IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
March 17, 2010
DAVID E. EDWARDS, PLAINTIFF,
CSP SOLANO, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Craig M. Kellison United States Magistrate Judge
Plaintiff, a state prisoner proceeding pro se, brings this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Pursuant to the written consent of all parties, this case is before the undersigned as the presiding judge for all purposes, including entry of final judgment. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(c).
Pending before the court is Plaintiff's request to join/relate this case to another inmate's case, James E. Edwards v. Warden Sisto, et al., case number 09cv3246-GGH. Plaintiff has also filed a motion to join James E. Edwards as a plaintiff in this case. Plaintiff requests these cases be related/joined as the plaintiffs are related (father and son), the claims arise out of the same occurrence, and involve similar questions of law or fact.
Eastern District of California Local Rule 123 allows the court to relate cases where the actions involve the same parities and are based on the same or similar claims, involve the same property, transaction or event, or involve similar questions of fact or law.
A review of this issue reveals that James E. Edwards has voluntarily dismissed his separate action, 09cv3246-GGH. He notified the court of his intention to join as a plaintiff in this action, which the court interpreted as a request to voluntarily dismiss the separate action. As interpreted, his request was granted. Case 09cv3246-GGH has therefore been closed, and the court is unable to related them.
Instead, Plaintiff in this action filed a "motion to join as plaintiff" pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24. Rule 24(a) requires the court to permit anyone to intervene in a case who:
(1) is given an unconditional right to intervene by a federal statute; or (2) claims an interest relating to the property or transaction that is the subject of the action, and is so situated that disposing of the action may as a practical matter impair or impede the movant's ability to protect its interest, unless existing parties adequately represent that interests.
There is no indication in this case that such intervention as of right is appropriate.
Under Rule 24(b)(1), however, the court may permit anyone to intervene who: "(A) is given a conditional right to intervene by a federal statute; or (B) has a claim or defense that share with the main action a common question of law or fact." It appears to the court that the current request is pursuant to Rule 24(b)(1)(B), permissive intervention.
In this instance, however, both plaintiffs are state prisoners proceeding pro se with civil rights actions pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In this court's experience, an action brought by multiple inmate plaintiffs proceeding pro se presents procedural problems that cause delay and confusion. Delay often arises from the frequent transfer of inmates to other facilities or institutions, the changes in address that occur when inmates are released to parole, and the difficulties faced by inmates who attempt to communicate with each other and with unincarcerated individuals.
The court therefore finds it inappropriate to allow James E. Edwards to join this case as a co-plaintiff. James E. Edwards voluntarily dismissed his action pursuant to Rule 41(a), and specifically requested the dismissal be without prejudice. He may therefore proceed with his claim in his own action.
Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:
1. Plaintiff's request to relate this case to 09cv3246-GGH (Doc. 40) is denied; and
2. Plaintiff's request to allow James E. Edwards to intervene as a co-plaintiff in this action (Doc. 44) is denied.
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