Reddy v. Medquist, Inc et al

Filing 135

ORDER RE JURISDICTION 132 by Judge Paul S. Grewal (psglc1, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 1/17/2013)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 8 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 9 SAN JOSE DIVISION United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 11 KRISHNA REDDY, Plaintiff, 12 13 v. MEDQUIST, INC., et. al., 14 Defendants. 15 ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) Case No.: C 12-01324 PSG ORDER REGARDING COURT’S JURISDICTION (Re: Docket No. 132) 16 On January 15, 2013, Plaintiff Krishna Reddy (“Reddy”) and Defendants Medquist, Inc., et. 17 18 al. (“Defendants”) appeared for a status conference. The parties raised the question of this court’s 19 jurisdiction in light of Reddy’s notice of appeal.1 Reddy has filed notice of the court’s order 20 declaring Reddy a vexatious litigant (“VLO”), the court’s order staying the case pending resolution 21 of the VLO, the court’s order denying Reddy’s in forma pauperis application (“IFP application”), 22 and “all other rulings, orders and judgments that the Court might make prior to the filing of the 23 24 25 Opening Brief in this case.”2 The court addresses the question of whether it retains jurisdiction over this case below. 26 27 1 See Docket No. 125. 28 2 Id. 1 Case No.: 12-01324 PSG ORDER Generally, “[t]he filing of a notice of appeal is an event of jurisdictional significance- it 1 2 confers jurisdiction on the court of appeals and divests the district court of its control over those 3 aspects of the case involved in the appeal.”3 However, the district court is not divested of 4 jurisdiction where it is clear that the notice of appeal is deficient. “Where the deficiency in a notice 5 of appeal, by reason of…reference to a non-appealable order, is clear to the district court, it may 6 7 8 disregard the purported notice of appeal and proceed with the case, knowing that it has not been deprived of jurisdiction.”4 As a threshold matter, it is clear that under 28 U.S.C. § 1292 that an interlocutory appeal of 9 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 an otherwise non-appealable order may only be heard if the district judge certifies in writing that 11 the order to be appealed “involves a controlling question of law as to which there is substantial 12 ground for differences of opinion” and that immediate appeal of the order would “materially 13 advance the ultimate termination of the litigation.”5 Reddy has never sought certification, nor has 14 this court granted it. 15 In the absence of certification, orders of the district court are generally not appealable 16 17 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1291 unless they are “final decisions.”6 A final decision is one that 18 resolves the litigation on the merits, leaving nothing more for the district court other than the 19 execution of the judgment.7 The Supreme Court has defined a small category of “collateral orders” 20 which by exception may be reviewed before final judgment is entered: “[T]he order must 21 3 See Griggs v. Provident Consumer Disc. Co., 459 U.S. 56, 58 (1982). 4 Ruby v. Sec'y of U. S. Navy, 365 F.2d 385, 389 (9th Cir. 1966). 22 23 5 24 25 26 See City of Los Angeles, Harbor Div. v. Santa Monica Baykeeper, 254 F.3d 882, 885 (9th Cir. 2001) (“[A] party must obtain certification from both the district court and the court of appeals to bring an interlocutory appeal”). The party may also seek a writ of mandamus if the district court denied the party’s request for certification. See Cohen v. U.S. Dist. Court for N. Dist. of California, 586 F.3d 703, 708 (9th Cir. 2009). 6 Cunningham v. Hamilton County, Ohio, 527 U.S. 198, 203 (1999). 7 See id. at 204. 27 28 2 Case No.: 12-01324 PSG ORDER 1 2 conclusively determine the disputed question, resolve an important issue completely separate from the merits of the action, and be effectively unreviewable on appeal from a final judgment.”8 As no final judgment has been entered in this case, Reddy’s orders may only be appealed if 3 4 they qualify as collateral orders. The court first considers Reddy’s appeal of the court’s VLO. In 5 Molski v. Evergreen Dynasty Corp., the Ninth Circuit held that pre-filing orders against vexatious 6 litigants are not final judgments and thus are not immediately appealable.9 The Ninth Circuit 7 8 9 recognized that allowing immediate appeals of pre-filing orders would result in a number of costly, piecemeal appeals.10 In that case, the court considered and affirmed the narrowly-tailored pre- United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 filing order entered by the district court after the district court dismissed the case on the merits.11 11 As in Molski, the VLO here is narrowly tailored to apply only to Reddy’s employment dispute with 12 Defendants, which has been litigated previously in two separate jurisdictions.12 13 14 The court next considers Reddy’s appeal of the order staying the case pending resolution of the VLO. The usual rule is that a temporary stay is not a final decision that may be appealed 15 16 because it does not put the plaintiff “effectively out of court.”13 Rather, it is understood that 17 18 19 8 Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. v. Risjord, 449 U.S. 368, 375 (1981). 20 9 See 500 F.3d 1047, 1056 (9th Cir. 2007). 21 10 See id. at 1056. 22 11 See id. 23 12 24 25 26 27 See Docket No. 121. Reddy argues that Moy v. United States, 906 F.2d 467, 470 (9th Cir. 1990), is controlling. The court in Moy held that the pre-filing order in that case was immediately appealable. Id. But the pre-filing order in Moy was overly broad in that it prohibited the plaintiff from bringing any actions without leave of the court, not just claims based on the facts and issues involved in Moy. Id. The Ninth Circuit ruled that this blanket pre-filing order was reviewable immediately because it denied the plaintiff’s fundamental right of access to the courts. Id. Because the court’s pre-filing order against Reddy was narrowly-tailored to apply only to the instant dispute, Moy does not apply and Molski is controlling. 13 28 Moses H. Cone Mem'l Hosp. v. Mercury Const. Corp., 460 U.S. 1, 10 (1983). 3 Case No.: 12-01324 PSG ORDER 1 2 proceedings in the district will resume after expiration of the stay.14 In any event, this appeal is moot—the stay was lifted when the court ruled on the VLO.15 The court finally considers Reddy’s appeal of her first IFP application, which was denied as 3 4 moot because it is undisputed that Reddy has already paid the filing fee in this case.16 The 5 Supreme Court has recognized in Roberts v. United States Dist. Court for N. Dist. of California 6 7 8 9 that denial by a district court of a motion to proceed in forma pauperis is an immediately appealable order.17 Under the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, notice of appeal must be filed within 30 days after entry of the order appealed from.18 If a party does not file a notice of appeal United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 within the 30 day time limit, the appellate court has no jurisdiction to hear the case.19 The court 11 denied Reddy’s IFP application on October 9, 2012.20 Her notice of appeal, however, was not filed 12 until January 2, 2013, making it untimely.21 13 14 In sum, Reddy has not followed the requisite procedural steps for appealing an interlocutory order. More fundamentally, her appeal is plainly deficient as it seeks review of unappealable 15 16 orders. As a matter of law, this court retains jurisdiction. Nevertheless, the court will defer consideration of Defendants' motions to dismiss until 17 18 after resolution of Reddy's appeal. At the January 15, 2013 status conference, Defendants did not 19 object to allowing Reddy's appeal to the Ninth Circuit to run its course. In addition, even if the 20 14 21 See Roe v. N. Mariana Islands Ret. Fund, 454 F. App'x 565, 567 (9th Cir. 2011). 15 22 See Docket No. 97 (minute entry stating the case is stayed until resolution of the vexatious litigant motion); See also Docket No. 121 (court’s VLO). 23 16 See Docket No. 1. 24 17 Roberts v. United States Dist. Court for N. Dist. of California, 339 U.S. 844, 845 (1950). 25 18 Fed. R. App. P. 4(a)(1)(A). 26 19 See Molski, 500 F.3d at 1054 (citing Bowles v. Russell, 551 U.S. 205, 208 (2007)). 27 20 See Docket No. 120. 28 21 See Docket No. 125. 4 Case No.: 12-01324 PSG ORDER 1 court has deemed Reddy vexatious in this litigation, it is mindful of her pro se status and the 2 challenge of simultaneously litigating even a frivolous appeal. Upon resolution of Reddy's appeal, 3 the court will set a schedule to resolve the pending motions. 4 IT IS SO ORDERED. 5 Dated: January 17, 2013 6 _________________________________ PAUL S. GREWAL United States Magistrate Judge 7 8 9 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 5 Case No.: 12-01324 PSG ORDER

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