Chan et al v. The Pacific Gas and Electric Company Health Care Plan for Management and Administrative & Technical Employees et al

Filing 13

ORDER REGARDING STIPULATION FILED ON JANUARY 21, 2014. Signed by Judge Laurel Beeler on 1/23/2014. (lblc2, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 1/23/2014)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 Northern District of California 10 San Francisco Division VICTOR K CHAN, et al., 12 For the Northern District of California UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 11 13 Plaintiffs, No. C 13-05379 LB ORDER REGARDING STIPULATION FILED ON JANUARY 21, 2014 v. [Re: ECF No. 11] 14 15 THE PACIFIC GAS AND ELECTRIC COMPANY HEALTH CARE PLAN FOR MANAGEMENT AND ADMINISTRATIVE AND TECHNICAL EMPLOYEES, et al., 16 17 18 Defendants. _____________________________________/ In this action, Plaintiffs Victor Chan and Shirley Ip have sued two Defendants: (1) The Pacific 19 Gas and Electric Company Health Care Plan for Management and Administrative & Technical 20 Employees and (2) Anthem Blue Cross Life and Health Insurance Company. Complaint, ECF No. 21 1. So far, the PG&E Health Care Plan is the only Defendant to have appeared in this action 22 (Plaintiffs have not filed executed summonses so it is not clear whether Anthem even has been 23 served), and only Plaintiffs have consented to the undersigned’s jurisdiction. Consent (Plaintiffs), 24 ECF No. 8. 25 On January 21, 2014, Plaintiffs and the PG&E Health Care Plan filed a stipulation to do two 26 things: (1) to dismiss with prejudice Plaintiffs’ second claim, which Plaintiffs bring against Anthem 27 only; and (2) to extend the time for the PG&E Health Plan to answer or otherwise respond to 28 Plaintiffs’ complaint from January 21, 2014 to February 11, 2014. Stipulation, ECF No. 11. C 13-05379 LB ORDER 1 The court notes two things about this stipulation. First, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41 does 2 not allow Plaintiffs and the PG&E Health Plan to dismiss Plaintiffs’ second claim in this way. 3 Generally, a plaintiff has the right to dismiss its “action” against a particular defendant under Rule 4 41(a)(1)(i) by filing “a notice of dismissal before the opposing party serves either an answer or 5 motion for summary judgment,” or under Rule 41(a)(1)(ii) by filing “a stipulation of dismissal 6 signed by all parties who have appeared.” However, Rule 41(a)(1) is silent with respect to a 7 plaintiff’s dismissal of fewer than all claims in a multi-claim complaint. See id.; see also 8 Commercial Space Mgmt. Co., Inc. v. Boeing Co., Inc., 193 F.3d 1074, 1077 (9th Cir. 1999). In 9 Ethridge v. Harbor House Restaurant,, the Ninth Circuit stated expressly that “a plaintiff may not 1389, 1392 (9th Cir. 1988). Voluntary dismissals with judicial consent pursuant to Rule 41(a)(2) are 12 For the Northern District of California use Rule 41(a) to dismiss, unilaterally, a single claim from a multi-claim complaint.” 861 F.2d 11 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 10 subject to the same limitation. Hells Canyon Preservation Council v. U.S. Forest Service, 403 F.3d 13 683, 688 (9th Cir. 2005). Thus, Rule 41(a) “does not allow for piecemeal dismissals.” Hells 14 Canyon, 403 F.3d at 688 (citing Ethridge, 861 F.2d at 1392). For this reason, dismissal of fewer 15 than all claims should not occur under Rule 41(a); rather, it should occur under Rule 15(a) as an 16 amendment to the complaint. Id. (“[W]ithdrawals of individual claims against a given defendant are 17 governed by Fed. R. Civ. P. 15, which addresses amendments to pleadings.”) (citation omitted). 18 Following the Ninth Circuit’s guidance, the court therefore construes the stipulation as an 19 amendment of their complaint—one that eliminates their second claim against Anthem. See id. at 20 690 (construing a dismissal as an amendment to a complaint). 21 Second, Civil Local Rule 6-1(a), “[p]arties may stipulate in writing, without a Court order, to 22 extend the time within which to answer or otherwise respond to the complaint . . . , provided the 23 change will not alter the date of any event or any deadline already fixed by Court order.” That is the 24 situation here; therefore, the parties do not need a court order to give the PG&E Health Plan until 25 February 11, 2014. 26 27 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: January 23, 2014 _______________________________ LAUREL BEELER United States Magistrate Judge 28 C 13-05379 LB ORDER 2

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