law, and were properly confiscated and destroyed. Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, paras. 1, 2. We will examine these contentions in turn, noting, however, that defendants' assertion that all "uncontradicted" facts are taken is true is erroneous. As we stated before, the standard under Rule 12(c) requires us to take as true all the factual allegations of the Complaint.
A. Failure to Exhaust State Remedies
A party is not required to exhaust state remedies as a prerequisite to bringing civil rights action in federal court. Monroe v. Pape, 365 U.S. 167, 183, 81 S. Ct. 473, 482, 5 L. Ed. 2d 492, 503 (1961); see also Patsy v. Board of Regents, 457 U.S. 496, 500, 102 S. Ct. 2557, 2559-60, 73 L. Ed. 2d 172 (1982); Allee v. Medrano, 416 U.S. 802, 94 S. Ct. 2191, 40 L. Ed. 2d 566, 580 (1974); Schultz v. Baumgart, 738 F.2d 231, 237 (7th Cir. 1984); Schwartz v. Judicial Retirement System, 584 F. Supp. 711, 718 (D.N.J. 1984).
B. Collateral Estoppel
Defendants' Answer states, as a defense, that after arrest and prior to trial, Plaintiff filed a motion on September 28, 1983 with the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County seeking the return of the confiscated items. Answer, para. 16. The Answer further states that, on February 15, 1984, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Rule to Show Cause why the confiscated items should not be returned. Id. P 17 and Ex. A. Plaintiff's Motion was denied by summary order of March 8, 1984. Id. P 18 and Ex. C. Defendants rely on this order in asserting that it collaterally estops plaintiff in the present action. See Defendant's Brief in Support of Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, at 3. Defendants state "the state court's order is dispositive of the issues of whether defendants acted properly under state law." Id.
Under the doctrine of collateral estoppel, a court's decision on an issue of law or fact, which is necessary to its judgment, is conclusive with respect to that issue in subsequent suits based on a different cause of action involving a party to the first case. Montana v. United States, 440 U.S. 147, 153, 99 S. Ct. 970, 973, 59 L. Ed. 2d 210 (1979). It is now firmly established that the doctrine of collateral estoppel is applicable to actions brought under § 1983. Allen v. McCurry, 449 U.S. 90, 94, 101 S. Ct. 411, 414, 66 L. Ed. 2d 308 (1980). Collateral estoppel applies when 1) the issue decided in the prior litigation is identical to the issue presently before the court; 2) the prior litigation resulted in a judgment on the merits; 3) the party against whom estoppel is asserted is a party, or in privity with a party to the prior proceeding; and 4) the opportunity to present the claim in the prior proceeding was full and fair. Miller v. Indiana Hospital, 562 F. Supp. 1259, 1279 (W.D. Pa. 1983) (citing Scooper Dooper, Inc. v. Kraftco Corp., 494 F.2d 840, 844 (3d Cir. 1974)).
We have no indication, on the basis of a one-sentence order, as to the basis of the court's denial of Plaintiff's Motion to Return Property in the state court proceedings. We certainly cannot say, as defendants assert, either that the state's court order is dispositive of the issue of whether defendants acted properly under state law, or whether such a finding should be given collateral estoppel effect in Plaintiff's federal civil rights action.
Defendants also argue that plaintiff's claims for injunctive and declaratory relief are moot because Plaintiff's property has been destroyed. Defendant's Brief, at 3. We decline to rule on this argument in the context of a 12(c) motion. We note only that Defendants are asserting that the relief requested is inappropriate; we prefer to reserve such decisions until after a decision on the merits.
D. The Seizure and Destruction Were Proper
35 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 1271 provides that
The term "fireworks" shall mean and include any combustible or explosive composition or any substance or combination of substances, or, except as hereinafter provided, any article prepared for the purpose of producing a visible or an audible effect by combustion, explosion, deflagration or detonation, and shall include blank cartridges and toy cannons in which explosives are used, the type of balloons which require fire underneath to propel the same, firecrackers, torpedoes, skyrockets, Roman candles, aerial fireworks, or other fireworks of like construction, and any fireworks containing any explosive or flammable compound or any tablets or other device containing an explosive substance.