Carolyn E. Miner v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A.
ORDER re: 26 Motion for Reconsideration, signed by District Judge Anthony W. Ishii on 1/17/2017. (Kusamura, W)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
CAROLYN E. MINER, TRUSTEE OF
THE MILTONMINER FAMILY TRUST,
CASE NO. 1:16-CV-0626 AWI JLT
ORDER RE: MOTION FOR
JPMORGAN CHASE BANK, N.A.,
Plaintiff filed a Fed. Rule Civ. Proc 41(a)(1)(A)(i) notice of voluntary dismissal without
prejudice. Doc. 24. The court reviewed the filing and found it was a valid Rule 41(a)(1)(A)(i)
dismissal, ordering that
Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:
Defendant’s Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss (Doc. 18) is DENIED as moot.
The Clerk of the Court shall close this case in light of Plaintiff’s Rule 41(a)(1)
Doc. 25, 2:3-6. In interpreting the effect of a voluntary dismissal, Rule 41 states that “Unless the
notice or stipulation states otherwise, the dismissal is without prejudice. But if the plaintiff
previously dismissed any federal- or state-court action based on or including the same claim, a
notice of dismissal operates as an adjudication on the merits.” Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 41(a)(1)(B). As
part of the analysis confirming that the notice qualified as a Rule 41(a)(1)(A)(i) dismissal and did
not require court approval under Rule 41(a)(2), the court erroneously stated that as Plaintiff had
not previously dismissed a prior action based on the same claim and thus “it appears that the
dismissal is properly without prejudice.” Doc. 25, 2:1. Defendant points out that Plaintiff has
previously dismissed similar claims in the past and has filed a motion for reconsideration asking
for an affirmative order dismissing Plaintiff’s claims with prejudice. Doc. 26, 1:4-8.
As stated in the prior order, a Rule 41(a)(1)(A)(i) dismissal is self-executing and does not
require any separate action from the court. It is instantly effective upon filing of the notice by a
plaintiff. The purpose of the order issued was to close the case and resolve the pending motion to
dismiss. The Ninth Circuit has definitively stated that
once a notice of voluntary dismissal is filed, the district court in which the action is
pending loses jurisdiction and cannot exercise discretion with respect to the terms
and conditions of the dismissal. Nor may it rule at the defendant’s request on
whether the plaintiff’s notice of dismissal in a second action is with prejudice or
the district court has no role to play once a notice of dismissal under Rule 41(a)(1)
is filed. The action is terminated at that point, as if no action had ever been filed.
Therefore, the district court has no power to place a condition on a Rule 41(a)(1)
dismissal at the defendant’s request. This would conflate Rule 41(a)(1) dismissals
with Rule 41(a)(2) dismissals, contrary to their different language and purpose. By
the same token, the label a plaintiff attaches to a second Rule 41(a)(1) dismissal is
irrelevant if a subsequent action is filed ‘based on or including the same claim,’
because Rule 41(a)(1) itself instructs that such a dismissal ‘operates as an
adjudication upon the merits.’ See Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(a)(1).
Commercial Space Mgmt. Co. v. Boeing Co., 193 F.3d 1074, 1076 and 1080 (9th Cir. 1999). The
record in this case can be clarified to reflect that Plaintiff appears to have had dismissed similar
claims against Defendant in the past but the relief requested is not available in this forum. The
determination of whether Rule 41(a)(1)(B) applies to render the dismissal an adjudication on the
merits is more properly the province of a later court if Plaintiff decides to file suit against
Defendant again. See 9 Wright and Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 2368 (2nd ed. 1995)
(“When a second dismissal is by notice under Rule 41(a), it is, by operation of the terms of the
rule, an adjudication on the merits; thus, it is with prejudice even though the notice states that the
dismissal is without prejudice”).
Defendant’s motion for reconsideration is DENIED.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated: January 17, 2017
SENIOR DISTRICT JUDGE
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