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Levy v. 24 Hour Fitness Worldwide, Inc.

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

June 3, 2013

AMANDA U. LEVY, Plaintiff,
v.
24 HOUR FITNESS WORLDWIDE, INC. (SANTA MONICA), Defendant.

ORDER RELATING AND CONSOLIDATING CASES, AND SUA SPONTE DISMISSING WITH PREJUDICE

JON S. TIGAR, District Judge.

I. BACKGROUND

On February 27 and 28, 2013, pro se Plaintiff Amanda Levy ("Plaintiff") filed three different lawsuits in this Court against Defendant 24 Hour Fitness Worldwide, Inc. ("Defendant"), regarding incidents that she alleges occurred in three different branches of Defendant's clubs: Case Nos. 4:13-892-CW ("the North Hollywood Action"), 3:13-893-JST ("the Santa Monica Action"), and 3:13-927-JSC ("the Sacramento Action").

In this, the Santa Monica Action, the Court dismissed Plaintiff's complaint on March 28 without prejudice, adopting the recommendation of Magistrate Judge Laporte, who found that the complaint failed to adequately assert federal subject-matter jurisdiction. ECF No. 7. This Court granted Plaintiff leave to amend her complaint to overcome the deficiencies identified in Judge Laporte's report and recommendation, and ordered her to do so within twenty-one days. Id.

Plaintiff filed a new complaint in this action on April 26.[1] "Amended Complaint, " ECF No. 11. Apparently as a precaution in case the Santa Monica Action had been closed, she also filed the exact same complaint as a new action, which was assigned to Magistrate Judge Beeler. Case No. 3:13-cv-2077 ("the Beeler Action"). Judge Beeler referred that action to this Court for purposes of considering whether it should be related pursuant to Civil Local Rule 3-12, and this Court related the Beeler Action to the Santa Monica Action. ECF Nos. 15 & 16.

In the Amended Complaint, Plaintiff states that she "would like to combine these three cases [i.e., the Santa Monica, Sacramento, and North Hollywood Actions] as one." ECF No. 11, at 2:1-3. The Amended Complaint contains factual allegations about incidents that occurred at all three locations, indicating that Plaintiff would like for the new complaint to serve as the operative complaint for all three actions. The Court construes this as a motion to relate these cases pursuant to Civil Local Rule 3-12, and to consolidate the cases pursuant to Federal Rule 42(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

II. RELATION AND CONSOLIDATION

Pursuant to Civil Local Rule 3-12(a), actions are related if they "concern substantially the same parties, property, transaction or event" and "[i]t appears likely that there will be an unduly burdensome duplication of labor and expense or conflicting results if the cases are conducted before different Judges." The actions involve the same parties and substantially similar events, and it would require a burdensome duplication of labor for them to be conducted separately before three different judges.

Under the Local Rules, parties are required to file a motion to relate in the earliest-filed action, so that the judge in that case can determine whether the cases should be related. See Civil Local Rule 3-12(b). Plaintiff made her request in this, the Santa Monica action, which was filed the same day as the North Hollywood Action but assigned a case number one digit higher. The Local Rules also require that the Court provide an opportunity for parties to file a response before relating cases. Civil Local Rules 3-11(e) & 7-11(b). However, since Defendant has not appeared in any of these actions, there is no one who could object to, or be prejudiced by, granting Plaintiff's request to relate these cases.

"[D]istrict courts [have] broad discretion in interpreting, applying, and determining the requirements of their own local rules and general orders." United States v. Gray , 876 F.2d 1411, 1414 (9th Cir. 1989); see also Alliance of Nonprofits for Ins., Risk Retention Grp. v. Kipper , 712 F.3d 1316 (9th Cir. 2013) (it is "sensible" to "overlook" departures from local rules which have only slight and unimportant effects on parties' rights). In this case, construing the rules to "promote the just, efficient, speedy and economical determination" of this proceeding, the Court finds that it is appropriate to relate the Sacramento and North Hollywood Actions to this, the Santa Monica Action. Civil Local Rule 1-2(b). The cases are hereby RELATED.

"When actions involving a common question of law or fact are pending before the court, it... may order all the actions consolidated." Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 42(a). The "district court has broad discretion under this rule to consolidate cases pending in the same district." Investors Research Co. v. U.S. Dist. Court for Cent. Dist. of California , 877 F.2d 777, 777 (9th Cir. 1989). "In determining whether or not to consolidate cases, the Court should weigh the interest of judicial convenience against the potential for delay, confusion and prejudice.'" Zhu v. UCBH Holdings, Inc. , 682 F.Supp.2d 1049, 1052 (N.D. Cal. 2010) (quoting Southwest Marine, Inc. v. Triple A Machine Shop, Inc. , 720 F.Supp. 805, 806-807 (N.D. Cal. 1989)).

At Plaintiff's request, the Court has reviewed the complaints and finds that the Santa Monica, North Hollywood, and Sacramento Actions should be consolidated because they involve common questions of law, and because there is no potential for delay, confusion or prejudice that could outweigh the considerable interest in judicial convenience. While Plaintiff did not request consolidating the Beeler Action, it is also appropriate to also consolidate that action because it is based on the exact same complaint as Plaintiff filed in the Santa Monica Action. Therefore, the Court hereby CONSOLIDATES the Santa Monica, Sacramento, North Hollywood and Beeler Actions. This case, No. 3:12-893, shall serve as the lead case and Plaintiff's amended complaint at ECF No. 11 now serves as the operative complaint. Any hearing dates, deadlines, and other case schedules in the other cases are hereby VACATED. The Clerk shall only file future submissions in this action.

This consolidation also TERMINATES AS MOOT the motion at ECF No. 3 in the Beeler Action, since Plaintiff's application to appear in forma pauperis has already been granted ...


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