The opinion of the court was delivered by: ROBERT KELLY, Senior District Judge
Presently pending before this Court are Cross-Motions for
Summary Judgment of Plaintiff Raymond A. Jett, Jr. ("Jett") and
Defendants Beech Interplex, Inc. ("Beech Interplex"), Floyd
Alston, Craig Alston, Beech Capital Venture Corporation ("Beech
Capital")*fn1 and Larry Griffin ("Griffin") (collectively
the "Defendants"). For the following reasons, Jett's pro se
Motion will be denied and the Defendants' Motion will be
This case arose from a landlord/tenant dispute between Jett and
Beech Interplex. In September 2000, Jett entered into a leasing agreement with
Beech Interplex through which Jett rented office space from Beech
Interplex for his business.*fn3 After a short time into the
lease's term, a dispute arose between the parties that resulted
in Jett and his business vacating the premises and terminating
rent payments. Subsequently, a controversy arose between the
parties concerning the ownership and entitlement to the property
that Jett left behind when he and his business vacated the rented
In October 2001, Jett, individually and doing business as
Escapade Investigations, Inc., sued Beech Interplex and Floyd
Alston*fn4 in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia
County. ("Jett I").*fn5 In Jett I, Jett's claims against
Beech Interplex and Floyd Alston were as follows: (1) unjust
enrichment; (2) loss of business; (3) loss of security; and (4)
breach of contract.*fn6 As the state proceedings progressed,
the disputed property in Jett's former office space became a
critical issue. Eventually, the parties agreed in open court that
Jett would secure a rental facility to store the property at
issue pending disposition of the Jett I case. Subsequently, on
November 7, 2002, Jett loaded the disputed property into a truck
and it was expected that he would store the property at a rental
facility as per the agreement approved by the State Court.
Nevertheless, rather than place the disputed property in the
rental facility as mandated by the parties' agreement, Jett took the truckload of disputed property
to his home in North Carolina.
As a result of these events, the State Court entered a Rule on
Jett to show cause why the Jett I action should not be
dismissed with prejudice because of Jett's actions concerning the
disputed property that amounted to contempt of court. After a
hearing on the matter, on January 30, 2003, the State Court
dismissed Jett I "with prejudice" and entered judgment for
Beech Interplex and Floyd Alston on all claims. Subsequently,
Jett filed a pro se action in this Court ("Jett II")*fn7
raising almost identical legal claims as in Jett I and based on
the same landlord/tenant dispute as in Jett I.
The instant action raises the same claims as Jett brought in
Jett I.*fn8 The only differences from the Jett I suit
and this action are that Jett adds certain additional parties and
adds one additional claim. Specifically, Jett includes Craig
Alston, Beech Capital, and Larry Griffin as additional defendants
in the Complaint filed in this Court.*fn9 Further, Jett adds
one additional Count in Jett II alleging
conspiracy/burglary/theft. On May 26, 2004, the Defendants filed
the instant Motion for Summary Judgment. On June 14, 2004, Jett
filed his Response and filed a Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment.
Pursuant to Rule 56(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,
summary judgment is proper "if there is no genuine issue as to any
material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law." FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c). Essentially, the inquiry
is "whether the evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to
require submission to the jury or whether it is so one-sided that
one party must prevail as a matter of law." Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 251-52 (1986). The moving party has
the initial burden of informing the court of the basis for the
motion and identifying those portions of the record that
demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). An issue is
genuine only if there is a sufficient evidentiary basis on which
a reasonable jury could find for the non-moving party.
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249. A factual dispute is material only
if it might affect the outcome of the suit under governing law.
Id. at 248.
To defeat summary judgment, the non-moving party cannot rest on
the pleadings, but rather that party must go beyond the pleadings
and present "specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue
for trial." FED. R. CIV. P. 56(e). Similarly, the non-moving
party cannot rely on unsupported assertions, conclusory
allegations, or mere suspicions in attempting to survive a
summary judgment motion. Williams v. Borough of W. Chester,
891 F.2d 458, 460 (3d Cir. 1989) (citing Celotex, 477 U.S. at 325
(1986)). Further, the non-moving party has the burden of
producing evidence to establish prima facie each element of its
claim. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-23. If the court, in viewing
all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party,
determines that there is no genuine issue of material fact, then
summary judgment is proper. Id. at 322; Wisniewski v.
Johns-Manville Corp., 812 F.2d 81, 83 (3d Cir. 1987).
In their Motion, the Defendants argue that they are entitled to
summary judgment based on the res judicata doctrine. Specifically, the Defendants
claim that Jett is precluded from going forward with the instant
lawsuit because of the State Court's dismissal of the nearly
identical Jett I action. This Court agrees with the Defendants'
res judicata argument and finds that the Jett II action fails
as a matter of law based on this well established doctrine.
According to the doctrine of res judicata under Pennsylvania
law, "a final judgment on the merits by a court of competent
jurisdiction will bar any future suit between the parties or
their privies in connection with the same cause of
action."*fn10 Radakovich v. Radakovich, 846 A.2d 709, 714
(Pa. Super. 2004). The purposes underlying the doctrine are
to conserve judicial resources, establish certainty and respect
for court judgments, and to protect the party that relies on
prior adjudication from vexatious litigation. Id. The
application of res judicata requires the concurrence of four
elements: "(1) identity of the thing sued upon; (2) identity of
the cause of action; (3) identity of the parties; (4) identity of
the capacity of the parties." Taylor v. Shiley, Inc.,
714 A.2d 1064, 1066 (Pa. Super. 1998). Importantly, "res judicata will
`not be defeated by minor differences of form, parties or
allegations' where the `controlling issues have been resolved in
a prior proceeding in which the present parties had an opportunity to appear and assert their rights.'" Massullo, M.D.
et al. v. Hamburg, Rubin, Mullin, Maxwell & Lupin, P.C., No.
98-116, 1999 WL 313830, at *5 (E.D. ...