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John Wesley Williams v. California Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation

May 16, 2013


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


Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding pro se in this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff filed this action on March 20, 2009, together with an application to proceed in forma pauperis. ECF Nos. 1, 2.


On June 22, 2009, the court granted plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis and dismissed the complaint with leave to amend. ECF Nos. 5, 6. The court ordered that the complaint be dismissed with leave to amend for failure to comply with Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 18 and 20, because "plaintiff's complaint includes many unrelated claims against more than a dozen defendants." ECF No. 5 at 4. Plaintiff elected not to file an amended complaint, instead asking the court to enter final judgment so that plaintiff could file an appeal of the order in the Court of Appeals. See Doc. No. 16. The court granted plaintiff's request, and final judgment was entered on December 9, 2009. See ECF No. 17. On January 31, 2012, the Court of Appeals reversed the court's decision in part, finding that plaintiff had partially satisfied Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 20, and that misjoinder was, in any event, not an appropriate reason for dismissal. See ECF No. 22. On February 8, 2012, the court re-screened the complaint, and found that service was appropriate. See ECF No. 23. On September 26, 2012, after plaintiff submitted the requisite documents, the court directed the U.S. Marshals to serve the complaint. See ECF No. 35.

On July 11, 2012, the court denied plaintiff's "Motion to Disqualify Magistrate Judge in the Interest of Justice." See ECF No. 33. After reviewing the case's procedural history, the court found that plaintiff had failed to establish that the assigned magistrate judge was biased against him. Id.

On November 15, 2012, the court denied plaintiff's "Motion and Request for Adherence to Local Rules," in which plaintiff argued that this action should be assigned to the judge and magistrate judge who had dismissed his prior action, Williams v. Walker et al., 2:07-cv-0752 (the "2007 Action"), in April 2009. ECF Nos. 37, 38. The 2007 Action had been dismissed on defendant's motion, for plaintiff's failure to exhaust his administrative remedies. Williams v. Walker, 2:07-cv-0752 WBS KJM, Doc. Nos. 29 (Order), 27 (Findings and Recommendations). The action was dismissed without prejudice to re-filing. Id.

The findings and recommendations filed in the 2007 Action were accompanied by the magistrate judge's ruling on plaintiff's motion to file an amended complaint:

Plaintiff's motion is not . . . accompanied by a proposed amended complaint. As a litigant proceeding in forma pauperis, plaintiff's pleadings are subject to evaluation by this court pursuant to the in forma pauperis statute. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915. Because plaintiff did not submit a proposed amended complaint, the court is unable to evaluate it. Plaintiff's motion for leave to amend must therefore be denied.

See Case No. 2:07-cv-0752, Doc. No. 27 at 13.

On March 20, 2009, after plaintiff had been denied leave to amend in the 2007 Action and while the findings and recommendations regarding the motion to dismiss were still pending in that case, plaintiff filed the operative complaint in the present action. See Doc. No. 1. It is not labeled "Amended," and nowhere in its 207 pages can this court find any reference to plaintiff's then-pending 2007 Action.

In his motion for reassignment of this case, plaintiff did not explain why he waited until October 2012, more than three and a half years after filing, to seek reassignment. See ECF No. 38 at 2. Finding that plaintiff had failed to comply with the court's Local Rules regarding related cases, the court denied the reassignment motion, writing that "[i]t would be improper to allow a plaintiff, who having failed to notify the court of a related case at the time of filing, and who therefore obtained a different judge in violation of the rule, to invoke the rule years later in order to circumvent the court's denial of his disqualification motion." ECF No. 38 at 4.


On December 10, 2012, defendants filed a motion to revoke plaintiff's in forma pauperis status. Defendants contend that plaintiff had accumulated three "strikes" under 28 U.S.C. ยง 1915(g) before this action was filed, and is accordingly not entitled to proceed in forma pauperis. ECF No. 41-1 at 8. Defendants further allege that the California Superior Court for the County of Kern has declared plaintiff a vexatious litigant under section 391 of the California Code of Civil Procedure. Id. Defendants argue that because plaintiff is a vexatious litigant, and is not likely to succeed on the ...

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