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James Gross, et al v. Santana Belmont

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


June 20, 2012

JAMES GROSS, ET AL.,
PLAINTIFFS,
v.
SANTANA BELMONT, ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS.

ORDER SEVERING PLAINTIFFS' CLAIMS AND DIRECTING CLERK'S OFFICE TO OPEN NEW ACTIONS FOR PLAINTIFF BELMONT (Doc. 1)

I. Procedural History

Plaintiff James Gross and Santana Belmont ("Plaintiffs") are state prisoners proceeding pro se in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiffs filed their jointly signed complaint on April 30, 2012. Doc. 1.

II. Severance

After reviewing the complaint, the Court has determined that each plaintiff should proceed separately on his own claims. Rule 21 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that "[p]arties may be dropped or added by order of the court on motion of any party or of its own initiative at any stage of the action and on such terms as are just," and "[a]ny claim against a party may be severed and proceeded with separately." Courts have broad discretion regarding severance. See Coleman v. Quaker Oats Co., 232 F.3d 1271, 1297 (9th Cir. 2000); Maddox v. County of Sacramento, No. 2:06-cv-0072-GEB-EFB, 2006 WL 3201078, *2 (E.D.Cal. Nov. 6, 2006).

Plaintiffs are currently incarcerated at Avenal State Prison. In the Court's experience, an action brought by multiple incarcerated plaintiffs proceeding pro se where there is a possibility that plaintiffs could be transferred to separate prisons, presents procedural problems that cause delay and confusion. Further, the need for all plaintiffs to agree on all filings made in this action, and the need for all filings to contain the original signatures of all plaintiffs will lead to delay and confusion.

Therefore, plaintiffs' claims shall be severed, plaintiff Gross shall proceed as the sole plaintiff in this action, and a new action shall be opened for plaintiff Belmont. Gaffney v. Riverboat Serv. of Indiana, 451 F.3d 424, 441 (7th Cir. 2006). Each plaintiff shall be solely responsible for prosecuting his own action.

III. Order

Based on the foregoing, it is HEREBY ORDERED that:

1. Plaintiff Gross shall proceed as the sole plaintiff in case number 1:12-cv-00780-LJO-GBC;

2. The claims of Plaintiff Belmont are severed from the claims of Plaintiff Gross; and

3. The Clerk of the Court is directed to:

a. Open a separate civil action for Plaintiff Belmont;

b. Assign the new action to the magistrate judge to whom the instant case is assigned and make appropriate adjustment in the assignment of civil cases to compensate for such assignment;

c. File and docket a copy of this order in the new action opened for Plaintiff Belmont;

d. Place a copy of the complaint filed on April 30, 2012, in the instant action in the new actions opened for Plaintiff Belmont; and

e. Send Plaintiff Belmont an endorsed copy of the complaint, filed April 30, 2012, bearing the case number assigned to his own individual action.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

20120620

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