United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER IN RESPONSE TO DEFENDANTS' NOTICE OF RELATED CASES (Doc. 36.) ORDER CONSOLIDATING CASES ORDER FOR
CLERK TO CONSOLIDATE CASE NO. 1:15-cv-00467-DLB-PC WITH THIS CASE ORDER FOR
PLAINTIFF TO FILE AN AMENDED COMPLAINT IN THE CONSOLIDATED CASE NO.
1:11-cv-00099-LJO-GSA-PC, WITHIN THIRTY DAYS
GARY S. AUSTIN, Magistrate Judge.
Deshawn Mitchell ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding pro se with this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This case now proceeds on Plaintiff's original Complaint, filed on January 20, 2011, against defendant Sergeant M. Jones ("Defendant") for subjecting Plaintiff to adverse conditions of confinement in violation of the Eighth Amendment. (Doc. 1.) Defendant filed an Answer to the Complaint on August 7, 2014, and this case is presently in the discovery phase. (Docs. 32, 34.)
On March 25, 2015, Defendant filed a notice of related cases. (Doc. 36.)
II. DEFENDANT'S NOTICE
Defendant contends that this case is related to case 1:15-cv-00467-DLB-PC,  Deshawn Mitchell v. Sergeant Matt Jones, because the cases have the same or similar facts and claims. Defendant asserts that in both cases, Plaintiff Deshawn Mitchell (K-70241) asserted identical claims regarding an incident on June 5, 2010, wherein Defendant Jones allegedly violated Plaintiff's First Amendment rights. Defendant asserts that in the instant case, the court screened out Plaintiff's First Amendment claim, and Plaintiff agreed to proceed only on the cognizable Eighth Amendment claim against Defendant Jones. (Doc. 11 at 5:22-25, 6:19-27; Doc. 13.)
Defendant asserts that Plaintiff re-filed his First Amendment claim in the Kings County Superior Court on September 19, 2014, and on March 24, 2015, defendant Jones removed the case to this federal district court [where it was opened as case 15-cv-00467-DLB-PC]. Defendant asserts that Plaintiff's claim in the removed matter is identical to his dismissed claim in this action and thus, both cases require the determination of identical questions of law and fact. In addition, Sergeant Jones is the only remaining defendant in the instant matter and the only defendant in the case removed from the Kings County Superior Court. Defendant argues that these cases should be assigned to a single judge to avoid inconsistent rulings and duplication of judicial resources.
The court has reviewed the Complaints in both actions and finds that the two cases are related and should be consolidated.
Consolidation - Legal Standard
"If actions before the court involve a common question of law or fact, the court may consolidate the actions." Fed.R.Civ.P. 42(a)(2). Consolidation may be ordered on the motion of any party or on the court's own motion whenever it reasonably appears that consolidation would aid in the efficient and economic disposition of a case. See In re Air Crash Disaster at Florida Everglades on December 29, 1972, 549 F.2d 1006 (5th Cir. 1977). The grant or denial of a motion to consolidate rests in the trial court's sound discretion, and is not dependent on party approval. Investors Research Co. v. United States Dist. Ct., 877 F.2d 777 (9th Cir. 1989); Cantrell v. GAF Corp., 999 F.2d 1007, 1011 (6th Cir. 1993). In determining whether to consolidate actions, the court weighs the interest of judicial convenience against the potential for delay, confusion, and prejudice caused by consolidation. Southwest Marine, Inc., v. Triple A. Mach. Shop, Inc., 720 F.Supp. 805, 807 (N.D. Cal. 1989).
(This Case) 1:11-cv-00099-LJO-GSA-PC
Plaintiff filed this case on January 4, 2011 at this court. The case now proceeds with the original Complaint against sole defendant Sergeant M. Jones, based on events occurring at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison (SATF) in Corcoran, California, when Plaintiff was incarcerated there. Included in the Complaint is an incident occurring on June 5, 2010, in which Plaintiff alleges:
"On June 5th of 2010 Defendant M. Jones appeared at Plaintiff's cell and addressed Plaintiff in a very loud tone so other prisoners would hear Defendant M. Jones speaking to Plaintiff. Defendant M. Jones stated Since you want to continue to write grievances against me and my staff I'm going to make sure that all of the active Crips in Ad-Seg housing know you are nothing but a snitch and a Sensitive Needs Yard bitch to make sure you will never be able ...