United States District Court, D. Idaho
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
Lynn Winmill, U.S. District Court Judge.
before the Court are the following motions: Plaintiff's
Motion to Vacate Magistrate's Orders and Motion to Grant
Leave to File Amended Complaint (Dkt. 57), Plaintiff's
Motion for Leave to File Additional Motions (Dkt. 72),
Plaintiff's Motion to Appoint Counsel (Dkt. 73), and
Defendants' Motions to Strike (Dkts. 67, 68). For the
reasons described below, the Court will grant Plaintiff's
Motion to Grant Leave to File Amended Complaint, will grant
in part and deny in part Plaintiff's Motion to Vacate
Magistrate's Orders, will deny Plaintiff's Motion to
Appoint Counsel, and will deny as moot Plaintiff's Motion
for Leave to File Additional Motions and Defendants'
Motions to Strike.
Barry Searcy is a prisoner in the custody of the Idaho
Department of Correction proceeding pro se and in forma
pauperis in this civil rights action. On November 12, 2015,
Plaintiff filed a Complaint alleging that Defendants Scott
Walden, Jennifer Pantner, Idaho Correctional Industries, and
several un-named persons, Does 1-10, had violated various
Idaho state laws, and violated his rights under the First
Amendment. Dkt. 3 at 15-23.
Plaintiff filed this action, it was initially assigned to the
Honorable Candy W. Dale, United States Magistrate Judge in
accordance with this Court's then-applicable case
assignment procedures. Judge Dale screened the Complaint
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915 and 1915A and issued
an Initial Review Order (“IRO”) on March 15,
2016. Dkt. 8. Judge Dale's IRO allowed Plaintiff to
proceed on the First Amendment retaliation claim against
Defendants Pantner and Walden, but dismissed Plaintiff's
three state-law claims, and dismissed Defendant Idaho
Correctional Industries as a defendant. Dkt. 8, 8-10. Judge
Dale also issued a Scheduling Order on June 8, 2016, which
set deadlines for discovery, amendment of pleadings, joinder
of parties, and dispositive motions. Dkt. 15.
chose not to amend his complaint in the time allotted by the
Scheduling Order, and the parties proceeded through
discovery. Defendants filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on
January 4, 2017, which was denied without prejudice on August
29, 2017, with supplemental briefing invited by the Court.
Dkt. 42. Defendants filed their Second Motion for Summary
Judgment on October 10, 2017, and this case was reassigned
shortly thereafter to Chief Judge B. Lynn Winmill.
April 26, 2018, nearly two and a half years into the case,
Plaintiff made the first request for leave to file an amended
complaint. Dkt. 57. Plaintiff then filed several motions,
including a declaration with new evidence on September 28,
2018. Dkts. 72-76. To resolve Plaintiff's flurry of
motions and decide how to handle the newly-discovered
evidence, the Court denied Defendants' Second Motion for
Summary Judgment without prejudice. Dkt. 77. The Court
invited the Parties to submit proposed case management plans,
which the Court now considers in deciding the outstanding
motions and altering the case schedule per the Order below.
Plaintiff's Motion to Vacate the Magistrate Judge's
Motion, and again in his Brief Regarding a Case Management
Plan, Plaintiff asks the Court to vacate Magistrate Judge
Dale's prior orders in this case (i.e. the Initial Review
Order and Scheduling Order). Defendants Pantner and Walden
did not oppose Plaintiff's Motion to Vacate either in
their initial Response to Plaintiff's Motion or in their
Brief Regarding Case Management, instead “defer[ring]
to the Court to take action as required by
Williams.” Dkts. 58, 88. Because Plaintiff,
the only party who had appeared in this action at the time
Judge Dale issued the IRO, had consented to magistrate judge
jurisdiction, the IRO-which allowed Plaintiff to proceed on
his retaliation claims against Defendants Pantner and Walden,
but not on any other claim- was appropriate under this
Court's then-existing precedent. See Kelly v.
Rolland, No. 1:16-CV-00149-CWD, 2016 WL 3349222, at *1
n.1 (D. Idaho June 14, 2016) (citing United States v.
Real Property, 135 F.3d 1312, 1316 (9th Cir. 1998).
the pendency of this case, however, the Ninth Circuit decided
Williams v. King, which held that magistrate judges
lack the authority to dispose of claims if an unserved party
does not consent to magistrate judge jurisdiction. 875 F.3d
500, 503 (9th Cir. 2017). As Plaintiff points out, no
Defendant had consented to Magistrate Judge Dale's
jurisdiction prior to the issuance of the IRO, and one
Defendant - ICI - never gave its consent. Dkt 57-5 at 3-4.
Pursuant to the rule in Williams, therefore, and
without objection from Defendants, the Court will vacate the
IRO (Dkt. 8) because not all parties to the case had
consented to magistrate judge jurisdiction.
Court will not, however, vacate Magistrate Judge Dale's
other orders in this case. Dkts. 15, 37. While the Ninth
Circuit in Williams held that a magistrate judge
cannot dispose of claims without consent of all parties, it
did not divest the magistrate judges of their important
ability to handle discovery and set deadlines for the Court.
See Williams 875 F.3d at 503; see also 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A) (“Notwithstanding any
provision of law to the contrary…a judge may designate
a magistrate judge to hear and determine any pretrial matter
pending before the court….”). Magistrate Judge
Dale's Scheduling Order disposed of just such pretrial
matters, and the Court will not disturb them, or extend the
holding of Williams into new ground to do so.
Plaintiff's Motion to Grant Leave to File ...