Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Lamon v. Amrheign

United States District Court, E.D. California

July 24, 2017

BARRY LOUIS LAMON, Plaintiff,
v.
B. AMRHEIGN, et al., Defendants.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS, (ECF No. 71), AND REQUEST FOR JUDICIAL NOTICE, (ECF No. 72) FOURTEEN (14) DAY DEADLINE

          BARBARA A. MCAULIFFE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff Barry Louis Lamon is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

         This case proceeds on Plaintiff's First Amendment retaliation claims, state-law negligence claims based on the same factual allegations, and California Civil Code § 52.1 claims, against Defendants Amrhein, Bondoc, Schultz, Austin, Wilson, and Yzguerra. This matter was referred to a United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Rule 302.

         Currently before the Court is Defendants' Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, filed on January 9, 2017. (ECF No. 71.) On January 23, 2017, Plaintiff filed an opposition to Defendants' motion, (ECF No. 73), and on January 30, 2017, Defendants filed a reply to Plaintiff's opposition, (ECF No. 75.) Defendants' motion is deemed submitted without oral argument. Local Rule 230(1).

         I. Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings

         Defendants bring their motion under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c). They argue that because Plaintiff has previously litigated these claims in 2009, when the parties stipulated to a dismissal with prejudice, and in 2011, when the Court dismissed the claims, Plaintiff is now barred from raising them this action under the doctrine of claims preclusion.

         Plaintiff opposes the motion on several grounds. First, he argues that Defendants' motion is procedurally incorrect, as a motion for the judgment on the pleadings shall only be filed after Defendants have filed an answer, which they have not done here. Plaintiff further argues that the motion should be converted to a motion for summary judgment, and denied for lack of merit. Plaintiff also does not deny bringing actions in 2009 and 2011, but argues that there is no privity of the parties or identity of claims between this action and the 2009 action. Plaintiff further argues that the 2011 action did not proceed to a judgment on the merits. Thus, Plaintiff argues that Defendants' motion must be denied.

         In reply, Defendants concede that their motion should not have been brought under Rule 12(c) as the pleadings have not closed, but they assert that their motion may be converted to a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). Defendants further argue that their motion should not be converted to a motion for summary judgment because the matters they rely upon may be considered on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion. To Plaintiff's preclusion arguments, Defendants argue that Plaintiff's 2011 action ended in a judgment on the merits, as it was involuntarily dismissed for the failure to comply with a court order, and that his 2009 action arise out of the same legal theories, same facts, and involved the same parties. Therefore, they assert that their motion should be granted.

         A. Converting Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings to a Motion to Dismiss

         Defendants have admitted a procedural error in bringing a Rule 12(c) motion at this juncture. Therefore, as a threshold issue, the Court must determine whether Defendants' motion must be denied on those grounds, or whether it may be converted to a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), as they request.

         Rule 12(c) provides that “[a]fter the pleadings are closed-but early enough not to delay trial-a party may move for judgment on the pleadings.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c). A Rule 12(c) motion for judgment on the pleadings is substantially identical to a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6), because both permit challenges to the legal sufficiency of the opposing party's pleadings. Cafasso, U.S. ex rel. v. Gen. Dynamics C4 Sys., Inc., 637 F.3d 1047, 1055 n.4 (9th Cir. 2011) (“Rule 12(c) is ‘functionally identical' to Rule 12(b) (6) and . . . ‘the same standard of review' applies to motions brought under either rule.”). “The main difference between the two motions is timing: a 12(b)(6) motion is brought before the filing of an answer, whereas a motion for judgment on the pleadings is brought after the pleadings are closed.” Clerk v. Telesis Cmty. Credit Union, No. EDCV 12-01152-CJC, 2013 WL 3071250, at *1 (C.D. Cal. June 18, 2013) (citations omitted).

         In this case, Defendants filed their motion for judgment on the pleadings before any answer was filed, and it is therefore premature. However, the Court finds it appropriate to convert the motion to a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). As the same legal standards apply, there is no risk to either party. See Cafasso, United States ex rel., 637 F.3d at 1053. See also Clerk, 2013 WL 3071250, at *2 (converting a premature Rule 12(c) motion for judgment on the pleadings to a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, after finding no prejudice due to the same legal standards applying). Further, dismissing Defendants' motion on procedural grounds and then requiring Defendants to file a substantively identical motion to be re-briefed would be a waste of resources and cause delay. See Jaeger v. Howmedica Osteonics Corp., No. 15-CV-00164-HSG, 2016 WL 520985, at *6 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 10, 2016). Thus, the Court recommends that Defendants' motion be converted to a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), and proceeds to evaluate the grounds for the motion accordingly.

         B. Legal Standards

         A motion to dismiss brought pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) tests the legal sufficiency of a claim, and dismissal is proper if there is a lack of a cognizable legal theory or the absence of sufficient facts alleged under a cognizable legal theory. Conservation Force v. Salazar, 646 F.3d 1240, 1241-42 (9th Cir. 2011). In resolving a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a court's review is generally limited to the operative pleading. Daniels-Hall v. Nat'l Educ. Ass'n, 629 F.3d 992, 998 (9th Cir. 2010). However, courts may properly consider matters subject to judicial notice and documents incorporated by reference in the pleading without converting the motion to ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.