The opinion of the court was delivered by: Allison Claire United States Magistrate Judge
Plaintiff filed this action on August 12, 2011 in the Fresno division of the Eastern District of California accusing multiple defendants located in that division ("the Fresno defendants") of violating plaintiff's constitutional rights. Over ten months later, on June 14, 2012, plaintiff filed another pleading that he titled "Joinder," but that the Fresno Clerk of Court titled "First Amended Prisoner Civil Rights Complaint." There, plaintiff alleges misconduct on the part of a number of newly-identified individuals located in the Sacramento division of the Eastern District of California ("the Sacramento defendants"). The allegations against the Sacramento defendants are completely different from those against the Fresno defendants. Because of these new allegations, this matter was transferred to this court on September 24, 2012.
On review of the original pleading and the June 14, 2012 "Joinder" pleading, it is unclear whether the latter was intended to supplement or override the former. The district court in Fresno construed it as an amended pleading and thereupon transferred it to this court pursuant to Local Rule 120(f).
To the extent plaintiff intended the pleading to be -- as the term "Joinder" suggests -- a supplement to the original complaint, then this was in error because the court cannot refer to a prior pleading in order to make a later-filed pleading complete. Local Rule 220 requires that an amended complaint be complete in itself without reference to any prior pleading. This is because, as a general rule, an amended complaint supersedes the original complaint. See Loux v. Rhay, 375 F.2d 55, 57 (9th Cir. 1967). Once plaintiff files an amended complaint, the original pleading no longer serves any function in the case. Thus, if plaintiff's intention was indeed to supplement his original complaint, plaintiff is put on notice that what he in fact did was discontinue his claims against the Fresno defendants, and only those claims against the Sacramento defendants remain.
If, however, plaintiff intended to maintain his action against the Fresno defendants, then his June 14, 2012 pleading was improperly designated as a First Amended Complaint. At this stage, the court is unable to proceed in this action without clarification from plaintiff.
Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff shall file a statement of clarification within twenty-eight days from the date of this order informing the court of how he wishes to proceed with this action.
© 1992-2013 VersusLaw ...