United States District Court, E.D. California
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION TO DENY DEFENDANTS'
MOTION FOR CONSOLIDATION (Doc. 35) TWENTY-ONE (21) DAY
K. OBERTO UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Michael Gonzales, a state prisoner proceeding pro se
and in forma pauperis, filed this civil rights
action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On May 17, 2017,
Defendants filed a notice of related case and request for
consolidation of this action with Gonzales v.
Ferrso, , 1:16-cv-01813-EPG (PC) (“the
Ferrso case”). (Doc. 35.)
motion should be DENIED since neither consolidating nor
relating this case with the Ferrso case will serve
judicial economy and convenience.
action is proceeding on Plaintiff's claims under the
Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments against seven correctional
staff members at California State Prison in Corcoran,
California (“CSP-Cor”) for allegedly placing
anti-psychotic medication in Plaintiff's food without his
permission. In the Ferrso case, Plaintiff proceeds
on a Fourteenth Amendment due-process claim against nine
correctional staff members at California Correctional
Institution (“CCI”) in Tehachapi, California,
also for allegedly placing anti-psychotic medication in his
food without his permission. Defendants contend that
Plaintiff's links his allegations in the Ferrso
case to this action by mentioning it in the complaint.
However, mere mention of one case in the pleadings of another
case is insufficient to link allegations for consolidation
Rule of Civil Procedure 42(a) permits the Court to
consolidate actions involving a common question of law or
fact, and consolidation is proper when it serves the purposes
of judicial economy and convenience. See Devlin v.
Transportation Communications Intern. Union, 175 F.3d
121, 130 (2d. Cir. 1999); Young v. City of Augusta,
59 F.3d 1160, 1169 (11th Cir. 1995). The purpose of
consolidation is to avoid unnecessary cost or delay where the
claims and issues contain common aspects of law or fact.
E.E.O.C. v. HBE Corp., 135 F.3d 543, 551 (8th Cir.
1998); see also Malone v. Strong, 2016 WL 3546037,
n. 2 (W.D. Wash. 2016) (citing E.E.O.C., at 551)
(primary purpose of consolidation is to promote trial court
efficiency and avoid the danger of inconsistent
courts have broad discretion to grant or deny consolidation.
Pierce v. Cnty. of Orange, 526 F.3d 1190, 1203 (9th
Cir. 2008); see also In re Adams Apples, Inc., 829
F.2d 1484, 1487 (9th Cir. 1987). In deciding whether to
consolidate, a court should “weigh the interest of
judicial convenience against any inconvenience, delay, or
expense that it would cause, ” Huene v. United
States, 743 F.2d 703, 704 (9th Cir. 1984); see also
Zhu v. UCBH Holdings, Inc., 682 F.Supp.2d 1049, 1052
(N.D. Cal. 2010), as well as balancing “the interest of
judicial convenience against the potential for delay,
confusion and prejudice caused by consolidation.”
S.W. Marine Inc. v. Triple A Mach. Shop, 720 F.Supp.
805, 807 (N.D. Cal. 1989).
contend that both cases involve similar questions of fact and
the same question of law such that consolidation and
assignment to one judge would substantially save judicial
effort and resources. However, the only similarity between
these actions is Plaintiff's allegations that his food
was involuntarily tainted with anti-psychotic medications.
With that exception, each case involves different sets of
defendants and is based on events which occurred at two
separate facilities: CSP-Cor and CCI. Motions on exhaustion
of administrative remedies and dispositive issues would
involve separate and distinct evidence, witnesses, and
factual determinations. If consolidated, any motions that
entail Plaintiff's allegations from both cases would
require entirely separate evaluation and analysis, which will
not conserve any judicial effort or resources.
of Plaintiff's actions will not “avoid the
inefficiency of separate trials involving related parties,
witnesses, and evidence.” E.E.O.C., 135 F.3d
at 551. Consolidation would instead unnecessarily protract
motions and trial by necessitating separate presentation of
evidence and resolution of issues from both cases within a
single, likely unwieldy, order or verdict. Furthermore, if
the claims currently set forth in both cases proceed to
trial, there would be a strong likelihood of juror confusion
since both cases involve similar allegations against separate
sets of correctional staff for events that occurred at
separate penal facilities. As such, consolidation would only
serve to complicate what may otherwise be two relatively
straightforward cases. Based on the foregoing, the Court
cannot conclude that consolidation, or even relation under
Local Rule 123, and assignment of Plaintiff's cases to
the same judge would result in any saving of judicial effort.
it is HEREBY RECOMMENDED that Defendants' notice of
related case and motion to consolidate this case with
Gonzales v. Ferrso, , 1:16-cv-1813-EPG (PC), filed
on May 17, 2017, (Doc. 35) be DENIED.
Findings and Recommendations will be submitted to the United
States District Judge assigned to the case, pursuant to the
provisions of Title 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). Within
twenty-one (21) days after being served with these Findings
and Recommendations, the parties may file written objections
with the Court. Local Rule 304(b). The document should be
captioned “Objections to Magistrate Judge's
Findings and Recommendations.” Failure to file
objections within the specified time may result in the waiver