Virgo v. Lyons

In Virgo v. Lyons, 209 Conn. 497, 502, 551 A.2d 1243 (1988), a plaintiff had brought suit in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut for damages sustained as a result of an assault and battery and claimed false arrest he was alleged to have suffered at the hands of the police. In the District Court action, he also brought a pendent state claim that a negligent failure to train officers properly had resulted in the assault and battery to him and that the officers involved had negligently battered him. The District Court dismissed the false arrest claim and the pendent state claims, and the jury decided, on a claim of excessive force under 42 U.S.C. 1983, that there was a violation of his civil rights and returned a verdict in his favor for damages. The plaintiff then attempted to bring an action in the Superior Court on a complaint that was identical to that brought in the federal case and reiterated the same injury. The trial court rendered summary judgment on the defendants' special defense of res judicata and collateral estoppel. The plaintiff appealed on the ground that the pendent state claims had not been litigated. Our Supreme Court, however, determined that collateral estoppel did apply to bar the state claims because they had in fact already been decided and arose out of the same alleged wrongs, committed by the same defendants, with the same resulting injuries, even though 1983 was invoked in the federal case and the plaintiff was invoking only state tort law in the state case. Id. at 502.