Hobbiebrunken v. United States Department of Agriculture et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER. The defendants motion to transfer this case to Judge Robinson (Dk. 4) is denied without prejudice. The court concurs with Judge Belots order to have this case assigned to Magistrate Judge Gale for discovery purposes, including the defendants pending motion for extension of time (Dk. 5). Signed by U.S. District Senior Judge Sam A. Crow on 2/28/2012. (bmw)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
DISTRICT OF KANSAS
TOM VILSACK, Secretary of the
United States Department of
Agriculture; THE RISK MANAGEMENT
AGENCY; and THE FEDERAL CROP
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
The case comes before the court on the defendants’ motion to
transfer this case to Judge Robinson. (Dk. 4). This case is one of three
actions seeking judicial review on complaints with nearly identical
allegations. In this case and the cases of Kevin Hobbiebrunken v. Tom
Vilsack, et al., No. 11-1386-MLB and Brian Hobbiebrunken v. Tom Vilsack, et
al., No. 11-1387-JAR, each plaintiff alleges that in 2009 he had a federal
crop insurance policy on land farmed about ten miles north of Elkhart,
Kansas, and that his insurance claim for a failed corn crop from hail and
extremely dry weather was denied for failure to follow good farming
practices. The plaintiffs seek judicial review of the agency determinations
upholding the denial of their claims. The defendants filed a motion to
transfer in this case and in the case assigned to Judge Belot, and they argue
the plaintiffs in all three cases “raise identical issues,” “state virtually
identical facts,” and “seek identical relief.” (Dk. 4, p. 2).
The plaintiff opposes a transfer arguing the apparent similarities
are “not that simple” because each case requires a separate judicial review
involving its own set of facts with differences in the policies, in the kind and
amount of seed used, in the weed control methods employed, and in the
timing of the fertilizer. (Dk. 9). Recognizing that the decision to
transfer/consolidate was a matter committed to his sound discretion, Judge
Belot has held in his case that “[a]t this stage in the proceedings and after
consideration of plaintiff’s position, the court does not find that it is
necessary to transfer this case to another judge.” No. 11-1386-MLB, Dk. 11.
The court shares Judge Belot’s impression of the motion as premature. It
may be more apparent later that the issues and facts common in the cases
would predominate the court’s analysis. For now, the court denies the
motion without prejudice to a subsequent motion for transfer/consolidation
based on additional facts and arguments. The court concurs with Judge
Belot’s order to have this case assigned to Magistrate Judge Gale for
discovery purposes, including the defendant’s pending motion for extension
of time (Dk. 5).
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the defendants’ motion to
transfer this case to Judge Robinson (Dk. 4) is denied without prejudice.
Dated this 28th day of February of 2012, Topeka, Kansas.
s/ Sam A. Crow
Sam A. Crow, U.S. District Senior Judge
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