WHITENIGHT v. ELBEL et al
ORDER denying 108 Motion to Consolidate Cases. Signed by Magistrate Judge Cynthia Reed Eddy on 1/2/2018. (bsc)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
SHAWN LEE WHITENIGHT,
THOMAS ELBEL, et al.,
Civil Action No. 2: 16-cv-0646
United States Magistrate Judge
Cynthia Reed Eddy
Presently before the Court is a Motion to Consolidate filed by Defendant Thomas Elbel
(ECF No. 108) in which he asks the Court to consolidate this case with Civil Action No. 2:16-cv0552.
In this case, Plaintiff’s claims arise out of the medical care, or lack thereof, he received
while a prisoner in the Jefferson County Jail. In Civil Action No. 2:16-cv-0552, Plaintiff alleges
that while incarcerated at Jefferson County Jail, Warden Elbel recorded Plaintiff’s attorney/client
telephone calls and that on one occasion while he was being transported from the jail to a state
court appearance, Deputy Nunley read the documents Plaintiff was carrying with him.
Courts are authorized to consolidate actions “[w]hen actions involving common questions
of law or fact are pending before the court.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 42(a).
“The threshold requirement
for determining whether consolidation is permissible is whether there exists a common question
of law or fact. Consolidation must be denied if there is no common issue tying the cases
MarcellX, LLC v. Sbarra, No. 16-1319, 2017 WL 956652 at *2 (W.D. Pa.
03/13/2017) (quoting McClenaghan v. Turi, Nos. 09-5497 and 11-2761, 2011 WL 4346339, at
In accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(c)(1), the parties have voluntarily
consented to have a U.S. Magistrate Judge conduct proceedings in this case, including entry of a
final judgment by a United States Magistrate Judge. See ECF Nos. 37, 39, 42, and 43.
*1 (E.D. Pa. Sept. 16, 2011)). “Moreover, the common question of law or fact must be a
principle one.” Id. (citing Farahmand v. Rumsfield, No. 02-1236, 2002 WL 31630709, at *2
(E.D. Pa. Sept. 16, 2002). “Where the evidence in one case is not relevant to the issues in the
other, consolidation would create a likelihood of prejudice by confusing the issues.” Id.
Here, although the two cases are “related” in the broadest sense of the word, that being
only that the events occurred while Plaintiff was incarcerated at Jefferson County Jail, there are
no principle questions of law or fact in common. The cases are based on entirely different
occurrences, factual allegations, and legal theories.
Moreover, with the exception of Warden Elbel, the parties to the two suits are largely
different. In the instant case, the defendants are Warden Elbel, Prime Medical, Susan Rossino,
M.D., and Jill Clark, Pa-C. In 16-cv-552, the defendants are Warden Elbel and Deputy Nunley.
In sum, the mere fact that both lawsuits arise from incidents which occurred while
Plaintiff was incarcerated at Jefferson County Jail and that Defendant Elbel was the warden at
the time the incidents allegedly occurred simply does not provide the basis for finding that
common issues of law or fact exist between the two cases. Therefore, Defendant’s motion to
consolidate will be denied.
An appropriate Order follows.
AND NOW, this 2nd day of January, 2018, it is hereby ORDERED that Defendant’s
Motion to Consolidate is DENIED.
BY THE COURT:
s/Cynthia Reed Eddy
United States Magistrate Judge
SHAWN LEE WHITENIGHT
182 Evansville Road
Berwick, PA 18603
(via U.S. First Class Mail)
All counsel of record, via ECF electronic notification
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?