Rene Luna, Jr. v. Loll et al

Filing 9

FINDINGS and RECOMMENDATIONS Recommending that this Action be Dismissed as Duplicative of Case No. 1:21-CV-01291-BAM; ORDER VACATING 6 Order Granting Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis re 1 Prisoner Civil Rights Complaint, signed by Magistrate Judge Erica P. Grosjean on 9/3/2021. Referred to Unassigned DJ; Objections to F&R due within fourteen (14) days. (Rivera, O)

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Case 1:21-cv-01310-NONE-EPG Document 9 Filed 09/07/21 Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 RENE LUNA, 12 Plaintiff, 13 14 Case No. 1:21-cv-01310-NONE-EPG v. FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS RECOMMENDING THAT THIS ACTION BE DISMISSED AS DUPLICATIVE OF CASE NO. 1:21-CV-01291-BAM LOLL, et al., (ECF No. 1) 15 Defendants. FOURTEEN (14) DAY DEADLINE 16 17 18 ORDER VACATING ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS 19 (ECF No. 6) 20 Plaintiff Rene Luna (“Plaintiff”) is a pretrial detainee proceeding pro se and in forma 21 pauperis in this civil rights action filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. 22 For the following reasons, the Court recommends that this action be dismissed as 23 duplicative of David Ponce, et al. v. Officer Washburn, et al., Case No. 1:21-cv-01291-BAM 24 (“Ponce”). In light of this recommendation, the Court will vacate the order granting in forma 25 pauperis status. 26 /// 27 /// 28 1 Case 1:21-cv-01310-NONE-EPG Document 9 Filed 09/07/21 Page 2 of 4 1 I. LEGAL STANDARD 2 “Plaintiffs generally have ‘no right to maintain two separate actions involving the same 3 subject matter at the same time in the same court and against the same defendant.’” Adams v. Cal. 4 Dep’t of Health Servs., 487 F.3d 684, 688 (9th Cir. 2007) (quoting Walton v. Eaton Corp., 563 5 F.2d 66, 70 (3d Cir. 1977)), overruled on other grounds by Taylor v. Sturgell, 553 U.S. 880, 904 6 (2008). “To determine whether a suit is duplicative, we borrow from the test for claim 7 8 preclusion.”1 Adams, 487 F.3d at 688. “‘[T]he true test of the sufficiency of a plea of ‘other suit 9 pending’ in another forum [i]s the legal efficacy of the first suit, when finally disposed of, as ‘the 10 thing adjudged,’ regarding the matters at issue in the second suit.’” Id. (second alteration in 11 original) (quoting The Haytian Republic, 154 U.S. 118, 124 (1894)). “Thus, in assessing whether 12 the second action is duplicative of the first, we examine whether the causes of action and relief 13 sought, as well as the parties . . . to the action, are the same.” Adams, 487 F.3d at 689; see also 14 Serlin v. Arthur Anderson & Co., 3 F.3d 221, 223 (7th Cir. 1993) (“[A] suit is duplicative if the 15 claims, parties, and available relief do not significantly differ between the two actions.” (internal 16 quotation marks omitted)). 17 “After weighing the equities of the case, the district court may exercise its discretion to 18 dismiss a duplicative later-filed action, to stay that action pending resolution of the previously 19 filed action, to enjoin the parties from proceeding with it, or to consolidate both actions.” Adams, 20 487 F.3d at 688. 21 II. 22 DISCUSSION Plaintiff, along with Anthony Barker, David Ponce, James Wallace, and Jesse Gomez, 23 filed the complaint in Ponce on August 25, 2021. (Ponce, ECF No. 1.) The complaint in Ponce 24 names Officer Loll, Officer Gomez, and the Kings County Sheriff’s Department, among others,2 25 1 27 The primary difference between dismissing a case as duplicative and dismissing a case under the doctrine of claim preclusion is that a final judgment need not have been entered to dismiss a case as duplicative while claim preclusion requires a final judgment on the merits. Cook v. C.R. England, Inc., 2012 WL 2373258, at *3 (C.D. Cal. June 21, 2012). A final judgment has not been entered in Ponce. Accordingly, the Court does not apply the doctrine of claim preclusion. 28 2 26 The complaint in Ponce also brings claims against additional defendants on behalf of the other plaintiffs. 2 Case 1:21-cv-01310-NONE-EPG Document 9 Filed 09/07/21 Page 3 of 4 1 as defendants. (Id.) 2 Plaintiff filed this case on August 30, 2021, along with a motion to proceed in forma 3 pauperis. (ECF Nos. 1, 2.) Plaintiff’s complaint also names Officer Loll, Officer Gomez, and the 4 Kings County Sheriff’s Department as defendants. (ECF No. 1.) On September 1, 2021, the Court 5 entered an order granting Plaintiff’s motion to proceed in forma pauperis. (ECF No. 6.) The 6 Court’s order directed the Kings County Sheriff to collect and forward payments from Plaintiff’s 7 prison trust account. (Id.) 8 In this case and in Ponce, Plaintiff alleges that, on February 23, 2021, Officers Loll and 9 Gomez beat Plaintiff while he was in a prone position and suffering from an intestinal problem. 10 (ECF No. 1 at 3; Ponce, ECF No. 1 at 3.) In comparing the three complaints, “it is clear that the . . 11 . actions share a common transaction nucleus of facts.” Adams, 487 F.3d at 689. Additionally, all 12 of the defendants named in this case are also named Ponce. In this case, Plaintiff requests relief in 13 the form of monetary and punitive damages totaling $1.5 million “per strike/punch/blow” and that 14 “the officers be brought to justice to the fullest extent of the law.” (ECF No. 1 at 6.) In Ponce, 15 Plaintiff requests declaratory and injunctive relief, $9.5 million in compensatory damages, $5.9 16 million in punitive damages against each defendant, interest, and any other relief allowed by law 17 and equity. (Ponce, ECF No. 1 at 6.) 18 Based on the foregoing, the Court finds that the claims, relief sought, and parties to this 19 action and to Ponce do not significantly differ. The instant case is therefore duplicative of Ponce. 20 Further, both cases are in early stages and have not yet been screened. Thus, weighing the 21 equities, the Court recommends that this case be dismissed. Additionally, in light of this 22 recommendation, the Court will vacate its order granting in forma pauperis status. 23 III. CONCLUSION, ORDER, AND RECOMMENDATIONS 24 Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that: 25 1. The Court’s order granting Plaintiff’s motion to proceed in forma pauperis is 26 VACATED and the Kings County Sheriff is no longer required to collect payments 27 28 3 Case 1:21-cv-01310-NONE-EPG Document 9 Filed 09/07/21 Page 4 of 4 1 pursuant to that order; and 2 2. The Clerk of Court is directed to serve copies of this order on the Kings County 3 Sheriff and on the Financial Department, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of 4 California, Sacramento Division. 5 Furthermore, it is HEREBY RECOMMENDED that: 6 1. 7 This action be dismissed as duplicative of David Ponce, et al. v. Officer Washburn, et al., Case No. 1:21-cv-01291-BAM; and 8 2. The Clerk of Court be directed to close the case. 9 These findings and recommendations are submitted to the assigned United States District 10 Court Judge, pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636 (b)(1)(B). Within fourteen (14) days 11 after service of the findings and recommendations, Plaintiff may file written objections with the 12 Court. Such a document should be captioned “Objections to Magistrate Judge’s Findings and 13 Recommendation.” The assigned United States District Court Judge will then review the 14 Magistrate Judge’s ruling pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). Plaintiff is advised that failure to 15 file objections within the specified time may waive the right to appeal the District Court’s order. 16 Wilkerson v. Wheeler, 772 F.3d 834, 839 (9th Cir. 2014) (citing Baxter v. Sullivan, 923 F.2d 17 1391, 1394 (9th Cir. 1991)). 18 19 20 21 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: September 3, 2021 /s/ UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 4

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