Stringer v. Smith Transportation Incorporated et al
ORDER granting 23 MOTION to Consolidate Cases. The Patterson case, 3:15-cv-00207, shall be consolidated with and into the Stringer case, 3:14-cv-00151. The Court grants the 25 Motion to Continue and hereby continues the October 26, 2015, trial date. The Court will set new deadlines and a new trial date by separate order. Signed by Judge Kristine G. Baker on 8/27/2015. (jak) (Docket text modified on 8/27/2015 to correct a typographical error.) (thd).
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
Case No. 3:14-cv-00151 KGB
SMITH TRANSPORTATION, INC.
and JOHNIE STEIN
THIRD PARTY DEFENDANT
Case No. 3:15-cv-00207 JLH
JOHN H. STEIN JR., LARRY W. WINKLER,
and SMITH TRANSPORTATION, INC.
Before the Court is defendants Smith Transportation, Inc. and Johnie Stein’s motion to
consolidate actions (Dkt. No. 23). Smith Transportation and Johnie Stein “request that the Court
consolidate Keesha Stringer v. Smith Transportation, et al., Case No. 3:14-CV-00151 . . . with
and into Antonio Patterson v. John H. Stein, et al., Case No. 3:15-CV-00207-JLH” (Dkt. No. 23,
¶ 1). Smith Transportation and Johnie Stein filed their motion to consolidate in both cases.
Neither Ms. Stringer nor Mr. Patterson has responded to the respective motions to consolidate,
and the time to do so has passed. Also before the Court is Ms. Stringer’s unopposed motion for
continuance (Dkt. No. 25).
First, the Court considers Smith Transportation and Johnie Stein’s motion to consolidate
actions. Under Rule 42 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, “[i]f actions before the court
involve a common question of law or fact, the court may . . . consolidate the actions.” Fed. R.
Civ. P. 42(a)(2).
To decide whether to consolidate actions, courts consider whether
consolidation “will serve the interests of convenience and economy in administration and avoid
unnecessary cost or delay.” Enter. Bank v. Saettele, 21 F.3d 233, 235 (8th Cir. 1994).
Here, Ms. Stringer and Mr. Patterson both seek damages for personal injuries allegedly
sustained during a motor-vehicle collision with a tractor operated by Johnie Stein and allegedly
under the authority of Smith Transportation. In the Patterson case, based upon this Court’s
review of the docket, Mr. Patterson alleges that defendant Larry Winkler was the owner of the
tractor. The allegations in both actions involve the same alleged tortfeasors; similar, if not
identical, claims; and common questions of law and fact arising from the same motor-vehicle
collision. Accordingly, consolidation will serve the interests of convenience and economy in
administration and avoid unnecessary cost or delay.
Therefore, to the extent that Smith
Transportation and Johnie Stein request the Court to consolidate Keesha Stringer v. Smith
Transportation, et al., Case No. 3:14-cv-00151-KGB, and Antonio Patterson v. John H. Stein, et
al., Case No. 3:15-CV-00207-JLH, into one action, the Court grants the motion (Dkt. No. 23)
and hereby consolidates the two actions.
Under General Order 39 of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of
Arkansas, if a motion for consolidation is granted, “the consolidation cases will be assigned to
the judge with the lower (lowest) case number.” Here, the Stringer case has the lower case
number. Therefore, the Patterson case shall be consolidated with and into the Stringer,case
before the undersigned Judge. All parties are directed to make filings only in Stringer v. Smith
Transportation, et al., Case No. 3:14-cv-00151-KGB, going forward.
Next, the Court addresses Ms. Stringer’s motion for continuance of the trial date (Dkt.
No. 25). This case currently is set for trial on October 26, 2015. Ms. Stringer does not request a
specific length of time or a specific date for the continuance. Ms. Stringer states that she has
consulted Smith Transportation and Johnie Stein and that they agree that a continuance is needed
in this matter. For good cause shown, the Court grants Ms. Stringer’s motion for continuance
and hereby continues the October 26, 2015, trial date. The Court will set new deadlines and a
new trial date by separate order.
SO ORDERED this 27th day of August, 2015.
Kristine G. Baker
United States District Judge
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