Mitchell v. Felker et al

Filing 316

ORDER signed by District Judge Troy L. Nunley on 11/7/2013. Court is DENYING EJS's 302 Motion for Leave to file Brief of Amici Curiae in support of Preliminary Injunction. (Marciel, M)

Download PDF
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 ROBERT MITCHELL, et al., 12 13 14 15 No. 2:08-CV-01196-TLN-EFB Plaintiffs, v. ORDER MATTHEW CATE, et al., Defendants. 16 17 18 On October 9, 2013, the Equal Justice Society (“EJS”) filed a Motion for Leave to 19 file an Amended Amicus Brief in Support of Plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction. (ECF 20 No. 302.) This brief was filed seven months after Plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction 21 (ECF No. 156) and three months after Defendants’ opposition (ECF No. 214). Defendants 22 oppose EJS’s request to file its amicus brief arguing that it is untimely and improperly addresses 23 arguments made in their opposition without giving Defendants opportunity to respond. (ECF No. 24 307.) Plaintiffs have filed a reply in support of EJS’s motion (ECF No. 309). The Court has 25 carefully considered the arguments raised by EJS as well as the parties. For the reasons set forth 26 below, the Court hereby denies EJS’s motion for leave to file. 27 28 There is no inherent right to file an amicus curiae brief with the Court. Such decisions are left entirely to the discretion of the Court. Fluor Corp. and Affiliates v. United 1 1 States, 35 Fed. Cl. 284, 285 (1996); Long v. Coast Resorts, Inc., 49 F. Supp. 2d 1177, 1178 (D. 2 Nev. 1999); Waste Mgmt. of Pennsylvania, Inc. v. City of York, 162 F.R.D. 34, 36 (M.D. Pa. 3 1995). “A court may grant leave to appear as an amicus if the information offered is timely and 4 useful.” Waste Mgmt., 162 F.R.D. at 36. Chief Judge Posner, of the Seventh Circuit, has 5 provided the following guidance on the appropriateness of considering amicus briefs: 6 7 8 9 The vast majority of amicus curiae briefs are filed by allies of litigants and duplicate the arguments made in the litigants’ briefs, in effect merely extending the length of the litigant’s brief. Such amicus briefs should not be allowed. They are an abuse. The term ‘amicus curiae’ means friend of the court, not friend of a party. Ryan v. Commodity Futures Trading Comm’n, 125 F.3d 1062, 1063 (7th Cir. 1997). 10 Here, EJS’s amicus brief was not only filed an exceptionally long time after 11 Plaintiffs’ motion, but also incorporates arguments as to Defendants’ opposition and is thus 12 procedurally akin to a reply brief. The Court is cognizant that there are no specific rules 13 concerning the filing of amicus briefs in district court; however, the Federal Rules of Appellate 14 Procedure require an amicus curiae to file a brief no later than seven days after the principal brief 15 of the party being supported is filed and do not allow an amicus curiae to file a reply brief. Fed. 16 R. App. P. 29(e)−(f). The rationale for this deadline is addressed in the Advisory Committee 17 notes to Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 29, which state that the seven-day period to file an 18 amicus brief was adopted “because it is long enough to permit an amicus to review the completed 19 brief of the party being supported,” and “short enough that no adjustment need be made to the 20 opposing party’s briefing schedule.” Fed. R. App. P. 29 Advisory Comm.’s Note (e). The seven- 21 day period thus allows the opposing party “sufficient time to review arguments made by the 22 amicus and address them in the party’s responsive pleading.” Id. Granting EJS leave to file its 23 amicus brief would thus deprive Defendants of an opportunity to address EJS’s arguments which 24 conflicts with the rationale governing Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 29. 25 Moreover, the Court finds that the arguments presented by EJS duplicate 26 arguments made in the Plaintiffs’ brief and the Statement of Interest filed by the United States 27 Government (ECF No. 306). The Court has been provided with more than adequate briefing in 28 this case and finds that considering EJS’s brief, in effect, merely extends the length of the 2 1 Plaintiffs’ brief. See Ryan, 125 F.3d at 1063; see also Fed. R. App. P. 29 Advisory Comm.’s 2 Note (b) (stating that “[a]n amicus curiae brief which brings relevant matter to the attention of the 3 Court that has not already been brought to its attention by the parties is of considerable help to the 4 Court. An amicus curiae brief which does not serve this purpose simply burdens the staff and 5 facilities of the Court and its filing is not favored”). As such, the Court DENIES EJS’s Motion 6 for Leave to File Brief of Amici Curiae in Support of Preliminary Injunction (ECF No. 302). 7 IT IS SO ORDERED. 8 9 Dated: November 7, 2013 10 11 12 Troy L. Nunley United States District Judge 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3

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?