The opinion of the court was delivered by: KATZ
AND NOW, this 1st day of November, 1995, upon consideration of plaintiff's Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction, and the defendant's response thereto, and after a hearing, it is hereby ORDERED that the said Motion is DENIED.
A petitioner seeking injunctive relief must demonstrate both a likelihood of success on the merits and a probability of irreparable harm. Bradley v. Pittsburgh Bd. of Educ., 910 F.2d 1172, 1175 (3d Cir. 1990). Additionally, the public interest must be considered. Id.
On February 13, 1995, Krall was convicted of the criminal offense of driving while under the influence in violation of P.S. § 3731. After his driver's license was suspended for a year on March 23, 1995, the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County upheld the suspension. Krall appealed to the Commonwealth Court where his case is pending. He filed this action claiming double jeopardy, an issue he has also raised in the state courts. The suspension of his driver's license is effective tomorrow.
Likelihood of Success on the Merits
Res Judicata and Collateral Estoppel
The doctrine of res judicata provides that "a final judgment on the merits of an action precludes the parties from relitigating issues that were or could have been raised in that action." Kremer v. Chemical Constr. Corp., 456 U.S. 461, 467 n.6, 72 L. Ed. 2d 262, 102 S. Ct. 1883 (1982) (citation omitted); see also 28 U.S.C. § 1738 (requiring federal courts to give the same preclusive effect to a state court judgment that the judgment would have in state court); Migra v. Warren City Sch. Dist. Bd. of Educ., 465 U.S. 75, 81, 79 L. Ed. 2d 56, 104 S. Ct. 892 (1984) (same). The related doctrine of collateral estoppel bars relitigation of issues that were actually litigated in the prior proceeding. Gregory v. Chehi, 843 F.2d 111, 116 (3d Cir. 1988). Preclusion principles apply in civil rights cases as they apply in other civil actions. Allen v. McCurry, 449 U.S. 90, 104, 66 L. Ed. 2d 308, 101 S. Ct. 411 (1980).
Collateral estoppel applies where (1) the issue presented in the later action is identical to the one presented in the prior adjudication, (2) there was a final judgment on the merits, (3) the party against whom the preclusion is asserted was a party or is in privity with a party to the prior adjudication, and (4) the party against whom preclusion is asserted has had a full and fair opportunity to litigate the issue in question in the prior action. Gregory, 843 F.2d at 121 (citing Safeguard Mut. Ins. v. Williams, 463 Pa. 567, 345 A.2d 664, 668 (Pa. 1975)). Moreover, res judicata applies where the two actions share an identity of (1) the thing sued on, (2) the cause of action, (3) persons and parties to the action, and (4) quality or capacity of the parties suing or sued. 843 F.2d at 116 (citing Duquesne Slag Prods. Co. v. Lench, 490 Pa. 102, 105, 415 A.2d 53, 56 (Pa. 1980). A Pennsylvania judgment is considered final for the purpose of claim or issue preclusion unless or until it is reversed. O'Hara Sanitation v. Commonwealth, 125 Pa. Commw. 441, 557 A.2d 453, 455 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 1989).
Plaintiff has not demonstrated that there is a likelihood of success on the merits as Younger dictates that this court must abstain in this case. Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 27 L. Ed. 2d 669, 91 S. Ct. 746 (1971). Younger is applicable when 1) there are ongoing state proceedings involving the federal plaintiff that are judicial in nature, 2) the state proceedings implicate important state interests, and 3) the state proceedings afford adequate opportunity to raise the federal claims. Acierno v. New Castle County, 40 F.3d 645, 655 n.13 (3d Cir. 1994).
The first Younger requirement is satisfied. The secretary of transportation's suspension of the plaintiff's license and the state court appeals are "judicial in nature" as the suspension stands on present or past facts rather than being legislative and creating a new rule to be applied thereafter to all. See New Orleans Public Serv., Inc. v. Council of New Orleans, 491 U.S. 350, 370-71, 105 L. Ed. 2d 298, 109 S. Ct. 2506 (1989) (citation omitted).
Moreover, the proceedings are ongoing as the plaintiff has not exhausted all of his state remedies. The Supreme Court has held that "a party . . . must exhaust his state appellate remedies before seeking relief in the District Court." Huffman v. Pursue, Ltd. 420 U.S. 592, 608, 43 L. Ed. 2d 482, 95 S. Ct. 1200 (1975). While Huffman involved the appeal from a state court decision, the Supreme Court has suggested that Huffman applies to state administrative-judicial ...