from intimidation by the possibility of civil liability for what they say." W. Prosser, The Law of Torts, pp. 777-78 (4th ed.).
A review of the amended complaint filed in this case shows that the plaintiff is seeking damages from the defendants for injuries which he suffered as the result of an incident which served as the basis of his claim in Zia v. United States, C.A. No. 76-831. On January 30, 1979, the Magistrate who heard the testimony in Zia v. United States found the following facts as to the incident on May 20, 1974: The plaintiff was called into the Social Security office in Bristol, Pennsylvania to explain an apparent discrepancy in his age that appeared in the Social Security files. There was a misunderstanding and a commotion ensued between the plaintiff and the employee of the Social Security office concerning the age discrepancy. The defendant, Mr. Wickert, intervened and asked that Mr. Zia either calm down, leave, or move to a conference room where he would not disturb the office. Mr. Zia walked to the conference room where he complained of dizziness and chest pains. The defendant, Joanne Wimmersberger, on the instructions of Mr. Magra, called an ambulance. The ambulance arrived and took Mr. Zia to a hospital. After reviewing the record of the trial, these findings of fact were affirmed by this Court on July 8, 1980. On November 19, 1981, the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed the judgment.
Since this Court is also considering that the plaintiff's pro se complaint is alleging a cause of action for negligent or intentionally tortious conduct against the defendants on the basis of diversity jurisdiction and since we are also considering that the plaintiff's pro se complaint is alleging a cause of action based upon the defendants' violation of his rights under the United States Constitution, we will now determine whether the law of collateral estoppel precludes the plaintiff from recovering on such causes of action.
Although it is generally stated that in a diversity action the collateral estoppel rule of the state is applied in those situations where a state court judgment is being considered, it appears that the federal rule of collateral estoppel should be applied where the judgment being considered is a judgment of a federal court. In this case the judgment is a federal court judgment. As stated in Johnson v. United States, 576 F.2d 606 (5th Cir., 1978),
Aerojet ( Aerojet General Corp. v. Askew, 511 F.2d 710 [5th Cir., 1974] holds that in diversity cases we are to apply federal res judicata principles to prior federal judgments.