UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
May 3, 2013
JAMES R. ARABIA,
CWMBS, INC., ET AL.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Gonzalo P. Curiel United States District Judge
ORDER GRANTING APPELLANT'S REQUEST FOR
CONSOLIDATION AND DENYING AS MOOT APPELLANT'S EX PARTE
APPLICATION FOR CONCURRENT BRIEFING SCHEDULES
On March 28, 2013, appellant debtor James R. Arabia ("Appellant"), proceeding pro se, filed two notices of appeal from the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of California. One appeal was assigned to Judge Moskowitz (case no. 3:13-cv-0753-BLM-MDD) ("753 Case"); the other was assigned to this Court (case no. 3:13-cv-0746-GPC-WVG) ("746 Case"). Judge Moskowitz and this Court set different briefing schedules in each case.
On April 19, 2013, Appellant filed, in the 753 Case, a notice of related cases and request for expedited consideration of transfer and consolidation with the 746 Case. On April 25, 2013, the 753 Case was deemed related to the 746 Case and transferred to this Court pursuant to the Low-Number Rule (new case no. 3:13-cv-0753-GPC- WVG). On May 1, 2013, Appellant filed, in the 746 Case, an ex parte application requesting concurrent briefing schedules.
Having reviewed Appellant's request for consolidation and ex parte application for concurrent briefing schedules, along with the notices of appeal and related documents filed in each case, the Court will consolidate the cases.
Consolidation is within the broad discretion of the district court. In re Air Crash Disaster at Florida Everglades, 549 F.2d 1006, 1013-14 (5th Cir. 1977). Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 42(a), this Court can consolidate cases that "involve a common question of law or fact." Fed. R. Civ. P. 42(a). A district court may sua sponte consolidate actions as part of its broad discretion to manage its caseload. In re Adams Apple, 829 F.2d 1484, 1487 (9th Cir. 1987); see also Devlin v. Transp. Commc'ns. Int'l Union, 175 F.3d 121, 130 (2d Cir. 1999). The rule should be employed as "a valuable and important tool of judicial administration." Devlin, 175 F.3d at 130 (quotation omitted).
Here, the appeals arise from the same bankruptcy case, involve the same parties, and call for determination of the same or substantially identical questions of law. The 746 Case arises from the bankruptcy court's order denying Appellant's motion for turnover, and the 753 Case arises from the bankruptcy court's order remanding a portion of Appellant's bankruptcy case for a determination of the issues underlying Appellant's motion for turnover. Thus, the Court finds it appropriate to GRANT Appellant's request for consolidation. Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the 746 Case is consolidated with the 753 Case. The 746 Case is the lead case; thus, the Court DIRECTS the parties to file all future documents solely in the 746 Case. The the parties need not refer to the 753 Case on any of those filings.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the briefing schedule that Judge Moskowitz set in the 753 Case is VACATED. Thus, the briefing schedule set in the lead case will govern the briefing in these consolidated cases. Appellant's ex parte application for concurrent briefing schedules is therefore DENIED AS MOOT.
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