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Cmls Management, Inc., Margaret Wilkins, and Michael Schulte v. Fresno County Superior Court

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


May 10, 2012

CMLS MANAGEMENT, INC., MARGARET WILKINS, AND MICHAEL SCHULTE,
PLAINTIFFS,
v.
FRESNO COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT, JUDGE DONALD FRANSON, JUDGE MARK SNAUFFER, AND
PRIVATE PERSON ACTING OUTSIDE OF JUDICIAL CAPACITY,
DEFENDANTS.

ORDER VACATING MAY 14, 2012 HEARING AND ORDER FOR ADDITIONAL BRIEFING

Currently set for hearing on May 14, 2012, is Defendants' motion to dismiss. The Court has reviewed the parties' respective papers and has determined that additional briefing is necessary. First, the Court finds it appropriate for the parties to brief whether Younger abstention and/or the Wilton/Brillhart doctrine applies to each of Plaintiff's requests for declaratory relief. See, e.g., Gilbertson v. Albright, 381 F.3d 985 (9th Cir. 2004) (discussing Younger abstention); Government Emples. Ins. Co. v. Dizol, 133 F.3d 1220 (9th Cir. 1998) (discussing Wilton/Brillhart). Second, the complaint acknowledges that Judge Franson has been elevated to the Fifth District Court of Appeals. Since Judge Franson is no longer a judge on the Fresno County Superior Court, the parties shall brief whether the Complaint states a valid claim against Judge Franson and/or whether the claims against Judge Franson are now moot. Finally, Plaintiffs' complaint is somewhat ambiguous. Plaintiff shall clarify whether the declarations for which he prays are sought under 28 U.S.C. § 2201 or under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Court will set a briefing schedule for exploration of these issues, and will vacate the currently set hearing date on Defendants' Rule 12(b) motion.

Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:

1. The May 14, 2012, hearing date is VACATED;

2. The parties shall file briefs that address the above described issues on or by 10:00 a.m. on May 21, 2012;

3. The parties shall file responding briefs on or by 4:00 p.m. on May 25, 2012; and

4. The Court will decide Defendants' Rule 12(b) motion on the papers after May 25, 2012, unless, after receiving and reviewing the additional briefing, the Court determines that a hearing on the matter would be beneficial.*fn1

IT IS SO ORDERED.

CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE


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