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Thomas Goolsby, et al v. Matthew Cate

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


May 1, 2013

THOMAS GOOLSBY, ET AL.,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
MATTHEW CATE, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gary S. Austin United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR CLASS ACTION CERTIFICATION (Doc. 5.)

Plaintiffs, Thomas Goolsby, Kevin Hunt, Paul Diaz, David Baumgaertel, and Jesse Gehrke (collectively, "Plaintiffs"), are state prisoners proceeding pro se with this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiffs filed the Complaint commencing this action on January 25, 2013. (Doc. 1.) On February 11, 2013, plaintiff Goolsby filed a motion for certification of this litigation as a class action. (Doc. 5.)

The Plaintiffs in this action are all non-lawyers proceeding without counsel. It is well established that a layperson cannot ordinarily represent the interests of a class. See McShane v. United States, 366 F.2d 286 (9th Cir. 1966). This rule becomes almost absolute when, as here, the putative class representative is incarcerated and proceeding pro se. Oxendine v. Williams, 509 F.2d 1405, 1407 (4th Cir. 1975). In direct terms, none of the Plaintiffs can Afairly and adequately protect the interests of the class@ as required by Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(a)(4). See Martin v. Middendorf, 420 F. Supp. 779 (D.D.C. 1976). A plaintiff's privilege to appear in propria persona is a Aprivilege ... personal to him. He has no authority to appear as an attorney for others than himself.@ McShane v. U.S., 366 F.2d 286, 288 (9th Cir. 1966), citing Russell v. United States, 308 F.2d 78, 79 (9th Cir. 1962); Collins v. O'Brien, 93 U.S.App.D.C. 152, 208 F.2d 44, 45 (1953), cert. denied, 347 U.S. 944, 74 S.Ct. 640, 98 L.Ed. 1092 (1954). This action, therefore, will not be construed as a class action and instead will be construed as an individual civil suit brought by Plaintiffs.

Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiff Goolsby=s motion for class action certification, filed on February 11, 2013, is DENIED.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

20130501

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