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Hunter v. State

United States District Court, D. Idaho

August 28, 2019

WYLIE G. HUNTER, Plaintiff,
v.
STATE OF IDAHO, et al, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

          DAVID C. NYE CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Pending before the Court is Defendant Barry McHugh's Motion to Consolidate. Dkt. 31. In the instant Motion, McHugh moves for the consolidation of the instant case with a related case-No. 1:19-cv-00227-BLW-currently pending before Judge B. Lynn Winmill.

         Having reviewed the record and briefs, the Court finds that the facts and legal arguments are adequately presented. Accordingly, in the interest of avoiding further delay, and because the Court finds that the decisional process would not be significantly aided by oral argument, the Court will decide the Motions without oral argument. Dist. Idaho Loc. Civ. R. 7.1(d)(1)(B). For the reasons set forth below, the Court GRANTS the Motion.

         II. BACKGROUND

         On April 5, 2019, Hunter filed the instant case ("Case 113"). Dkt. 1. Broadly speaking, Hunter alleges that Defendants violated Ms rights during Ms Idaho state court criminal proceedings. See generally Case 113, Dkts. 1, 4. In early May, Defendants filed motions to dismiss. Case 113, Dkts. 12, 13. On May 23, 2019, Hunter filed a motion seeking additional time to respond to the pending motions. Case 113, Dkt. 21. As part of his Motion, Hunter indicated that he would be filing a separate federal lawsuit "to challenge my underlying conviction ... and name[] additional defendants." Case 113, Dkt. 21, at 2. On June 5, 2019, the Court granted Hunter's request for more time, set new briefing deadlines, and took no position on his comments about filing a new case. Case 113, Dkt. 24.

         On June 20, 2019, Hunter filed a second federal lawsuit-No. 1:19-cv-00227 ("Case 227"). Case 227 was assigned to Judge Winmill upon filing. In accordance with his prior representations, Hunter's second case-Case 227-focuses on his underlying conviction and names additional defendants. Case 227, Dkts. 1, 4. Shortly thereafter, one of the new defendants filed a motion to dismiss. Case 227, Dkt. 12.

         Meanwhile, in Case 113, McHugh filed his Motion to Consolidate on July 16, 2019, alleging that the newly filed case-Case 227-should be joined with that case as both cases stem from the same underlying facts and circumstances and consolidating the two cases would promote judicial economy and limit confusion. Case 113, Dkt. 31.

         On July 23, 2019, the State Defendants in Case 227 filed a similar Motion to Consolidate. Case 227, Dkt. 14. Other defendants joined the request. Case 227, Dkt. 16. Simultaneously, State Defendants filed a Motion to Stay Case 227 pending this Court's resolution of the earlier motion in Case 113. Case 227, Dkt. 15. Judge Winmill granted the Motion to Stay, finding that "this case [Case 227] will be stayed pending United States District Judge David C. Nye's determination of the Motion to Consolidate Cases in No. 1:19-CV-00113-DCN." Case 227, Dkt. 17. Further, Judge Winmill vacated all deadlines and pending motions in Case 227. Id.[1]

         Hunter recently filed a Motion for Judicial Disqualification in Case 227[2] Case 227, Dkt. 23. He also filed opposition to the various consolidation motions. Case 113, Dkt. 33.

         III. LEGAL STANDARD

         Rule 42(a) authorizes a district court to consolidate cases that share "a common question of law or fact." Fed.R.Civ.P. 42(a). The Court has broad discretion to order consolidation, and in exercising that discretion should "weigh[] the saving of time and effort consolidation would produce against any inconvenience, delay or expenses that it would cause." Huene v. United States, 743 F.2d 703, 704 (9th Cir. 1984).

         IV. ANALYSIS

         The various Defendants' Motions to Consolidate outline the underlying basis of each case, how they are interrelated (both legally and factually), and emphasize that consolidation will conserve resources ...


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