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Kathleen Denese Burks v. Kenneth Salazar


December 3, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Allison Claire United States Magistrate Judge


Before the court is plaintiff's October 23, 2012 administrative motion to relate cases. The federal defendants oppose the motion. On review of the motion, the documents filed in support and opposition, and good cause appearing therefor, THE COURT FINDS AS FOLLOWS:

Plaintiff, an African-American female proceeding in pro per, initiated this action on May 4, 2012 in the Northern District of California against defendants Kenneth Salazar, Secretary of the Department of Interior ("DOI"); Donald Glaser, Regional Director of the DOI; and Katherine Thompson, Assistant Regional Director of the DOI. Plaintiff's suit is brought pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., and alleges race and age discrimination, retaliation, and harassment.This case was transferred to this court on July 30, 2012.

In the factually-sparse complaint filed in this case, plaintiff claims that because of her race and age, she suffered the following at the hands of unspecified individuals: harassment from June 2007 to June 2009; removal of managerial responsibilities in November 2008; a minimally successful performance rating on February 21, 2008; denial of within-grade pay increase on May 30, 2008; an unsatisfactory supervisory assessment on May 30, 2008; a five-day suspension on May 22, 2008; an unsatisfactory performance evaluation on June 1, 2009; and reassignment from her position as Financial Manager on June 1, 2009.

By motion dated October 23, 2012, plaintiff seeks to relate the instant case to Bell v. Dep't of the Interior, et al., 2:12-cv-1414-GEB-JFM (PS),*fn1 which was also initiated in the Northern District of California and subsequently transferred to this court. In the operative amended complaint in that action, plaintiff Bell, an African American female who provides care to her disabled dependent sister, brings suit against defendant Salazar pursuant to Title VII and the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 701, alleging race and disability discrimination, retaliation, and harassment.

Pursuant to Local Rule 123(a),

An action is related to another action within the meaning of this Rule when

(1) both actions involve the same parties and are based on the same or a similar claim;

(2) both actions involve the same property, transaction, or event;

(3) both actions involve similar questions of fact and the same question of law and their assignment to the same Judge or Magistrate Judge is likely to effect a substantial savings of judicial effort, either because the same result should follow in both actions or otherwise; or

(4) for any other reasons, it would entail substantial duplication of labor if the actions were heard by different Judges or Magistrate Judges.

Pursuant to Local Rule 123(c), the determination whether cases are related is made by the judge to whom the action with the lower or lowest number has been assigned. Here, of the two cases to be related, the lower case number is 2:12-cv-1414-GEB-JFM (PS). In that case and when presented with an identical administrative motion to relate cases, Magistrate Judge John F. Moulds determined that the cases are not related within the meaning of Local Rule 123(a). See Doc. No. 53. Therefore, plaintiff's motion will be denied.

Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff's motion to relate cases is denied.

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