United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
ROSEMONT TAXICAB CO., INC and GERMANTOWN CAB COMPANY, Plaintiffs,
THE PHILADELPHIA PARKING AUTHORITY, WILLIAM SCHMID, and STEVEN MARSHALL, Defendants.
R. PADOVA, J.
Philadelphia Parking Authority (“PPA”) through
its Taxi and Limousine Division (“TLD”) routinely
seizes without a warrant vehicles that are suspected of being
used as taxicabs that do not have a PPA inspection sticker.
Plaintiffs Rosemont Taxicab Co., Inc.
(“Rosemont”) and Germantown Cab Company
(“GCC”) filed this lawsuit alleging that the
PPA's practice violates their rights under the Fourth and
Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution and
parallel provisions of the Pennsylvania Constitution (Counts
I and II). They also seek declaratory relief that a
Pennsylvania statute and the PPA implementing regulations
permitting warrantless seizures of taxicabs are
unconstitutional “as applied” (Count III).
Finally, GCC alleges state law claims for conversion (Count
IV), trespass to chattels (Count V), and fraud (Count VI).
Presently pending are the parties' cross motions for
summary judgment based on a stipulation of facts
(“Stip.”). We conclude that the PPA's warrantless
seizure of Plaintiffs' vehicles is prima facie
unconstitutional, and the absence of pre-deprivation
procedures denied Plaintiffs due process of law. We also
conclude that Defendants have failed to meet their summary
judgment burden to show they are entitled to their proffered
affirmative defenses on Plaintiffs' constitutional
claims. Finally, we conclude that, while Plaintiffs have
demonstrated that there are no genuine issues of material
fact and they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law on
their constitutional claims, GCC cannot demonstrate the
elements of its state law claims as a matter of law.
Accordingly, with limited exceptions to be discussed later,
we grant Plaintiffs' Motion on liability issues on Counts
I, II, and III and deny Defendants' Motion on those
Counts; we grant Defendants' Motion for summary judgment
with regard to Counts IV, V, and VI.
judgment is appropriate “if the movant shows that there
is not genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). An issue is “genuine” if
“the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could
return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson
v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A
factual dispute is “material” if it “might
affect the outcome of the suit under the governing
party seeking summary judgment always bears the initial
responsibility of informing the district court of the basis
for its motion, and identifying those portions of [the record
that] it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue
of material fact.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,
477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Where the non-moving party bears
the burden of proof on a particular issue at trial, the
movant's initial Celotex burden can be met
simply by “pointing out to the district court [ ] that
there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving
party's case.” Id. at 325. After the
moving party has met its initial burden, the nonmoving party
has the burden of identifying specific facts to show that, to
the contrary, a genuine issue of material fact exists for
trial. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986). That is, summary
judgment is appropriate if the nonmoving party fails to rebut
by making a factual showing “sufficient to establish
the existence of an element essential to that party's
case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof
at trial.” Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322.
evaluating the evidence, we take the facts in the light most
favorable to the nonmoving party . . . and draw all
reasonable inferences in [their] favor.” Morton
Int'l, Inc. v. A.E. Staley Mfg. Co., 343 F.3d 669,
680 (3d Cir. 2003) (internal quotation omitted).
“Speculation, conclusory allegations, and mere denials
are insufficient to raise genuine issues of material
fact.” Boykins v. Lucent Techs., Inc., 78
F.Supp.2d 402, 408 (E.D. Pa. 2000). Indeed, evidence
introduced to defeat or support a motion for summary judgment
must be capable of being admissible at trial. Callahan v.
AEV, Inc., 182 F.3d 237, 252 n.11 (3d Cir. 1999) (citing
Petruzzi's IGA Supermarkets, Inc. v. Darling-Delaware
Co., 998 F.2d 1224, 1234 n.9 (3d Cir. 1993)).
SUMMARY JUDGMENT RECORD
a taxicab operator that holds a certificate of public
convenience (“CPC”) issued by the Pennsylvania
Public Utility Commission (“PUC”) authorizing it
to provide taxicab service in parts of the City of
Philadelphia and Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. (Stip.
¶ 1.) Rosemont is a taxicab operator that holds a CPC
issued by the PUC authorizing it to provide call or demand
taxicab service in parts of Delaware County and Montgomery
County, Pennsylvania. (Id. ¶ 5.) Both companies
generate revenue by leasing taxicabs to drivers.
(Id. ¶ 4.) GCC's CPC provides for limited
or “partial” operating rights within
Philadelphia; it does not authorize “city wide”
rights. (Id. ¶ 2.) Only taxicabs with
medallions issued by the PPA are authorized to provide
citywide service in Philadelphia. (Id. ¶ 3.)
to 2004, the PUC was solely responsible for the regulation of
taxicab and limousine operations throughout Pennsylvania.
(Id. ¶ 6.) In Act 94 of 2004, 53 Pa. Cons.
Stat. §§ 5701-5725 (“Act 94”), the
Pennsylvania General Assembly transferred the regulatory
responsibility over taxicab and limousine operations within
Philadelphia from the PUC to the PPA. (Id.
¶¶ 7, 9.) The PUC retained jurisdiction over all
other taxicab and limousine services provided outside of
Philadelphia. (Id. ¶ 8.) The PPA regulates the
Philadelphia taxicab industry through the TLD. (Id.
¶ 9.) TLD's Enforcement Division is responsible for
enforcing the PPA's regulations and governing statute.
(Id. ¶ 11.) At all relevant times, Defendant
William Schmid (“Schmid”) has been TLD's
Manager of Enforcement and, in 2013, became TLD's Deputy
Director. (Id. ¶¶ 12-13.) Defendant Steven
Marshall (“Marshall”) is a TLD Enforcement
Officer who reports to Schmid. (Id. ¶¶
the PPA assumed responsibility for regulating the
Philadelphia taxicab industry in or about 2005, Section 5714
of Act 94, 53 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 5714 (superseded)
(“Section 5714”), set forth the PPA's
authority to impound taxicab vehicles. (Stip. ¶ 16.)
Section 5714 did not require the PPA to impound vehicles when
violations were discovered; neither did it require the PPA to
obtain a warrant before impounding a vehicle. (Id.
¶¶ 17-18.) At that time, the PPA interpreted and
applied Section 5714 as authorizing it to impound without a
warrant any non-medallion vehicle found to be providing
“hail service” in Philadelphia without legal
authority to do so, including licensed taxicabs operating
under valid CPCs issued by the PUC, such as those operated by
Plaintiffs. (Id. ¶ 19.)
having taxicabs seized without warrant under Section 5714,
Plaintiffs, along with Sawink, Inc. (another taxicab
company), filed suit in the Commonwealth Court of
Pennsylvania, docketed at Sawink, Inc., v. PPA, No.
84 M.D. 201 (2011) (“Sawink”),
challenging the constitutionality of the PPA's
impoundment of their vehicles. (Stip. ¶ 20.) On January
6, 2012, the Commonwealth Court issued a decision in favor of
the petitioners in Sawink, concluding that Section
5714 “does not authorize the impoundment sanction where
a taxicab, certificated by the PUC, accepts a hail in
Philadelphia, ” a decision that was ultimately affirmed
by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Sawink, Inc. v.
PPA, 34 A.3d 926, 932 (Pa. Commw. Ct.),
aff'd, 57 A.3d 644 (Pa. 2012). In the aftermath
of Sawink, the PPA has only seized private
“hacks” - vehicles providing unlawful taxicab
service in Philadelphia - as well as vehicles providing Uber
or Lyft service prior to the Legislature's legalization
of those services in Philadelphia in November, 2016. (Stip.
¶ 22.) The PPA has not impounded any taxicab vehicle
operating under a valid CPC issued by either the PPA or the
PUC merely for operating outside of its territorial rights.
6, 2012, the Pennsylvania Legislature adopted Act 119 of
2012, which modified the relevant language of Section 5714
(“Act 119”) following the Sawink
decision. (Id. ¶ 23.) Like its predecessor,
Section 5714 as amended by Act 119 (the “Current
Impoundment Statute”), does not require the PPA to
obtain a warrant before impounding a vehicle. (Id.
¶ 25.) Although empowered to do so, the Current
Impoundment Statute likewise does not require the PPA to
impound any vehicles. (Id. ¶ 26.) Vehicles
impounded under the Current Impoundment Statute are not
subject to civil forfeiture. (Id. ¶ 27.)
2014, following the Legislature's adoption of the Current
Impoundment Statute, the PPA promulgated new regulations,
approved by the PPA's Board on March 13, 2014 and
codified at 52 Pa. Code §§ 1017.51 and 1017.52 (the
“Current Impoundment Regulations”), setting forth
the circumstances under which it would impound vehicles and
establishing a procedure for such impoundments. (Stip.
¶¶ 28-30.) The Current Impoundment Regulations
define five circumstances as an “impoundable
offense.” See 52 Pa. Code § 1017.51. One
of the “impoundable offenses” occurs when
“[a]n unauthorized taxicab provides, or attempts to
provide, call or demand service [i.e. taxicab] in
Philadelphia.” (Stip. ¶ 32 (bracket in original).)
An “unauthorized taxicab” is defined as
“[a] vehicle without a current and valid TLD inspection
sticker. . . .” (Id. ¶ 33.) Like the
Current Impoundment Statute, the Current Impoundment
Regulations also do not require the PPA to obtain a warrant
before impounding a vehicle for an impoundable offense.
(Id. ¶ 34.)
Weldon, the PPA's General Counsel, was involved in the
rule-making process for the Current Impoundment Regulations.
(Id. ¶ 35.) Because it is not permitted by the
statute, the Current Impoundment Regulations do not allow
civil forfeiture of an impounded vehicle. (Id.
¶ 36.) Since the Current Impoundment Regulations became
effective, Defendant Schmid has 53 Pa. Cons. Stat. §
5714(g)(1). maintained a policy of requiring TLD Enforcement
Officers to obtain his approval before proceeding with any
impoundment under the Current Impoundment Regulations.
(Id. ¶ 38; DSOF ¶ 2; J.App. Tab Q (August
18, 2017 Dep. of William Schmid (“Schmid Dep.”))
at 292-294, 330.)
has a written procedure entitled “Impoundment of
Vehicle Equipment” that is issued to all Enforcement
Officers. (DSOF ¶ 3; D.App. Tab 5; Schmid Dep. at
311-312.) The procedures applicable to the PPA's
impoundment of vehicles under the Current Impoundment
Regulations are set forth at 52 Pa. Code § 1017.52.
(Stip. ¶ 40.) The Current Impoundment Regulations do not
provide for pre-deprivation notice or a hearing prior to
impounding a vehicle. (Id. ¶ 41.) The Current
Impoundment Regulations only provide for post-deprivation
notice and a hearing after an impoundment occurs.
(Id. ¶ 42.)
subjects Plaintiffs' vehicles to a number of regulations
concerning equipment standards and inspections. See
52 Pa. Code §§ 29.401-29.407. The PUC requires that
Plaintiffs' vehicles comply with the Pennsylvania
Department of Transportation (“PennDOT”) Vehicle
and Equipment Inspection standards. (Stip. ¶ 44.) None
of Plaintiffs' vehicles at issue in this Litigation had
been placed out of service by the PUC at the time of their
impoundment by the PPA. (Dec. 28, 2017 Decl. of Joseph Gabbay
¶ 8; Dec. 26, 2017 Decl. of Rachel Tiffany
Gabbay-Karsenty ¶ 8.) On July 30, 2014, just two days
before being impounded by the PPA, the PUC inspected GCC
taxicab G91 for safety and the vehicle passed the inspection.
(Pl. Ex. I (GCC's 2014 Annual Inspection Report).) The
PUC also safety inspected and passed G35 on that date,
approximately five weeks before that vehicle was impounded by
the PPA for lacking a safety inspection sticker.
PPA's first impoundment of a vehicle operated by GCC or
Rosemont under the Current Impoundment Statute and
Regulations occurred on August 1, 2014. (Stip. ¶ 39.) On
that date, the PPA stopped and cited G91 for allegedly
providing illegal service by picking up a “hail
fare” in Philadelphia. (Id. ¶¶ 39,
45.) An additional citation was also issued to the driver of
G91 for operating without a valid driver certificate. (D.App.
Tab 24 (N.T. Aug. 7, 2014 Impoundment Hrg.) at 6-7.) The PPA
immediately seized G91 because it lacked a valid PPA
inspection sticker, even though it had been inspected two
days earlier by the PUC. (Stip. ¶ 46; Pl. Ex. I.) The
PPA did not have a warrant for this seizure and did not
provide GCC with pre-deprivation notice or an opportunity to
be heard prior to seizing the vehicle. (Stip. ¶¶
47-48.) On August 6, 2014, GCC requested a post-deprivation
hearing, and an impoundment hearing was held the next day.
(Id. ¶¶ 49-50.) On September 3, 2014, the
hearing officer entered an order finding the impoundment to
be proper and set bond for the release of the vehicle at $1,
000. (Id. ¶ 51.)
appealed from the Hearing Officer's order to the
Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. (Id. ¶ 52.) On
May 14, 2015, Common Pleas Judge Nina Wright Padilla denied
GCC's appeal. (Id. ¶ 53.) GCC then appealed
to the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court. (Id. ¶
54.) In connection with GCC's appeal to Commonwealth
Court, Judge Padilla issued an Opinion dated July 30, 2015.
(Id. ¶ 55.) On March 1, 2016, the Commonwealth
Court issued a decision denying GCC's appeal,
Germantown Cab Co. v. Philadelphia Parking
Authority, 134 A.3d 1115 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2016),
alloc. denied, 160 A.3d 774 (Pa. 2016) (the
“GCC Direct Appeal Opinion”), and GCC filed a
petition for allocatur to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
(Stip. ¶¶ 56-57.) On November 1, 2016, the Supreme
Court of Pennsylvania denied GCC's petition for
allocatur. (Id. ¶ 59.) Following that decision,
the PPA abated storage fees and released G91 to GCC upon
payment of $1, 500. (Id. ¶ 60.) The PPA did not
require GCC to obtain a current and valid PPA inspection
sticker before releasing G91 back to GCC. (Id.
has also stopped, cited, and seized without warrants GCC
taxicabs G35 (Stip. ¶¶ 62-67), G9 (id.
¶¶ 68-74), and G12 (id. ¶¶ 87-93)
and Rosemont taxicabs R30 (id. ¶¶ 75-80)
and R34 (id. ¶¶ 81-86.) In each
instance, the Plaintiff owner of the taxicab received no
pre-deprivation notice and hearing, and the vehicle was
released after the owner paid the citation with no
requirement that the vehicle be safety inspected before being
placed back in service. (Id. ¶¶ 62-93.)
about January 10, 2012, at the direction of Defendant Schmid,
Defendant Marshall applied to work as a taxicab driver for
GCC. (Stip. ¶ 94.) At Schmid's instruction, Marshall
did not to identify himself to GCC as a PPA Enforcement
Officer and did not wear any clothing that would indicate
that he was a PPA employee. (Id. ¶ 95-97.)
Marshall filled out an application to become a taxi driver at
GCC using his real name, real contact information, real
social security card and real driver's license.
(Id. ¶ 98.) Marshall visited GCC several times
through February 3, 2012, including attendance at a training
class conducted by GCC during which Marshall and other
attendees were instructed how to fabricate trip logs to
conceal illegal operations and were advised that the PUC,
rather than the PPA, properly regulates GCC's operations.
(Id. ¶ 99; D.App. Tab 29; J.App. Tab K (Sept.
22, 2016 Deposition of Steven Marshall (“Marshall
Dep.”)) at 348-75.)
being approved as a taxicab driver by GCC, on February 4,
2012 Marshall made arrangements to work a shift operating GCC
taxicab G61 and made the lease payment required by GCC to
lease the vehicle for one day. (Stip. ¶ 100.) However,
Marshall had no intention of ever driving G61 as a
taxicab-for-hire during his shift and did not engage in any
business as a taxicab driver. (Id. ¶¶
101-02.) Instead, Marshall drove G61 to the PPA's garage
at 2415 South Swanson Street in Philadelphia, where the car
was inspected by a PPA mechanic. (Id. ¶ 103.)
Schmid was present during the inspection. (Id.
¶ 104.) The inspection revealed multiple problems,
including a non-functional airbag, a leaking break line and
pinion gear, and a hole in the trunk. (D.App. Tab 29;
Marshall Dep. at 348-75.) No. one from GCC was notified
about, or present during, the PPA's inspection of G61.
(Stip. ¶ 105.) Marshall timely returned the taxicab to
GCC. (Id. ¶ 106.) When he returned the vehicle,
he represented to GCC that the PPA stopped him at 30th Street
Station to inspect the vehicle. (Stip. ¶ 107.) The PPA
did not issue any citations to GCC relating to any aspect of
Marshall's activities or the inspection of G61.
(Id. ¶ 108.) GCC was not aware of the Marshall
undercover operation prior to conducting discovery in other
litigation with the PPA pending before this Court.
(Id. ¶ 109.)
Claim Preclusion and Issue Preclusion
argue that Plaintiffs' constitutional claims are barred
on both claim preclusion and issue preclusion grounds because
the claims were raised or could have been raised in earlier
litigation involving the parties. Citing the proceedings in
the State Court Impoundment Action, they argue that
Plaintiffs should not be permitted to relitigate the
constitutionality of the Current Impoundment Statute and
preclusion or res judicata “is designed to avoid
piecemeal litigation of claims arising from the same
events.” General Elec. Co. v. Deutz AG, 270
F.3d 144, 157-58 (3d Cir. 2001); see also Whole
Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, 136 S.Ct. 2292, 2305
(2016), as revised (June 27, 2016) (stating that claim
preclusion prohibits ‘“successive litigation of
the very same claim' by the same parties” (quoting
New Hampshire v. Maine, 532 U.S. 742, 748 (2001))).
It generally bars the relitigation of a cause of action where
there has been a “final judgment on the merits in a
prior suit involving the same parties or their privies and a
subsequent suit based on the same cause of action.”
General Elec. Co., 270 F.3d at 158. Claim preclusion
is “based on concerns of fairness, on reliance on the
finality of prior judicial determinations, and on the
expectation of not having to conform primary conduct to
inconsistent decisions and inconsistent legal
obligations.” Bell Atl.-Pennsylvania, Inc. v.
Pennsylvania Pub. Util. Comm'n, 273 F.3d 337, 345
(3d Cir. 2001) (citing E.E.O.C. v. U.S. Steel Corp.,
921 F.2d 489, 492 (3d Cir. 1990)). Importantly, claim
preclusion applies both to claims that “were or could
have been raised” in a prior action involving the
“parties or their privies.” Allen v.
McCurry, 449 U.S. 90, 94 (1980) (citations omitted).
“Claim preclusion thus bars relitigation of any claim
that could have been raised in the prior action even
if it was not so raised.” In re Graham, 973
F.2d 1089, 1093 (3d Cir. 1992) (emphasis added).
applying the principles of claim preclusion, “we must
give the same preclusive effect to the [state court] judgment
. . . that the courts in Pennsylvania, the state in which the
judgment was entered, would give.” Turner v.
Crawford Square Apartments III, L.P., 449 F.3d 542, 548
(3d Cir. 2006) (citing Lance v. Dennis, 546 U.S.
459, 466 (2006)). In Pennsylvania, claim preclusion requires
that the current action and the prior action share the
following four “identities”: “(1) the thing
sued upon or for; (2) the cause of action; (3) the persons
and parties to the action; and (4) the capacity of the
parties to sue or be sued.” Id. (citing
Bearoff v. Bearoff Bros., Inc., 327 A.2d 72, 74 (Pa.
1974)). In Pennsylvania, “the mere advancement of a
different legal theory does not necessarily give rise to a
different cause of action.” Turner, 449 F.3d
at 548 (citation omitted); Hopewell Estates, Inc. v.
Kent, 646 A.2d 1192, 1194-95 (Pa. Super. Ct. 1994)
(noting that courts consider “whether both actions seek
compensation for the same damages” in determining
whether claim preclusion applies); but see McArdle v.
Tronetti, 627 A.2d 1219, 1222-23 (Pa. Super. Ct. 1993)
(finding a lack of identity between two sets of claims -
federal constitutional violations and state law gross
negligence - because they involved distinct factual
allegations and elements).
argue that claim preclusion
unquestionably applies to Germantown, which actually raised
the same constitutional claims in the State Court Impoundment
Action in the context of one of the same impoundments raised
here: the impoundment of G-91 on August 1, 2014 (the first
impoundment under the Current Impoundment Statute and
Regulations). The Commonwealth Court's decision rejecting
those claims is a final judgment, as the Supreme Court of
Pennsylvania declined review.
(Def. Mem. at 27 (emphasis omitted).) They argue that claim
preclusion applies to Rosemont as well because, “prior
to commencing this action, Rosemont pled liable to TLD's
citations and paid all corresponding fines and charges in
connection with the impoundments of R-30” and [u]nder
Pennsylvania law, a plea qualifies as a final judgment on the
merits for purposes of res judicata analysis.”
(Id. at 28 (citing Moyer v. Allstate Ins.
Co., Civ. A. No. 09-1290, 2010 WL 3328035, at *6 (M.D.
Pa. Aug. 20, 2010) (holding that husband-insured's guilty
plea to arson precluded both his and his wife's
collection of fire insurance proceeds since (1) the wife was
also an “insured person” under the policy; (2)
the guilty plea was admissible in the civil action as an
admission against interest; (3) the issue in criminal case
was identical to the issue in coverage action; and (4) the
guilty plea was conclusive of whether husband intended the
result of his actions); DiJoseph v. Vuotto, 968
F.Supp. 244, 247 (E.D. Pa. 1997) (“Operative facts
necessary for criminal convictions are admissible as
conclusive facts in civil suits arising from the same events
and circumstances.” (citing Folino v. Young,
568 A.2d 171, 172 (Pa. 1990))).) Because the Commonwealth
Court's decision rejecting Plaintiffs' challenge to
the impoundment of their taxicabs is a final judgment,
Defendants assert that the claims raised here are precluded.
that claims preclusion does not apply to bar Plaintiffs'
constitutional claims because there is no identity of the
cause of action. The PPA hearing officer and the state courts
that heard GCC's appeals were focused upon
Plaintiffs' conduct in operating its
taxicabs without PPA inspection stickers, while the
constitutional claims GCC and Rosemont raise here focus on
Defendants' conduct in conducting
warrantless seizures of taxicabs found to lack inspection
stickers. Moreover, this is clearly not an attempt at
seriatim litigation of nearly identical claims. Whether or
not GCC attempted to raise an affirmative defense in the
State Court Impoundment Action, it could not have received
the type of relief it and Rosemont seek here, namely an
injunction and money damages arising from the
unconstitutional seizure. Thus, the “same”
constitutional claims could not have been raised in the State
Court Impoundment Action.Finally, there is no identity between
the elements needed to be proved in that action and the
elements Plaintiffs must prove to establish warrantless
seizure and due process claims. The only element at issue in
the enforcement action - whether the taxicab lacked a
required inspection sticker - is immaterial to whether the
PPA had a constitutional obligation to obtain a warrant to
seize the taxicab. Conversely, if Plaintiffs had succeeded in
having their citations dismissed on constitutional grounds,
Defendants would not be barred from denying that civil rights
violations occurred since the elements of a Section 1983
claim would not have been thereby established. Accordingly,
we conclude that there is no identity in the “operative
facts” undergirding the Plaintiffs' liability on
the citations and their constitutional warrantless seizure
claims sufficient to make those admissions preclusive to the
doctrine of issue preclusion, also known as collateral
estoppel, is based upon the principle that ‘“a
losing litigant deserves no rematch after a defeat fairly
suffered, in adversarial proceedings, on an issue identical
in substance to the one he subsequently seeks to
raise.'” Dici v. Pennsylvania, 91 F.3d
542, 547 (3d Cir. 1996) (quoting Astoria Fed. Sav. &
Loan Ass'n v. Solimino, 501 U.S. 104, 107 (1991)).
Its application by federal courts is grounded in the federal
full faith and credit statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1738, which
provides that state judicial proceedings “shall have
the same full faith and credit in every court within the
United States . . . as they have by law or usage in the
courts of such State . . . from which they are taken.”
Id., accord Marrese v. Am. Acad. of Orthopaedic
Surgeons, 470 U.S. 373, 380 (1985). Thus, in determining
whether the doctrine bars relitigation of an issue previously
determined by a state court, a federal court must apply state
law and evaluate whether relitigation would be precluded in
the courts of the state in which the initial litigation took
place. Swineford v. Snyder Cnty. Pa., 15 F.3d 1258,
1266 (3d Cir. 1994) (“Federal courts must give a state
court judgment the same preclusive effect as would the courts
of that state.”) (citation omitted).
Pennsylvania law, in order for issue preclusion to apply,
five elements must be satisfied: (1) the issue is identical
to one that was presented in a prior case; (2) there has been
a final judgment on the merits of the issue in the prior
case; (3) the party against whom the doctrine is asserted was
a party in, or in privity with a party in, the prior action;
(4) the party against whom the doctrine is asserted, or one
in privity with the party, had a full and fair opportunity to
litigate the issue in the prior proceeding; and (5) the
determination in the prior proceeding was essential to the
judgment. Dici, 91 F.3d at 548 (citation omitted);
Cohen v. Workers' Comp. Appeal Bd., 909 A.2d
1261, 1264 (Pa. 2006) (citation omitted); Rue v. K-Mart
Corp., 713 A.2d 82, 84 (Pa. 1998) (citation omitted).
that Defendants cannot demonstrate these elements as a matter
of law. As we concluded with regard to claim preclusion, we
conclude that Defendants have failed to establish the
identity of issue, that the issue was essential to the
judgment, and that there was a full and fair opportunity to
litigate. Whether Plaintiffs lacked a PPA inspection sticker
is not the same issue as whether the impoundment of the
taxicabs was an unconstitutional seizure or a due process
violation. Because the PPA did not have to affirmatively
prove that the seizure was constitutional at the
administrative hearing, it was not ...