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Arthur Court Designs, Inc. v. Owens

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


February 9, 2009

ARTHUR COURT DESIGNS, INC., PLAINTIFF,
v.
SHERRI OWENS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Edward M. Chen United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER SEVERING CASE

Plaintiff Arthur Court Designs, Inc. ("ACDI") has filed suit against Defendants Sherri Owens and John Jensen for copyright infringement. Ms. Owens has made an appearance in this case, but Mr. Jensen has not and a default has been entered against him. See Docket No. 21 (entry of default). On February 4, 2009, the Court held a case management conference at which only ACDI appeared. ACDI represented that Ms. Owens had signed a stipulated consent decree, see also Docket No. 27 (stipulated consent decree), thus resolving the case as to her and leaving only ACDI's claims against Mr. Jensen. Because the only claims remaining are those against Mr. Jensen, the Court deems it appropriate to sever those claims from the instant case so that the Court may enter a final judgment against Ms. Owens in the instant case. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(b) (providing that, typically, "any order or other decision . . . that adjudicates fewer than all the claims or the rights and liabilities of fewer than all the parties does not end the action as to any of the claims or parties"). Although no 27 party has moved for severance in the instant case, the Court may sever claims sua sponte pursuant to 28 Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 21. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 21 (providing that a court may "on its own" and "at any time, on just terms, add or drop a party"); see also Maddox v. County of Sacramento, No. 06-cv-0072, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83105, at *4 (E.D. Cal. Nov. 6, 2006) (noting that the court would decide sua sponte whether to sever the plaintiffs' claims under Rule 21). Under Rule 21, "[a] claim may be severed if it will serve the ends of justice and further the prompt and efficient disposition of litigation." CVI/Beta Ventures v. Custom Optical Frames, 896 F. Supp. 505, 505 6 (S.D. Md. 1995) ; see also 4- 21 Moore's Fed. Prac. -- Civ. § 21.05 ("The trial court . . . has great discretion [under Rule 21] to restructure an action to promote the efficient administration of 8 justice.").

Accordingly, the Clerk of the Court is hereby ordered to open a new case with ACDI as Plaintiff and Mr. Jensen as Defendant. The complaint in this case shall be used as the complaint in the new case. The entry of default against Mr. Jensen in this case shall be deemed an entry of default in the new case. No later than March 11, 2009, ACDI shall file a motion for default judgment in the newly opened case against Mr. Jensen. ACDI shall serve a copy of the motion, and all accompanying submissions, on Mr. Jensen, as well as a copy of this order. Mr. Jensen shall then have until March 25, 2009, to file an opposition, and ACDI until April 1, 2009, to file a reply. The Court shall then issue a report and recommendation on the papers, unless it deems a hearing on the motion for default judgment necessary.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

20090209

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