United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER DIRECTING CLERK OF COURT TO RANDOMLY ASSIGN
DISTRICT JUDGE FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS RECOMMENDING
DISMISSAL OF CERTAIN CLAIMS, WITHOUT PREJUDICE (ECF NO.
BARBARA A. MCAULIFFE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Christopher Lipsey (“Plaintiff) is a state prisoner
proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights
action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This matter was
referred to a United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 636(1)(B) and Local Rule 302.
complaint, filed on April 24, 2017, is currently before the
court for screening.
Screening Requirement and Standard
Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners
seeking relief against a governmental entity and/or against
an officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A(a). Plaintiffs complaint, or any portion
thereof, is subject to dismissal if it is frivolous or
malicious, if it fails to state a claim upon which relief may
be granted, or if it seeks monetary relief from a defendant
who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1),
(2); 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).
Dismissal of Claims I-V and IX, Without Prejudice, for
complaint sets forth nine numbered claims alleged against
various defendants employed at various correctional
facilities in California, concerning events at several
different facilities. Thus, the threshold inquiry here is
whether venue is proper in this division and district of the
Eastern District of California for each of Plaintiff's
potential causes of action.
Court may raise an issue of defective venue sua sponte.
See Costlow v. Weeks, 790 F.2d 1486, 1488 (9th Cir.
1986). The federal venue statute provides that a civil action
“may be brought in (1) a judicial district in which any
defendant resides, if all defendants are residents of the
State in which the district is located, (2) a judicial
district in which a substantial part of the events or
omissions giving rise to the claim occurred, or a substantial
part of property that is the subject of the action is
situated, or (3) if there is no district in which an action
may otherwise be brought as provided in this action, any
judicial district in which any defendant is subject to the
court's personal jurisdiction with respect to such
action.” 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b). The Local Rules for
the Eastern District of California further provide, in
pertinent part, that actions cognizable in this district and
arising in Kings county shall be commenced in the Fresno
division of this district, and those actions arising in
Sacramento, San Joaquin, and Solano counties shall be
commenced in the Sacramento division of this district. Local
claims VI, VII and VIII involve allegations that officials
employed at Corcoran State Prison used excessive force on
Plaintiff while he was housed there. Thus, those claims arise
in Kings county, and pursuant to the rules explained above,
venue is proper in this division of the United States
District Court of the Eastern District of California.
claims I, II, and III involve allegations that officials
employed at the California Medical Facility medicated
Plaintiff without his permission. That facility is located
within Solano county. Plaintiff's claims IV and V involve
allegations that officials employed at Folsom State Prison
violated Plaintiff's rights to access the courts. That
facility is located within Sacramento county. Plaintiff's
claim IX involves allegations that officials employed at
California Health Care Facility used excessive force on
Plaintiff. That facility is located within San Joaquin
county. All of these claims arise in counties which the Local
Rules require to be brought in the Sacramento Division. None
of these claims are related to each other, nor are these
claims related to Plaintiff's claims arising in Kings
on the foregoing, any complaints concerning Plaintiff's
claims I-V and IX should have each been filed in the
Sacramento Division of the United States District Court for
the Eastern District of California. Thus, the Court turns to
whether those claims should be severed or dismissed from this
district court has “broad discretion ... to make a
decision granting severance.” Coleman v. Quaker
Oats Co., 232 F.3d 1271, 1297 (9th Cir. 2000). However,
it is an abuse of discretion for a district court to dismiss,
rather than to sever, claims “without evaluating the
prejudice to” the plaintiff, which includes any effects
of statute of limitations. Rush v. Sport Chalet,
Inc., 779 F.3d 973, 975 (9th Cir. 2015).
case, the Court does not find it proper to sever and transfer
these claims to the Sacramento Division of the United States
District Court for the Eastern District of California,
because the claims are not related to each other, as they do
not arise out of the same transaction or occurrence. Nor do
they proceed against the same defendants. Since these claims
all involve incidents that allegedly occurred sometime
between April 2016 and December 2016, Plaintiff will not be
prejudiced by a dismissal without prejudice, as none of his
claims will be barred by the two-year statute of limitations
if he chooses to refile them. The limitations period has not
passed for the claims alleged here.
the Court recommends that Plaintiff's claims I-V and IX
be dismissed from this action, without prejudice, due to
improper venue and for being improperly joined. A separate
order will issue regarding the additional screening ...