United States District Court, E.D. California
AMENDED ORDER DISMISSING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AS DUPLICATIVE, DIRECTING CLERK OF COURT TO CLOSE THE ACTION, AND DECLINING TO ISSUE A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY
GARY S. AUSTIN, Magistrate Judge.
Petitioner is a state prisoner confined in California State Prison, Corcoran, and proceeding pro se with a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to the authority of 28 U.S.C. § 2254.
On January 22, 2015, this Court issued an order dismissing the petition as duplicative and closing the action. (ECF No. 7). Prior to the order being docketed, Petitioner's first amended petition for writ of habeas corpus was docketed. (ECF No. 6). As these documents crossed one another for docketing, the Court now issues an amended order, which reflects the Court's consideration of Petitioner's first amended petition filed on January 22, 2015.
This Court takes judicial notice of a document which was filed by Petitioner and treated as a prisoner civil rights complaint in the Sacramento Division of the Eastern District of California on November 12, 2014. That complaint has been assigned case number 2:14-CV-02644-AC. On December 15, 2014, Petitioner filed his second amended petition for writ of habeas corpus in the Sacramento Division of the Eastern District of California in case number 2:14-CV-02644-AC, and is presently awaiting screening.
On December 15, 2014, Petitioner filed in this Court a duplicate of his second amended petition for writ of habeas corpus, which he titled, "HABEAS Petition 1st AMEND RIGHT TO PETITION THE GOVERNMETN FOR REDRESS OF GRIEVANCES". This petition has been assigned case number 1:14-CV-01992-GSA HC. On January 20, 2015, Petitioner filed a document stating that 28 U.S.C. 2254 does not apply to his petition, and that he has filed a class action petition under the 1st Amendment in case number 1:14-CV-01992-GSA HC. (ECF No. 5).
A. Procedural Grounds for Summary Dismissal
Rule 4 of the Rules Governing § 2254 Cases requires the Court to make a preliminary review of each petition for writ of habeas corpus. The Court must dismiss a petition "[i]f it plainly appears from the petition... that the petitioner is not entitled to relief." Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases; see also Hendricks v. Vasquez, 908 F.2d 490 (9th Cir.1990). The Advisory Committee Notes to Rule 8 indicate that the court may dismiss a petition for writ of habeas corpus, either on its own motion under Rule 4, pursuant to the respondent's motion to dismiss, or after an answer to the petition has been filed. A petition for habeas corpus should not be dismissed without leave to amend unless it appears that no tenable claim for relief can be pleaded were such leave granted. Jarvis v. Nelson, 440 F.2d 13, 14 (9th Cir. 1971).
B. Duplicative Petition
Federal courts retain broad powers to control their dockets and "prevent duplicative or unnecessary litigation." Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 478, 120 S.Ct. 1595, 146 L.Ed.2d 542 (2000); Link v. Wabash R. Co., 370 U.S. 626, 630-631, 82 S.Ct. 1386, 8 L.Ed.2d 734. "After weighing the equities of the case, the district court may exercise its discretion to dismiss a duplicative later-filed action, to stay that action pending resolution of the previously filed action, to enjoin the parties from proceeding with it, or to consolidate both actions." Adams v. California Dept. of Health Services, 487 F.3d 684, 688 (9th Cir. 2007). "Plaintiffs generally have no right to maintain two separate actions involving the same subject matter at the same time in the same court and against the same defendant.'" Adams, 487 F.3d at 688 (quoting Walton v. Eaton Corp., 563 F.2d 66, 70 (3d Cir. 1977) (en banc)).
In assessing whether a second action is duplicative of the first, the court examines whether the causes of action and relief sought, as well as the parties or privies to the action, are the same. Adams, 487 F.3d at 689. First, the court must examine whether the causes of action in the two suits are identical pursuant to the transaction test, developed in the context of claim preclusion. Id. Second, the court determines whether the defendants are the same or in privity. Privity includes an array of relationships which fit under the title of "virtual representation." Kourtis v. Cameron, 419 F.3d 989, 996 (9th Cir. 2005). "The necessary elements of virtual representation are an identity of interests and adequate representation." Adams, 487 F.3d at 691 (citing Kourtis, 419 F.3d at 996). "Additional features of a virtual representation relationship include a close relationship, substantial participation, and tactical maneuvering." Adams, 487 F.3d at 691 (quoting Kourtis, 419 F.3d at 996).
A plaintiff is required to bring at one time all of the claims against a party or privies relating to the same transaction or event. Adams, 487 F.3d at 693. The court has discretion to dismiss a duplicative complaint with prejudice to prevent a plaintiff from "fragmenting a single cause of action and litigating piecemeal the issues which could have been resolved in one action." Adams, 487 F.3d at 694 (quoting Flynn v. State Bd. of Chiropractic Exam'rs, 418 F.2d 668, 668 (9th Cir.1969) (per curiam)).
Normally, "where a new pro se petition is filed before the adjudication of a prior petition is complete, the new petition should be construed as a motion to amend the pending petition rather than as a successive application." Woods v. Carey, 525 F.3d 886, 888-890 (9th Cir. 2008). However in this case, the original petition filed on December 15, 2014, in case number 1:14-CV-01992-GSA HC is an exact duplicate of the second amended petition currently pending in the previously-filed action, 2:14-CV-02644-AC. Petitioner's first amended petition filed on January 22, 2015, in case number 1:14-CV-01992-GSA HC raises the same claims as his original petition in this case, which was filed on December 15, 2014. Therefore, there is no need for this Court to vacate its order dismissing the petition in 1:14-CV-01992-GSA HC and consider the first amended petition field on January 22, 2015. In addition, construing the petition in 1:14-CV-01992-GSA HC as a motion to amend in case 2:14-CV-02644-AC would ...