United States District Court, C.D. California
Aaron Raiser, Plaintiff, Pro se, Woodland Hills, CA.
For Los Angeles County Sheriff, Defendant: Rina Michelle Mathevosian, Nelson and Fulton, Los Angeles, CA.
THIRD REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
RALPH ZAREFSKY, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636 and General Order 05-07 of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, the undersigned submits this Third Report and Recommendation to the Honorable R. Gary Klausner, United States District Judge. On November 10, 2014, this matter came on for hearing on the motion by the pro se plaintiff, Aaron Raiser, " to Declare the Local Rules and General Orders Denying Pro Se Litigants ECF Access Unconstitutional" (ECF 41). No appearances were made. For the following reasons, the Court should deny Plaintiff's motion.
Plaintiff lives nomadically in his car. His lawsuit challenges an alleged policy of the sole remaining defendant, the Los Angeles County Sheriff (the County). During the now-closed discovery phase, Plaintiff states, he missed his deadline for filing a Joint Stipulation encompassing a discovery dispute because he is pro se and, as such under Civil Local Rule 5-4.2(a), he could not file it electronically, as could (and usually must) a litigant represented by counsel. He says the Rule is unconstitutional. For three reasons, the Court should reject this argument and deny the motion.
NO REAL PARTY IN INTEREST TO DEFEND THE RULE
First, there is no pleading challenging the Local Rule, and no real party in interest before the Court to oppose Plaintiff's motion. A party may not simply bring a motion seeking to declare a rule unconstitutional, when the issue has not been joined in the pleadings. And the only remaining defendant, the County, is clearly not a proper party to such a motion, as it has no control over the Court's rules. Cf. Mothershed v. Justices of the Arizona Supreme Court, 410 F.3d 602 (9th Cir. 2005) (noting that Arizona Supreme Court is the real party in interest to a challenge to the rules promulgated by that court).
NO CLAIM STATED, UNDER EQUAL PROTECTION CLAUSE OR OTHERWISE
Second, Plaintiff cites no authority whatsoever and states no cognizable claim. His factual narrative in support of his challenge, quoted below, suggests that the rule may have negative consequences for pro se litigants. But not every imperfection in a rule renders that rule unconstitutional. Presumably Plaintiff means to argue that the Rule violates the Fifth Amendment's implied equal-protection requirement for federal government actors, akin to the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause. See Bolling v. Sharpe, 347 U.S. 497, 74 S.Ct. 693, 98 L.Ed. 884 (1954) (Fifth Amendment's Due Process Clause implicitly includes Equal Protection guarantee as in Fourteenth Amendment). Such a claim requires the plaintiff to allege and prove an unlawful intent to discriminate against him for an invalid reason. Snowden v. Hughes, 321 U.S. 1, 8, 64 S.Ct. 397, 88 L.Ed. 497 (1944). Heightened court scrutiny may apply where the government's acts discriminate against a " suspect class" of persons or infringe upon a fundamental right. See Nordlinger v. Hahn, 505 U.S. 1, 10, 112 S.Ct. 2326, ...