Springfield v. Allen, et al.

Filing 41

FINDINGS and RECOMMENDATIONS signed by Magistrate Judge Allison Claire on 03/23/15 recommending that this action be dismissed without prejudice to plaintiff pursuing his claims herein in his first-filed action. Springfield v. Singh, Case No. 2:12-cv-2552 KJM AC P. Defendants' motion to dismiss 32 and motion to strike 40 be denied as moot. Motions 32 and 40 referred to Judge Kimberly J. Mueller. Objections due within 14 days. (Plummer, M)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 CIRON B. SPRINGFIELD, 12 Plaintiff, 13 v. 14 No. 2:13-cv-0809 KJM AC P K. ALLEN, et al., 15 FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS Defendants. 16 Plaintiff is a state prisoner, currently incarcerated at California State Prison, Los Angeles 17 18 County (CSP-LAC), who proceeds pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action filed 19 pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This action proceeds on plaintiff’s First Amended Complaint 20 (FAC) filed May 8, 2013.1 ECF No. 10. Currently pending is defendants’ motion to dismiss premised on plaintiff’s alleged failure 21 22 to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), Federal Rules of 23 Civil Procedure. This action is referred to the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge 24 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B), Local Rule 302(c), and Local General Order No. 262. For 25 the reasons that follow, this court finds that this action duplicates plaintiff’s claims in an earlier- 26 27 28 1 As defendants note, the FAC is plaintiff’s original complaint re-filed after plaintiff signed and dated it as directed by the court. See ECF No. 4. Plaintiff’s exhibits attached to his original complaint, ECF No. 1, remain part of the record. See ECF No. 8 at 2. 1 filed case, Springfield v. Singh, Case No. 2:12-cv-02552 KJM AC P, and recommends that the 2 instant action be dismissed without prejudice to plaintiff pursuing his claims in his first-filed 3 action. 4 On January 28, 2014, the district judge issued a Related Case Order, relating this case to 5 Springfield v. Singh, Case No. 2:12-cv-02552 KJM AC P. See ECF No. 26. On August 14, 6 2014, the undersigned denied defendants’ motion to consolidate these cases, without prejudice to 7 a renewal of the motion upon resolution of the motions then pending in Singh. ECF No. 31. In 8 that order, the undersigned noted the following similarities and distinctions between the cases: 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 In Springfield v. Singh, Case No. 2:12-cv-2552 KJM AC P (hereafter, Singh action), plaintiff . . . alleg[es] due process violations in the gang validation investigative process and/or plaintiff’s continued or extended placement in administrative segregation. These claims are stated against sixteen defendants at three separate facilities . . . . Plaintiff also proceeds on claims of deliberate indifference to a serious mental health condition against six of these defendants. Among the sixteen defendants in the Singh action are defendants Allen, Singh and Arnold who are also the defendants against whom plaintiff proceeds in the later-filed Springfield v. Allen case, No. 2:13-cv-0809 KJM AC P (hereafter, Allen action). The allegations of the Singh action encompass a broader period of time (from March 21, 2011 to September 4, 2012) than do those of the Allen action (from August 4, 2011 to January 25, 2012). Compare ECF No. 21 (amended complaint) in the Singh action to ECF No. 10 (operative complaint) in the Allen action. As defendants observe, the allegations of the second case (Allen) focus more narrowly on defendants located at a single facility, CMF, and on specific unit and/or institutional classification hearings held on August 25, 2011; January 11, 2012; January 18, 2012 and January 25, 2012. In the Allen action, there is an additional alleged due process violation asserted as to two of the hearings, the alleged absence of a 72-hour notice prior to the hearings, among otherwise similar or identical allegations of violations of due process. ECF No. 31 at 2 (fn. omitted). In reviewing the merits of defendants’ motions for summary judgment and for dismissal in 25 Singh, based on plaintiff’s alleged failure to exhaust administrative remedies and alleged failure 26 to state a cognizable claim, the undersigned is persuaded that plaintiff is challenging the same 27 matters in both actions, as to defendants Allen, Singh and Arnold. Although plaintiff has 28 attempted to be more specific in the instant action, his allegations against each defendant herein 2 1 are also reflected in Singh. More importantly, plaintiff’s allegations herein are necessarily 2 premised on and framed by the same exhausted administrative appeals analyzed in detail in Singh 3 (Appeal Log No. CMF-11-01421). This renders plaintiff’s claims stronger in Singh because the 4 exhibits therein demonstrate, inter alia, that plaintiff’s challenged gang validation was rescinded 5 based on an administrative finding that plaintiff was denied due process, while this factor is not 6 asserted in the instant case. 7 A federal court has the inherent power “to control the disposition of the causes on its 8 docket with economy of time and effort for itself, for counsel, and for litigants.” Landis v. North 9 American Co., 299 U.S. 248, 254 (1936). In the federal district court system, “the general 10 principle is to avoid duplicative litigation.” Colorado River Water Conservation Dist. v. United 11 States, 424 U.S. 800, 817 (1976) (citations omitted). “As part of its general power to administer 12 its docket, a district court may stay or dismiss a suit that is duplicative of another federal court 13 suit.” Curtis v. Citibank, N.A., 226 F.3d 133, 138 (2d Cir. 2000) (citing Colorado River, 424 14 U.S. at 817). “[S]imple dismissal of the second suit is [a] common disposition because plaintiffs 15 have no right to maintain two actions on the same subject in the same court, against the same 16 defendant at the same time.” Curtis, 226 F.3d at 138-39 (citations omitted). 17 “[I]n assessing whether the second action is duplicative of the first, we examine whether 18 the causes of action and relief sought, as well as the parties or privies to the action, are the same.” 19 Adams v. Calif. Dept. of Health Services, 487 F.3d 684, 689 (9th Cir. 2007) (citations omitted). 20 The undersigned is persuaded that plaintiff’s claims against defendants Singh, Allen and Arnold, 21 as set forth in both Singh and Allen, involve identical parties, arose from the “same transactional 22 nucleus of facts,” allege “infringement of the same right[s],” and depend upon the “same 23 evidence.” Id. (citation and internal quotations marks omitted). In addition, the only relief 24 plaintiff seeks in Allen is punitive damages, which is included in plaintiff’s claim for both 25 punitive damages and injunctive relief in Singh. 26 The undersigned’s contemporaneous review of the operative complaints, supporting 27 exhibits and respective motions to dismiss in both cases demonstrates that all of plaintiff’s claims 28 in the instant case are duplicated in Springfield v. Singh, Case No. 2:12-cv-2552 KJM AC P. For 3 1 this reason, the undersigned recommends that the instant action be dismissed without prejudice. 2 Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY RECOMMENDED that: 3 1. This action be dismissed without prejudice to plaintiff pursuing his claims herein in his 4 first-filed action, Springfield v. Singh, Case No. 2:12-cv-2552 KJM AC P. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 5 41(b). 6 7 8 9 2. Defendants’ motion to dismiss, ECF No. 32, and motion to strike, ECF No. 40, be denied as moot. These findings and recommendations are submitted to the United States District Judge assigned to this case, pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(l). Within fourteen days 10 after being served with these findings and recommendations, any party may file written 11 objections with the court, which shall be captioned “Objections to Magistrate Judge’s Findings 12 and Recommendations.” No extensions of time will be granted, due to exigencies of time 13 within the court. A copy of any objections filed with the court shall also be served on all parties. 14 The parties are advised that failure to file objections within the specified time may waive the right 15 to appeal the District Court’s order. Martinez v. Ylst, 951 F.2d 1153 (9th Cir. 1991). 16 DATED: March 23, 2015 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 4

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