Garcia et al v. The California Supeme Court et al
ORDER re 18 Order to Show Cause. Signed by Judge Donald W. Molloy on 12/3/2012. (dle, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 12/3/2012)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
SAN FRANCISCO AND OAKLAND DIVISIONS
TANESHA WALLS BLYE, et al.,
CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT,
JOSEPH ROBERT GIANNINI,
UNITED STATES DISTRICT
COURT FOR THE NORTHERN
DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA, et al.,
JOSE J. GARCIA, et al.,
CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT,
The Court ordered parties in the above captioned matters to show cause as
to whether the cases should be consolidated. A court may consolidate actions
involving a common question of law or fact, Fed. R. Civ. P. 42(a), and acts with
broad discretion in considering whether to order consolidation. Investors Research
Co. v. U.S. Dist. Court for Cent. Dist. of California, 877 F.2d 777, 777 (9th Cir.
1989). The Court balances the interest of judicial convenience and expediency
against any potential for delay, confusion, or prejudice caused by entering a
consolidation order. Southwest Marine, Inc. v. Triple A Mach. Shop, Inc., 720 F.
Supp. 805, 807 (N.D. Cal. 1989), accord Minjares v. NorthWestern Corp., 2011
WL 4104916 at *2 (D. Mont. 2011).
The effect of entry of an order to consolidate is somewhat unsettled under
Ninth Circuit law. By the traditional rule, in place prior to the adoption of Rule 42,
consolidation did not merge the underlying actions or affect the rights or
configuration of the parties. Sullivan v. Mahoney, 2009 WL 1451698 at *2 n.1 (D.
Mont. 2009). Most courts of appeal have followed this view, see Schnabel v. Lui,
302 F.3d 1023, 1035 (9th Cir. 2002), but the Ninth Circuit has taken a more
nuanced view of the effect of consolidation, often conditioning the answer on the
context of the case and the rights asserted by the parties, see id. at 1035-36.
In each of the cases before the Court here, Plaintiffs and the State
Defendants consent to consolidation while the Federal Defendants raise objections
related to the uncertainty surrounding the effect of consolidation under Ninth
Circuit law. Federal Defendants’ uncertainty as to the effect of consolidation is a
valid concern; it raises the possibility of confusion or prejudice which weighs
against any administrative efficiency gained by consolidating the matters at this
stage. Accordingly, rather than formally consolidating the cases under Rule 42, the
Court will simply coordinate these three related cases for briefing and hearings.
While there are common issues of law and fact warranting common administration
of the cases before the Court, the parties’ interests and arguments in each case are
not unified in all respects. Therefore each action will retain its separate character
and require the entry of separate orders and judgments. And in each case all parties
will have the opportunity to brief and argue matters independently. Moving
forward, filings by the parties in these matters shall refer to the appropriate case
and caption rather than the unified caption above.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
DATED this 3rd day of December, 2012.
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