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Hamilton v. State

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


June 28, 2010

GEORGE HAMILTON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
STATE OF CALIFORNIA, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Oliver W. Wanger United States District Judge

ORDER ADOPTING FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS AND DISMISSING CLAIMS AGAINST ALL DEFENDANTS OTHER THAN LOPEZ AND AGUIRRE (Docs. 41, 51 & 55)

Plaintiff George Hamilton, a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, has filed this civil rights action seeking relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The matter was referred to a United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Rule 302.

Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint, filed on August 20, 2008, was an eighty-page document that named approximately seventy-five defendants (not including "Roes 1-100"). In screening Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint, the Magistrate Judge found that Plaintiff had joined together multiple unrelated causes of action in violation of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 18(a). (Doc. 45.) The Magistrate Judge reviewed the merits of Plaintiff's claims against Defendants Lopez, Aguirre, Vogal and Halberg as those claims arose out of the same "transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences." See Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 20(a)(2). The Magistrate Judge found that Plaintiff had stated cognizable claims against Defendants Lopez and Aguirre but not against Defendants Vogal and Halberg. As to the remaining Defendants, the Magistrate Judge recommended dismissing Plaintiff's claims without prejudice to Plaintiff filing separate actions for each related series of events in compliance with Federal Rules 8(a), 18, 19 and 20. Plaintiff was given the opportunity to either amend his complaint or to notify the Court that he wished to proceed on only those claims found to be cognizable.

After much delay, on March 15, 2010, Plaintiff informed the Court that he wished to proceed only on the claims found cognizable by the Magistrate Judge. (Doc. 52.) Plaintiff has since filed the necessary documents and the Court has ordered the United States Marshal to serve Defendants Lopez and Aguirre. On May 4, 2010, the Magistrate Judge issued Findings and Recommendations recommending the dismissal of Plaintiff's claims other than those against Lopez and Aguirre. (Doc. 55.)

Plaintiff now objects to the Magistrate Judge's Findings and Recommendations and asks the Court to screen his remaining claims to determine whether he has alleged cognizable claims against the other seventy-plus Defendants. (Doc. 61.) The Court declines to do so. As Plaintiff has been informed on a number of occasions, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not allow him to bring unrelated claims against multiple defendants in the same lawsuit. See George v. Smith, 507 f.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir. 2007) ("Thus multiple claims against a single party are fine, but Claim A against Defendant 1 should not be joined with unrelated Claim B against Defendant 2. Unrelated claims against different defendants belong in different suits."). The Court is dismissing with prejudice only Plaintiff's claims against Vogal and Halberg, meaning that Plaintiff cannot bring those claims against those Defendants in another lawsuit. All of Plaintiff's other claims against all of the other Defendants are being dismissed without prejudice, meaning Plaintiff is free to bring those claims again in a different matter.

In accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C), this Court has conducted a de novo review of this case. Having carefully reviewed the entire file, the Court finds the Findings and Recommendations to be supported by the record and by proper analysis.

Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:

1. The Findings and Recommendations, filed May 4, 2010, is adopted;

2. Plaintiff has stated cognizable claims against Defendant Aguirre and Lopez and such claims remain pending in this action;

3. Plaintiff's claims against Defendant Vogal and Halberg are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted;

4. Plaintiff's claims against all other remaining Defendants are DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

20100628

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