IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
July 18, 2012
SCOTT N. JOHNSON, PLAINTIFF,
MP QUAIL CHASE LLC,
On May 10, 2012, plaintiff filed a request for dismissal with prejudice of the above-captioned matter. (ECF 25.) He contends "the architectural barriers related to the disabled parking and accessible route have been removed; therefore, this action is moot." (Id. at 2.) Defendant objects to this request, contending "it will suffer plain legal prejudice by dismissal of this litigation by depriving it of key claims and defenses arising out of the pending motion for summary judgment." (ECF 26.) Specifically, defendant contends it will be prejudiced because dismissal will deprive it of seeking to have plaintiff declared a vexatious litigant and limit its ability to collect attorneys' fees and costs.
"When ruling on a motion to dismiss without prejudice [in accordance with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(2)], the district court must determine whether the defendant will suffer some plain legal prejudice as a result of the dismissal." Westlands Water Dist. v. United States, 100 F.3d 94, 96 (9th Cir. 1996). Legal prejudice is "prejudice to some interest, some legal claim, some legal argument." Id. at97. Cases considering legal prejudice "focus on the rights and defenses available to a defendant in future litigation." Id. "If a notice of summary judgment has been filed, the court can grant a dismissal at its discretion." Terrovona v. Kincheloe, 852 F.2d 424, 429 (9th Cir. 1988).
Here, plaintiff seeks dismissal with prejudice. However, dismissal of this case will prejudice defendant's legal interests in having the court determine whether plaintiff has standing to bring such suits and is a vexatious litigant; although plaintiff seeks to dismiss the present suit against defendant because he says his claims are moot, such dismissal would not prevent plaintiff from bringing new suits in the future alleging violations based on other barriers against this very defendant.
Without prejudging the outcome of defendant's pending motion, plaintiff's request for dismissal is DENIED.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
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