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King v. Villegas

United States District Court, E.D. California

October 24, 2019

JERRY LEE KING, Plaintiff,
v.
R. VILLEGAS and P. CRUZ, Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO STAY ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR AN ORDER TO PRODUCE DOCUMENTS FOR INSPECTION/MOTION TO COMPEL AND MOTION TO AMEND WITHOUT PREJUDICE (ECF NOS. 59, 82, & 86)

         Jerry King (“Plaintiff”) is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis with this civil rights action filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

         On July 12, 2019, Defendants filed a motion to stay this case “until Plaintiff's criminal charges in Kern County Superior Court case number DF012989A, arising from the August 17, 2016 incident, are resolved.” (ECF No. 82, p. 1). For the reasons that follow, the Court will grant the motion.

         As the Court is staying the case, the Court will deny Plaintiff's motion for an order to produce documents for inspection/motion to compel (ECF No. 59), without prejudice to Plaintiff refiling the motion once the stay is lifted.

         As to Plaintiff's pending motion to amend (ECF No. 86), [1] it will be denied, without prejudice to Plaintiff refiling the motion.

         I. MOTION TO STAY

         A. Defendants' Position

         Defendants “move for an order staying this action until Plaintiff's criminal charges in Kern County Superior Court case number DF012989A, arising from the August 17, 2016 incident, are resolved.” (ECF No. 82, p. 1).

         “[] Plaintiff alleges that Defendants Villegas and Cruz attacked him during the August 17, 2016 incident without any provocation, struggle, or resistance on his part (ECF No. 1), but Plaintiff is currently facing criminal charges for battering Defendant Villegas during the incident in Kern County Superior Court case number DF012989A.” (ECF No. 82-1, p. 2). As this case may end up being barred by Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 487 (1994), and as a determination in this proceeding could invalidate the ongoing criminal proceedings, Defendants ask that this case be stayed until the criminal case is resolved.

         B. Plaintiff's Position

         Plaintiff opposes the motion. Plaintiff argues that “[t]his motion is a clear effort at delatory [sic] litigation tactics.” (ECF No. 83, p. 1). Plaintiff alleges that this action was filed before the criminal charges, and that the criminal charges were not filed until the Attorney General's Office contacted the Kern County District Attorney. Plaintiff further alleges that “[t]his stay motion and Heck Bar mention is a malicious vindictive retaliation for this Civil Rights Action and for not taking the $1500 [] offered at settlement.” (Id. at 2).

         C. Legal Standards

         “The Constitution does not ordinarily require a stay of civil proceedings pending the outcome of criminal proceedings.” Keating v. Office of Thrift Supervision, 45 F.3d 322, 324 (9th Cir. 1995). “In the absence of substantial prejudice to the rights of the parties involved, [simultaneous] parallel [civil and criminal] proceedings are unobjectionable under our jurisprudence.” Id. “Nevertheless, a court may decide in its discretion to stay civil proceedings . . . ‘when the interests of justice seem[] to require such action.'” Id. (citations omitted).

         D. Analysis

         Plaintiff submitted no evidence supporting his assertion that the criminal charges against him were brought at the request of the Office of the Attorney General, or his assertion that this motion “is a malicious vindictive ...


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