United States District Court, C.D. California
TC Rich, LLC, et al.
Hussain M. Shaikh, et al.
Present: The Honorable DOLLY M. GEE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT
IN CHAMBERS - ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE WHY THE ACTION SHOULD NOT
BE DISMISSED FOR CLAIM-SPLITTING
4, 2019, Plaintiffs Richard Fleischer, Jacqueline Fleischer,
TC Rich, LLC, Rifle Freight, Inc., and Fleischer Customs
Brokers filed a First Amended Complaint (“FAC”)
against Defendants Haroon Khan, Hussain M. Shaikh, and Shah
Chemical Corporation (“Shah Chemical”). [Doc. #
22]. The FAC brings six claims relating to Defendants’
alleged contamination of Plaintiffs’ property at 132 W.
132nd Street, Los Angeles, California 90061
(“the Property”): (1) cost recovery under owner
liability under the Comprehensive Environmental Response,
Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980, 42 U.S.C.
§§ 9601 et seq. (“CERCLA”);
(2) cost recovery under CERCLA operator liability; (3)
declaratory relief; (4) continuing private nuisance; (5)
continuing trespass; and (6) injunctive relief and
attorneys’ fees under the Resource Conservation and
Recovery Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 6901 et seq.
related case is currently before the court: TC Rich, LLC,
et al. v. Pacifica Chemical Inc., et al., CV 15-4878-DMG
(AGRx) (the “Pacifica Action”). In that
case, the same plaintiffs- Richard and Jacqueline Fleischer,
TC Rich, Rifle Freight, and Fleischer Customs Brokers-filed a
complaint against Pacifica Chemical Inc.
(“Pacifica”), a corporation wholly owned by
Defendant in the current action, Hussain Shaikh, as well as
against two engineering and environmental consultants not
party to the instant action. The complaint in the
Pacifica Action involved allegations that
Pacifica’s business had contaminated the Property and
stated claims for: (1) cost recovery under CERCLA owner
liability; (2) cost recovery under CERCLA operator liability;
(3) declaratory relief; (4) continuing private nuisance; and
(5) continuing trespass, as well as negligence claims against
the environmental consultants. In contrast to the FAC in this
action, there is no claim for injunctive relief under the
RCRA in the Pacifica Action.
several years of litigation, the plaintiffs in the
Pacifica action sought leave to amend to add the
RCRA claim against Pacifica. See Pacifica Action,
Pls.’ Mot. for Leave to File a First Am. Compl. at
[Doc. # 105]. The plaintiffs claimed that Pacifica was no
longer cooperating with the plaintiffs and the Department of
Toxic Substances Control to perform voluntary cleanup of the
Property, thus a claim for injunctive relief was required.
Id. Citing the plaintiffs’ delay in seeking
leave to amend, the Court denied the plaintiffs’ motion
on April 15, 2019. See Pacifica Action, Order re
Pls.’ Mot. for Leave to File a First Am. Compl. at 2-3
[Doc. # 116].
weeks prior, on March 21, 2019, Plaintiffs filed this
action-including the RCRA claim-against Pacifica’s
owner, Shaikh, and its predecessor company, Shah Chemical, as
well as another related former owner of the Property, Khan.
Meanwhile, the Pacifica action is still active, with
a Seventh Joint Status Report submitted on August 14, 2019
indicating that the parties are now making progress in
remediating groundwater at the Property and that the parties
anticipate returning to mediation as soon as November 2019.
See Pacifica Action, Seventh Further Joint Quarterly
Status Report at 2 [Doc. # 118].
appears that Plaintiffs have brought, in a brand-new suit,
the very claims they were denied leave to amend in the
Pacifica Action. But under the doctrine of
claim-splitting, a party is “not at liberty to split up
his demand, and prosecute it by piecemeal, or present only a
portion of the grounds upon which special relief is sought,
and leave the rest to be presented in a second suit, if the
first fail.” Cook v. C.R. England, 2012 WL
2373258, at *3 (C.D. Cal. June 21, 2012) (quoting United
States v. Haytian Republic, 154 U.S. 118, 125 (1894).
The ultimate objective of the doctrine is to “protect
the Defendant from being harassed by repetitive actions based
on the same claim” and “to promote judicial
economy and convenience.” Id. (citing
Clements v. Airport Auth. of Washoe Cnty., 69 F.3d
321, 328 (9th Cir. 1995)).
Plaintiff is hereby ORDERED TO SHOW CAUSE in
writing, no later than October 10, 2019, why
this action should not be dismissed as claim-splitting and an
end run around this Court’s denial of leave to amend.
See Adams v. California Dep’t of Health
Servs., 487 F.3d 684, 688 (9th Cir. 2007), overruled
on other grounds by Taylor v. Sturgell, 553 U.S. 880,
904 (2008) (“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 [or those in privity with them].”
(citation and internal quotation marks omitted)).
Court will hold in abeyance its decision on Defendant
Shaikh’s Motion to Dismiss and Motion to Strike
Plaintiffs’ Sixth Cause of Action until Plaintiff has
responded to this Order to Show Cause (“OSC”).
Failure to respond to this OSC in a timely and
satisfactory manner will result in the dismissal of this
IS SO ORDERED.
 All page references herein are to page
numbers inserted in the header of the document by the CM/ECF