Watson v. AJ Lines, Inc. et al
OPINION AND ORDER: GRANTING 85 MOTION to Consolidate Cases and Vacate Deadlines Agreed by Defendant BNSF Logistics, LLC (filed in 2:15cv414) and ORDERS consolidation of the instant litigation and 2:17-CV-240-RL-APR for DISCOVERY PURPOSES ONLY. The Court INSTRUCTS the parties to continue to file all future motions in both cases under separate cause numbers. The Court VACATES the pending deadlines. A hearing for the purpose of resetting the deadlines will be scheduled by separate order. Signed by Magistrate Judge Paul R Cherry on 7/25/2017. (lhc)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
ASHLEE K. LEEPER,
AJ LINES, INC., et al.,
) CAUSE NO.: 2:15-CV-414-RL-PRC
OPINION AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on an Agreed Motion to Consolidate and to Vacate Deadlines
[DE 85], filed on July 20, 2017. Defendant BNSF Logistics, LLC requests that this matter be
consolidated for purposes of discovery with Kaci Watson v. AJ Lines, Inc., BNSF Logistics, LLC,
Abinet E. Kebede, and Baltic Freight Corp., Cause No. 2:17-CV-240-RL-APR. Also on July 20,
2017, BNSF Logistics, LLC filed a Notice of Motion to Consolidate in Cause Number 2:17-CV-240RL-APR. BNSF Logistics, LLC represents that all parties in both cases agree to the Motion.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 42(a) provides that, “[i]f actions before the court involve
a common question of law or fact, the court may . . . consolidate the actions.” Fed. R. Civ. P.
42(a)(2). Consolidation is appropriate for “cases that share the same questions of law or fact and
where consolidation would not result in prejudice to any party.” Back v. Carter, 933 F. Supp. 738,
748 (N.D. Ind. 1996) (citing Fleishman v. Prudential-Bache Sec., Inc., 103 F.R.D. 623, 624 (E.D.
Wis. 1984)). Courts “consider such factors as judicial economy, avoiding delay, and avoiding
inconsistent or conflicting results” as well as “as the possibility of . . . administrative difficulties.”
Habitat Educ. Ctr., Inc. v. Kimbell, 250 F.R.D. 390, 394 (E.D. Wis. 2008). Consolidation “is a
matter committed to the sound discretion of the trial judge.” Canedy v. Boardman, 16 F.3d 183, 185
(7th Cir. 1994).
Both lawsuits at issue bring claims of personal injury against the same defendants for the
same alleged motor vehicle accident. Though the instant lawsuit was filed two years ago and the
other case filed this year, an Amended Complaint was recently filed in the instant lawsuit. The
Amended Complaint named BNSF Logistics, Inc. as a defendant for the first time. Having reviewed
the Complaints in this case and in Cause Number 2:17-CV-240-RL-APR, the Court finds that the
two cases have common issues of fact and common issues of law. Consolidation for the purposes
of discovery will reduce the burden placed on witnesses, parties, and judicial resources.
Finding the motion well taken, the Court hereby GRANTS the Agreed Motion to
Consolidate and to Vacate Deadlines [DE 85] and ORDERS consolidation of the instant litigation
and 2:17-CV-240-RL-APR for discovery purposes only. The Court INSTRUCTS the parties to
continue to file all future motions in both cases under separate cause numbers. The Court
VACATES the pending deadlines. A hearing for the purpose of resetting the deadlines will be
scheduled by separate order.
SO ORDERED this 25th day of July, 2017.
s/ Paul R. Cherry
MAGISTRATE JUDGE PAUL R. CHERRY
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
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