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Cormican v. Allen

United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Statesboro Division

March 7, 2019

JAMES E. CORMICAN, Plaintiff,
v.
MARTY C. ALLEN, Defendant. JAMES CORMICAN, Plaintiff,
v.
INVESTIGATION TEAM, Georgia State Prison, Defendant.

          ORDER

          R. STAN BAKER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         These matters are before the Court on Plaintiff's 42 U.S.C. § 1983 Complaints in the above-captioned cases. (Doc. 1; Doc. 1.)[1] For the reasons which follow, the Court DIRECTS the Clerk of Court to: FILE all pleadings in Case Number 6:18-cv-75 upon the record and docket of Case Number 6:18-cv-61; CONSOLIDATE Case Number 6:18-cv-75 into Case Number 6:18-cv-61; ADD “Investigation Team, Georgia State Prison” as a named Defendant upon the record and docket of Case Number 6:18-cv-61; and CLOSE Case Number 6:18-cv-75 and enter the appropriate judgment of dismissal. The Court DENIES as moot Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis in Case Number 6:18-cv-75. (Doc. 2.)

         BACKGROUND

         On June 6, 2018, Plaintiff's Complaint was filed in Case Number 6:18-cv-61. (Doc. 1, p. 5.) In that Complaint, he alleges he began complaining to Defendant Allen in December 2017 about terroristic threats, extortion, and drug sales occurring in Georgia State Prison. (Id.) Plaintiff contends other inmates have attacked him twice and threatened his family. Plaintiff states nothing other than a brief investigation was done in response to his complaints. (Id.) The Court granted Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis. (Docs. 2, 4.)

         In his Complaint in Case Number 6:18-cv-75, which was filed on July 9, 2018, Plaintiff avers he wrote several letters to the investigation team at Georgia State Prison regarding attacks on his person, threats to his and his family's lives, and drug sales occurring in the cell block. (Doc. 1 at 5.) Plaintiff asserts, other than a minor investigation, nothing was done about his complaints. (Id.)

         DISCUSSION

         The Court notes a district court has authority to consolidate multiple actions if they “involve a common question of law or fact.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 42(a). Consolidation under Rule 42(a) “is permissive and vests a purely discretionary power in the district court.” Young v. City of Augusta, 59 F.3d 1160, 1168 (11th Cir. 1995) (internal quotes omitted). “District courts in this circuit have been urged to make good use of Rule 42(a) . . . in order to expedite the trial and eliminate unnecessary repetition and confusion.” Young, 59 F.3d at 1169 (internal quotes omitted). The decision of whether to consolidate “is entirely within the discretion of the district court as it seeks to promote the administration of justice.” Gentry v. Smith, 487 F.2d 571, 581 (5th Cir. 1973); see also Devlin v. Transp. Commc'ns Int'l Union, 175 F.3d 121, 130 (2d Cir. 1999) (courts can sua sponte consolidate cases under Rule 42(a)).

         In exercising that discretion, district courts must weigh the risk of prejudice and confusion wrought by consolidation against the risk of inconsistent rulings on common factual and legal questions; the burden on the parties and the court posed by multiple lawsuits as opposed to one; the length of time required to conclude multiple lawsuits as opposed to one; and the relative expense of proceeding with separate lawsuits if they are not consolidated. Hendrix v. Raybestos-Manhattan, Inc., 776 F.2d 1492, 1495 (11th Cir. 1985).

         Plaintiff's filings contain essentially the same facts and identical legal claims. At the core of his claims, Plaintiff contends he reported illegal activity to officials at Georgia State Prison, he was attacked, other inmates threatened him and his family, and officials did nothing other than conduct a brief investigation in response to his complaints. In addition, Plaintiff seeks monetary damages and his release from state custody so he can testify on the State's behalf. (Doc. 1, p. 6; Doc. 1, p. 6.) Given this congruence, the benefits of consolidation far outweigh any prejudice to the parties. For example, consolidation of Plaintiff's filings will promote judicial economy and help the parties avoid piecemeal litigation resulting from more than one cause of action.

         CONCLUSION

         For the reasons set forth above, the Court DIRECTS the Clerk of Court to: FILE all pleadings in Case Number 6:18-cv-75 upon the record and docket of Case Number 6:18-cv-61; CONSOLIDATE Case Number 6:18-cv-75 into Case Number 6:18-cv-61; ADD “Investigation Team, Georgia State Prison” as a named Defendant upon the record and docket of Case Number 6:18-cv-61; and CLOSE Case Number 6:18-cv-75 and enter the appropriate judgment of dismissal. The Court DENIES as moot Plaintiffs Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis in Case Number 6:18-cv-75, (doc. 2), as the Court has already granted him such status.

         SO ORDERED.

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