USA v. Arango

Filing 102

ORDER granting 74 Motion to Strike ; Denying 78 Motion for Relief under Fed. R. Civ. P. 39(b) ; Striking 71 Demand for Jury Trial by Defendant. Signed by Senior Judge David C Bury on 8/6/2013.(JKM)

Download PDF
1 WO 2 3 4 5 6 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 FOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONA 8 9 United States of America, Plaintiff, 10 11 ORDER v. 12 No. CV-09-00178-TUC-DCB Fernando Arango, Defendant. 13 14 15 For the reasons explained below, the Government’s Motion to Strike Defendant’s 16 Demand for a Jury Trial is granted and the Defendant’s Motion for Rule 39 Relief is 17 18 denied. 19 On October 9, 2012, Defendant Fernando Arango filed a demand for jury trial 20 pursuant to Rule 38 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Defendant Arango excuses 21 his untimely demand for a jury trial because he was previously a pro se litigant, and he 22 23 was incarcerated in a federal penitentiary. Defendant moves for relief under Rule 39(b) of 24 the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. 25 Defendant does not dispute that he did not demand a jury trial when he filed his 26 27 28 original answer on June 26, 2009, or within the 14-day time period after his original answer was filed. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 38(b). Defendant does not argue that his Amended 1 2 Answer, which he filed with leave of the Court and without objection on October 22, 2012, did not restart his 14-day deadline according to Rule 38. 3 4 As the Ninth Circuit explained, Rule 38 cuts off a party’s right to demand a jury 5 trial 14 days after he or she files a pleading, and an amended pleading does not revive 6 that right to the issues raised in the original pleading. Lutz v. Glendale Union High Sch., 7 8 403 F.3d 1061 (9th Cir. 2005). Thus, if the issues in the original pleading and the 9 amended pleading turn on the same “matrix of facts,” then a party is not entitled to a trial 10 by jury. Las Vegas Sun, Inc. v. Summa Corp., 610 F.2d 614, 620 (9th Cir. 1979). Here, 11 Defendant’s Amended Answer clarified certain answers filed by the Defendant pro se 12 13 and included additional affirmative defenses. The issues in the Amended Answer turn on 14 the same “matrix of facts” as those in his original Answer. 15 Admitting his demand for a jury trial is untimely, the Defendant asks the Court to 16 17 overlook the technical requirement of Rule 38(b) and requests Rule 39(b) relief. Rule 18 39(b) allows the Court discretion to order a jury trial on any issue for which a jury trial 19 might have been demanded when no demand was made, Fed. R. Civ. P. 39(b), unless 20 21 there is no federal right to a jury trial, Fed. R. Civ P. 39(a)(2). The Ninth Circuit takes an 22 extremely narrow and conservative approach in granting Rule 39(b) relief. Pac. Fisheries 23 Corp. v. HIH Cas. & Den. Ins. Ltd., 239 F.3d 1000, 1002 (9th Cir. 2001). The Court is 24 not permitted to grant relief when the failure to make a timely demand results from an 25 26 oversight or inadvertence. Id. Defendant argues that his circumstances are different from 27 a typical pro se litigant because he was incarcerated during the first years of this 28 litigation. Pro se prisoners, like other civil litigants, are required to comply with both the -2- 1 federal and local court rules of civil procedure, notwithstanding the Court’s obligation to 2 make reasonable allowances for pro se litigants. King v. Atiyeh, 814 F.2d 565, 567 (9th 3 4 5 6 Cir. 1987), overruled on other grounds, Lacey v. Maricopa County, 693 F.3d 896 (9th Cir. 2012). The Court does not find good cause to grant Defendant’s jury demand. Even if the Court accepted the Defendant’s excuse as more than an oversight or 7 8 inadvertence, relief does not exist for Defendant under Rule 39(b) because there is no 9 federal right to a jury trial in a denaturalization proceeding. Fed. R. Civ. P. 39(a)(2). The 10 government is correct when it states the Defendant is not entitled to a jury trial. The right 11 of a trial by jury is provided by the Seventh Amendment or by a federal statute. Fed. R. 12 13 Civ. P. 38(a). The Defendant is not entitled to a jury trial under the Seventh Amendment 14 because it does not apply to actions against the federal government. Lehman v. Nakshian, 15 453 U.S. 156 (1981). 16 17 The Seventh Amendment provides that suits at common law, with a value in 18 controversy exceeding twenty dollars, have the right to a jury trial. Tull v. United States, 19 481 U.S. 412, 417 (1987). Actions that are analogous to suits at common law are 20 21 provided the right to a jury trial, while equity suits are not. Id. Denaturalization actions 22 are suits in equity to which the Seventh Amendment does not apply, and the 23 denaturalization statute, 8 U.S.C. § 1451(a), does not provide a jury trial. Luria v. United 24 States, 231 U.S. 9, 27-28 (1913). Id. This Court is bound by the Supreme Court’s 25 26 27 28 holding in Luria, there is no right to a jury trial in denaturalization proceedings. Id. Conclusion The Court strikes the Defendant’s demand for a jury trial and denies him relief, -3- 1 2 pursuant to Rule 39(a)(2). There is no right to jury trial in denaturalization proceedings. Accordingly, 3 4 5 6 7 8 IT IS ORDERED that the Motion to Strike Jury Demand (Doc. 74) is GRANTED. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Motion for Relief under Fed. R. Civ. P. 39(b) (Doc. 78) is DENIED. Dated this 6th day of August, 2013. 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 -4-

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?