United States District Court, D. Arizona
James W. Barnes, Plaintiff,
JT Shartle, et al., Defendants.
HONORABLE CINDY K. JORGENSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
James W. Barnes filed a Prisoner Civil Rights Complaint on
September 28, 2018 alleging three separate causes of action.
(Doc. 1). This Court screened that Complaint and dismissed
Count Two of the Complaint. (Doc. 6). Of the remaining
counts, Count One describes an allegedly dangerously high
dose of insulin administered to Plaintiff. (Doc. 1, pg. 5-6).
Count Three describes the confiscation of Plaintiff's
wheelchair and the alleged subsequent denial of mobility
assistance. Id. at 9-10.
March 18, 2019, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Expand the
Record. (Doc. 32). On March 19, 2019, Defendants filed a
Motion to Dismiss Count Three of Plaintiff's Complaint.
(Doc. 30). On that same day, Defendants also filed a Motion
for Extension of Time to File Answer. (Doc. 31). On April 11,
2019, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Leave to Traverse
Defendants [sic] Motion to Strike Plaintiff [sic] Motion to
Expand the Record. (Doc. 38). On April 19, 2019, Plaintiff
filed a Motion for Leave to Amend Complaint (Doc. 40), and a
Motion to Appoint Counsel (Doc. 41). On June 10, 2019,
Plaintiff filed a Motion for Leave to Expand the Record in
Support of Claim. (Doc. 43). The Court will address each
Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 30)
filed a Motion to Dismiss Count Three of Plaintiff's
Complaint Without Prejudice due to Misjoinder. (Doc. 30).
There, Defendants allege that Count One and Count Three of
Plaintiff's Complaint set forth two different types of
claims against two different sets of parties, violating
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 18(a) and 20(a). Furthermore,
Defendants seek to dismiss Defendants Ash, Bass, Combs, and
Parmley from the case without prejudice due to
Court's October 25, 2018 Screening Order, The Court
Liberally construed, Plaintiff has sufficiently stated an
Eighth Amendment medical care claim against Defendant
Schuller in Count One based on the allegation that she
knowingly gave Plaintiff a dangerous dose of insulin, and the
Court will require Defendant Schuller to answer this portion
of Count One. Liberally construed, Plaintiff has sufficiently
stated an Eighth Amendment medical care claim against
Defendants Parmale, Combs, Ash, and England in Count Three,
and the Court will require these Defendants to answer Count
(Doc. 6, pg. 14-15).
claim in Count One solely pertains to a dangerously high dose
of insulin allegedly administered to Plaintiff by Defendant
Schuler. Plaintiff's Claim in Count Three, however,
pertains to a wholly unrelated incident involving the
confiscation of Plaintiff's wheelchair and the alleged
denial of any mobility assistance equipment by Defendants
Ash, Bass, Combs, and Parmley. Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 18(a) permits unrelated claims against a singular
opposing party to be joined together in the same case.
Similarly, Rule 20(a) permits multiple defendants to be
joined in one action if: “(A) any right to relief is
asserted against them jointly, severally, or in the
alternative with respect to or arising out of the same
transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or
occurrences; and (B) any question of law or fact common to
all defendants will arise in the action.” In this case,
the claims alleged in Count One and Count Three are not
claims that are alleged against a singular opposing party.
Plaintiff's claim in Count One is alleged solely against
Defendant Schuler, whereas, Plaintiff's claim in Count
Three is alleged against Defendants Ash, Bass, Combs, and
Parmley. Therefore, those claims may not generally be brought
together pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 18(a).
Furthermore, the claims alleged in Count One do not arise out
of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of
transactions or occurrences as the claims alleged in Count
Three. The claims alleged in Count One relate solely to the
administration of an allegedly dangerously high dose of
insulin to Plaintiff, whereas the claims alleged in Count
Three relate solely to series of incidents where Plaintiff
was denied the use of mobility assistance equipment. Multiple
defendants may only be joined together in one action if the
claims alleged against them arise from the same transaction,
occurrence, or series of transactions. The claims alleged by
Plaintiff in Count One and Count Three are distinct and are
unsuitable for joinder.
“[i]f the test for permissive joinder is not satisfied,
a court, in its discretion, may sever the misjoined parties,
so long as no substantial right will be prejudiced by the
severance.” Coughlin v. Rogers, 130 F.3d 1348,
1350 (9th Cir. 1997). Plaintiff's claim in Count Three
arises from 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which “does not
contain a statute of limitations. Rather, federal courts
apply the forum state's personal injury statute of
limitations for section 1983 claims.” Fink v.
Shedler, 192 F.3d 911, 914 (9th Cir. 1999), as amended
on denial of reh'g and reh'g en banc (Dec. 13, 1999).
“In Arizona, the limitations period for personal injury
claims is two years.” Finkle v. Ryan, 174
F.Supp.3d 1174, 1186 (D. Ariz. 2016). That two-year clock
commences “within two years after the cause of action
accrues.” Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 12-542.
allege that “Plaintiff would suffer no unfair prejudice
if Count Three were severed for misjoinder. Plaintiff's
claims arising from incidents on April 26, 2017 and July 21,
2017 remain timely and may be refiled prior to April 26, 2019
and July 21, 2019, respectively.” (Doc. 30, pg. 7).
While Plaintiff may have been able to reassert his claims in
March 2019, when Defendants initially filed their Motion to
Dismiss, Plaintiff's claims in Count Three are now
untimely. Defendants allege that it would be prejudicial for
Defendant Schuler to have her claims tried alongside the
remaining defendants, and that it would be “potentially
confusing for a jury to hear expert testimony involving
wheelchairs and mobility when the sole claim against
Defendant Schuler involves a single insulin
administration.” (Doc. 30, pg. 7). However, if Count
Three is dismissed, Plaintiff would be time-barred from
re-raising those allegations. A severance of misjoined
parties is discretionary, and severance is only available
“so long as no substantial right will be prejudiced by
the severance.” Coughlin, 130 F.3d at 1350. In
this circumstance, the Court finds that a severance is
inappropriate and Defendants' Motion to Dismiss will be
denied without prejudice.
Court acknowledges that if this case proceeds through trial,
it may be necessary to sever the Plaintiff's claims in
order to mitigate any possible prejudice to Defendants and a
possible risk of confusing the jury. Therefore, Defendants
may reintroduce this request at a later date as necessary.
Motion for Extension of Time (Doc. 31)
request a fourteen (14) day extension of time to respond to
Plaintiff's Complaint until after the Court's
adjudication of the pending Motion to Dismiss and allege that
the Motion to Dismiss presents a threshold issue that will
determine the parties and claims in this litigation. The
Court finds that the ...