Fulford v. Griffith et al

Filing 60

ORDER Reopening Case; Vacating Referral of Settlement to Judge Vadas; and Reinstate the Amended Summary Judgment Motion and Denying Request for Inmate Participation signed by Magistrate Judge Maria-Elena James denying 55 Motion for Participation of Inmate. (Attachments: # 1 Certificate/Proof of Service)(rmm2S, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 10/18/2017)

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1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 7 FRED FULFORD, Plaintiff, 8 v. 9 10 DON M. GRIFFITH, Defendant. United States District Court Northern District of California 11 Case No. 16-cv-00770-MEJ ORDER REOPENING CASE; VACATING REFERRAL TO JUDGE VADAS; REINSTATING AMENDED SUMMARY JUDGMENT MOTION; DENYNG REQUEST FOR INMATE PARTICIPATION Dkt. No. 55 12 13 Plaintiff, a California prisoner currently incarcerated at California Health Care Facility – 14 15 Stockton, filed this pro se civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On June 29, 2017, the Court 16 referred this case to settlement proceedings before Judge Vadas, and stayed and administratively 17 closed the case pending the settlement proceedings. Dkt. No. 44. A settlement conference was 18 held on October 4, 2017, and the parties were unable to reach an agreement. Dkt. No. 58. The 19 parties reported that they are awaiting a ruling on the pending amended summary judgment 20 motion. Id. Accordingly, the Court will re-open this case. The settlement referral to Judge Vadas 21 is VACATED. Defendant's amended summary judgment motion is REINSTATED. The 22 amended summary judgment motion is fully briefed,1 and the Court will issue an order addressing 23 the motion in due course. Plaintiff’s request for participation of inmate Alberto Villescas is DENIED. Dkt. No. 55. 24 25 Plaintiff states that he suffers from severe disabilities and limitations due to illnesses and requests 26 27 28 1 Defendant’s amended summary judgment motion is docketed at Docket No. 34; Plaintiff’s opposition is docketed at Docket Nos. 35, 36, 37, 38, and 45; and Defendant’s reply is timely docketed at Docket No. 59. 1 that inmate Alberto Villescas participate at “all functions.” Id. The Court construes this motion as 2 seeking “next friend” status for Mr. Villescas. The next-friend standing doctrine permits persons 3 unable to prosecute their own action to have third persons — “next friends” —stand in for them. 4 Whitmore v. Arkansas, 495 U.S. 149 (1990). In order to qualify for “next friend” status, Mr. 5 Villescas must establish that (1) he is “truly dedicated” to Plaintiff’s best interest; (2) that he has a 6 “significant relationship” with Plaintiff; and (3) that there is an adequate explanation—such as 7 inaccessibility, mental incompetence, or other disability—why Plaintiff cannot appear on his own 8 behalf to prosecute the action. Id. at 163–64. Plaintiff has not satisfied any of these requirements 9 and he has ably prosecuted this action thus far. The Court DENIES the request for “next friend” status for Mr. Villescas. However, this does not mean that Plaintiff cannot receive assistance from 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 Mr. Villescas in prosecuting this action. This Court’s conclusion is simply that Mr. Villescas does 12 not qualify for next-friend standing, and therefore Mr. Villescas may not file pleadings or any 13 other documents in this case or make any appearances on Plaintiff’s behalf. 14 15 The Clerk is directed to REOPEN this case, VACATE the settlement referral to Judge Vadas, and REINSTATE the amended summary judgment motion (docketed at Docket No. 34). 16 This order terminates Dkt. No. 55. 17 IT IS SO ORDERED. 18 19 20 21 Dated: October 18, 2017 ______________________________________ MARIA-ELENA JAMES United States Magistrate Judge 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 2

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