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Vasquez v. King

United States District Court, E.D. California, Fresno Division

March 27, 2014

GEORGE VASQUEZ, Plaintiff,
v.
AUDREY KING, et al., Defendants.

ORDER

B. LYNN WINMILL, Chief District Judge.

Plaintiff George Vasquez is a civil detainee held at California's Coalinga State Hospital (CSH) awaiting trial as an accused sexually violent predator under California's Sexually Violent Predator Act (SVPA). This case was case was severed from the consolidated case of Allen v. King, 1:06-cv-01801-BLW-LMB, and reopened (as were the individual cases of all remaining plaintiffs in the consolidated cases). Pursuant to the Court's August 1, 2013 Memorandum Decision and Order, Plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint on September 23, 2013. (Dkt. 11).

On February 7, 2014, the Court dismissed the First Amended Complaint with prejudice. The Court determined that Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. (Dkt. 16.) This case is currently on appeal.

Now pending before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Relief from Judgment under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 60(a) and 60(b)(6). (Dkt. 19). The parties are familiar with the facts of this case, and those facts will not be repeated here except as necessary to explain the Court's decision. The Court has concluded that oral argument is unnecessary. Accordingly, for the following reasons, the Court will deny Plaintiff's Motion.

1. Standards of Law

Under Rule 60(a), a district court "may correct a clerical mistake or a mistake arising from oversight or omission whenever one is found in a judgment, order, or other part of the record." However, once an appeal has been docketed and while that appeal is pending, "such a mistake may be corrected only with the appellate court's leave." Id.

Under Rule 60(b), a court may grant a party relief from a final judgment for the following reasons: (1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect; (2) newly discovered evidence; (3) fraud, misrepresentation, or misconduct by an opposing party; (4) the judgment is void; (5) the judgment has been satisfied, released or discharged; or (6) any other reason that justifies relief. Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b). The last catch-all provision in Rule 60(b)(6) should only be granted "sparingly as an equitable remedy to prevent manifest injustice." United States v. Washington, 98 F.3d 1159, 1163 (9th Cir. 1996) (internal quotation marks omitted).

2. Analysis

A. Rule 60(a)

With respect to Plaintiff's 60(a) request for correction of clerical mistakes, Plaintiff takes issue with the caption of the case as set forth in the Court's February 7, 2014 Order, which listed Audrey King and Jack Carter as Defendants. When this case was still consolidated with the cases of other individuals residing at CSH, the Court substituted as Defendants Audrey King, the Acting Executive Director for CSH, and Andrew Berard, the Acting Chief of Protective Services for CSH. (Dkt. 8.) The Court dismissed all other Defendants from the consolidated actions. Because this Order applied to all of the consolidated cases, the caption of Plaintiff's case was, when it was reopened, changed to reflect that Defendants King and Berard were the Defendants in the case. ( See id. )

In the consolidated case, the Court was later informed by Defendants' counsel that Andrew Berard was no longer the Acting Chief of Protective Services; rather, the individual holding that position was now Jack Carter. ( See Allen v. King, 1:06-cv-01801-BLW-LMB, Dkt. 171.) Therefore, the Court substituted Jack Carter as a Defendant in place of Andrew Berard in that separate case.

Plaintiff is correct that Mr. Carter was not substituted as a Defendant in Plaintiff's individual case. The Court's use of Mr. Carter's name in the caption of its February 7, 2014 Order was a clerical mistake. Therefore, the Court would grant this portion of Plaintiff's Motion if given leave to do so by the Ninth Circuit. Unless such leave is granted, however, this Court does not have the authority correct the mistake. Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(a). This clerical mistake does not alter the Court's substantive analysis of Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint.

Plaintiff's remaining claims regarding the caption of the February 7 Order are without merit. As the Court explained in its February 7 Order, Plaintiff's allegations failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted, and Plaintiff was not allowed to proceed against any Defendant, including Pam Ahlin, Coalinga State Hospital, Cliff Allenby, or Edmund G. Brown-the defendants listed in Plaintiff's proposed First Amended Complaint. Thus, these individuals properly were not included in the caption of the February 7 Order.

Finally, Plaintiff takes issue with the Court's use of the word "committed" when it described Plaintiff as "a civil detainee committed to Coalinga State Hospital..., where he is awaiting trial as an accused sexually violent predator." (Dkt. 16 at 2.) Plaintiff states that he has never been ...


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