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Wolfe v. Hobson

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division

November 26, 2018

KENNETH GEORGE WOLFE, Plaintiff,
v.
KIM HOBSON, RONALD LEROY YOUNG, NEIL J. MARTIN, WEXFORD HEALTH SOURCES, INC., MONICA GIBSON, SAMUEL J. BYRD, CORIZON MEDICAL INC., L.A. VANNATTA, ESTHER HINTON, TERESA LITTLEJOHN, Defendants. KENNETH GEORGE WOLFE, Plaintiff,
v.
JACKIE L. WEST-DENNING, RICHARD BROWN, WEXFORD OF INDIANA, LLC, THOMAS S. WELLINGTON, KIM HOBSON, KEVIN GILMORE, Defendants.

          ORDER CONSOLIDATING CASES

          Mark J. Dinsmore United States Judge

         On September 12, 2018, the Court issued Orders to Show Cause in Cause No. 2:16-cv-00471-JMS-MJD [Dkt. 183] and Cause No. 2:18-cv-00317-JMS-MJD [Dkt. 37] ordering the parties to “show cause why these actions should not be consolidated pursuant to Rule 42(a).” The Court has reviewed the parties' responses to the Orders to Show Cause and hereby CONSOLIDATES the two cases.

         I. Background

         A. Wolfe v. Commissioner, et al, No. 2:16-cv-00471-JMS-MJD

         On December 22, 2016, Plaintiff, an inmate at Wabash Valley Correctional Facility, filed his claims against Defendants Hobson, Young, Martin, Gibson, Corizon Medical Inc., Vannatta, Hinton, and Littlejohn. [Dkt. 1.] Defendants Wexford Heath Sources, Inc. and Byrd were added later in Plaintiff's Amended Complaint filed on August 18, 2017. [Dkt. 26; Dkt. 32.] Plaintiff asserted Defendants engaged in deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's medical needs including his Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), hiatal hernia, spinal issues and sciatica, and carpal tunnel syndrome. [Dkt. 32 at 2.] Additionally, Plaintiff alleges he was denied a necessary wheelchair. [Dkt. 32 at 2.] Pursuant to Local Rule 87, Orders of Recruitment of Counsel were issued on July 17, 2018 [Dkt. 170] and September 5, 2018 [Dkt. 179] appointing Attorneys Bradley Dick and Sarah Thompson Parks to represent the Plaintiff until the case reaches final judgment.

         In response to the Court's Order to Show Cause regarding consolidation of the Plaintiff's 2016 case with a second case filed by the Plaintiff, Wolfe v. West-Denning, et al, Cause No. 2:18-cv-00317-JMS-MJD, the Plaintiff made no objection. [Dkt. 190 at 1.] However, the “Plaintiff notes that the denial of a wheelchair is but one allegation regarding Eighth Amendment violations, and Plaintiff desires to preserve his right to litigate his other allegations if these causes are consolidated.” [Dkt. 190 at 1.] State Defendants VanNatta, Gibson, Hinton, and Littlejohn also raised no opposition to case consolidation but requested an opportunity for the parties to amend the pleadings to note the consolidation. [Dkt. 190 at 1.] Defendants Byrd and Wexford of Indiana, LLC raised the following issues regarding case consolidation in their Response: 1) different Defendants exist in each case; 2) discrepancies or differences exist between the cases; and 3) consolidation would create issues concerning discovery as the cases are in different stages of the litigation. [Dkt. 188 at 2-3.] Should the Court consolidate the cases, these Defendants, Byrd and Wexford of Indiana, LLC, ask the Court to “require the Plaintiff's counsel to file an amended complaint.” [Dkt. 188 at 3.]

         B. Wolfe v. West-Denning, et al, No. 2:18-cv-00317-JMS-MJD

          On July 13, 2018, Plaintiff, an inmate at Wabash Valley Correctional Facility, filed his claims pro se, against Defendants West-Denning, Brown, Wellington, Hobson, and Gilmore. [Dkt. 2.] Plaintiff asserted Defendants confiscated his wheelchair leaving him “unable to walk to the dining room[, ]” forcing him “to go without three meals a day on some occasions, ” and unable to receive medication. [Dkt. 11 at 3.] Plaintiff also claims Defendants' actions “were taken in retaliation for his filing of another action [No. 2:16-cv-00471-JMS-MJD] in this Court.” [Dkt. 11 at 3.] Plaintiff “acknowledges that he has similar claims” in this previous proceeding but has sued a number of different Defendants in his more recent case. [Dkt. 11 at 3.]

         In response to the Court's Order to Show Cause regarding consolidation of the cases, the Plaintiff made no objection. [Dkt. 38 at 1.] Plaintiff stated in his Response that “there is much more involved in both cases than the use of a wheelchair . . . and Plaintiff does not want that single issue to be the only issue decided.” [Dkt. 38 at 1.] State Defendants Brown, Gilmore, and Wellington also raised no opposition to case consolidation but requested an opportunity for the parties to amend the pleadings to note the consolidation. [Dkt. 40 at 1.] Defendants West-Denning and Hobson raised the following issues regarding case consolidation in their Response: 1) different Defendants exist in each case; 2) discrepancies or differences exist between the cases; and 3) consolidation would create issues concerning discovery as the cases are in different stages of the litigation. [Dkt. 39 at 2-3.] Should the Court consolidate the cases, these Defendants, West-Denning and Hobson, ask the Court to “require the Plaintiff's counsel to file an amended complaint.” [Dkt. 39 at 3.]

         II. Legal Standard

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 42(a) governs the Court's ability to order the consolidation of cases. “If actions before the court involve a common question of law or fact, the court may: (1) join for hearing or trial any or all matters at issue in the actions; (2) consolidate the actions; or (3) issue any other orders to avoid unnecessary cost or delay.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 42(a). “The trial court may order consolidation on its own initiative” absent motions from the parties. 9A Fed. Prac. & Proc. Civ. § 2383 (3d. ed.).

         Consolidation itself serves “[t]he primary purpose . . . to promote convenience and judicial economy.” Miller v. Wolpoff & Ambramson, LLP, No. 1:06-CV-207-TS, 2007 WL 2473431, at *2 (N.D. Ind. Aug. 28, 2007). This Court's workload dictates that every effort must be made to ensure the speedy and efficient administration of justice.[1] Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 42 operates as a “‘managerial device [that] makes possible the streamlined processing of groups of cases, often obviating the need for multiple lawsuits and trials.'” Miller, 2007 WL 2473431, at *2 (quoting 8 James W. Moore et al., Moore's Federal Practice § 42.10, at 42-8 (3rd ed. 2005)). “District courts enjoy substantial discretion in deciding whether and to what extent to consolidate cases.” Hall v. Hall, 138 S.Ct. 1118, 1131 (2018). In turn, a district court's decision to consolidate cases is subject to review “only for an abuse of discretion.” Star Ins. Co. v. Risk Marketing Group, Inc., 561 F.3d 656, 660 (7th Cir. 2009).

         III. Discussion

         In its discussion the Court jointly addresses the identical arguments raised by Defendants Byrd, Wexford of Indiana, LLC [Dkt. 188], West-Denning, and Hobson [Dkt. ...


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