The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kendall J. Newman United States Magistrate Judge
Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding without counsel and in forma pauperis in this action seeking relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Sole defendant Luzadas has answered the complaint. Both parties have consented to the jurisdiction of the magistrate judge for all purposes. (Dkt. Nos. 4, 17.) See 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) and E.D. Cal. L. R. ("Local Rule") 305(a).
Review of the parties' pleadings and exhibits indicates that an early settlement conference may be helpful in this case. Most significant is plaintiff's Eighth Amendment claim that defendant deliberately dispersed pepper spray in plaintiff's face after plaintiff was placed in handcuffs, allegedly resulting in medically-supported eye damage (Dkt. No. 11 at 4), and defendant's apparent concession in a related Rules Violation Report that he accidentally dispersed pepper spray next to plaintiff's facial area after plaintiff was handcuffed (id. at 25). Although the monetary damages sought by plaintiff ($100,000 compensatory, and $100,000 punitive) appear, at this juncture, to be excessive, plaintiff also seeks a written apology. If the parties agree that a compromise settlement may reasonably be achieved, the court will schedule a settlement conference, either before the undersigned or another magistrate judge.
Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that, within thirty (30) days after service of this order, each party shall submit a confidential statement to the court indicating whether it is advisable to set an early settlement conference in this action and, if so, whether such conference should be convened before the undersigned magistrate judge or another magistrate judge. Each party's statement should be mailed to the undersigned at the following address:
Honorable Kendall J. Newman
United States District Court, Eastern District of California 501 I Street, Suite 4-200 Sacramento CA 95813
The statements and envelopes should note that the matters are "CONFIDENTIAL," and should be directed to chambers without filing.
Should the court conclude, after review of the parties' statements, that a settlement conference would not be helpful at this time, the court will issue a scheduling order setting deadlines for discovery and the filing of dispositive motions.
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