United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
J.C., individually, and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
NICHOLAS FORD, et al., Defendants. JASON COLLURA, Plaintiff,
NICHOLAS JAMES FORD, et al., Defendants.
Darnell Jones, II J.
above-captioned cases were reassigned to this Court from the
dockets of two different judges after a convoluted and
antagonistic history that has resulted in unnecessary cost
and delay. Regrettably, these cases must be randomly
reassigned again because I have identified a basis upon which
my “impartiality might reasonably be questioned”
in this matter, and because knowledge of that situation risks
“creat[ing] personal bias or prejudice concerning a
party.” 28 U.S.C. §§ 455(a), (b)(1).
Nevertheless, for the sake of judicial economy and fairness
to all parties, this Court issues this opinion, and
corresponding case management order, before recusal to keep
this matter on track towards a speedy resolution.
Memorandum and Order resolves the Honorable Gene E.K.
Pratter's May 17, 2017 Order to show cause as to why
these two related cases should not be consolidated (No.
13-4066, ECF No. 148; Case No. 15-4745; ECF No. 34),
Plaintiff's subsequent motion to sever (Case No. 15-4745;
ECF No. 42), and Defendants' pending motion to dismiss
certain outstanding claims (No. 15-cv-4745, ECF No. 3).
initial matter, civil actions may be docketed as related
under Local Rule 40.1 when one case “involves the same
issue of fact” or “grows out of the same
transaction” as another pending case. Local Rule
40.1(b)(3)(A); see also Montgomery v. Schering-Plough
Corp., No. 07-194, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12709, at *9
(E.D. Pa. Feb. 22, 2007) (finding that three cases were
related because they grew out of the same allegedly
fraudulent scheme even though “there [were] some
differences between the three actions”). Under Local
Rule 40.1, a court may sua sponte order cases to be
docketed as related. See, e.g., Wald v. 1 Fin.
Marketplace Sec., LLC, No. 09-1117, 2009 U.S. Dist.
LEXIS 105905, at *2 nn.2-3 (E.D. Pa. Nov. 6, 2009).
Rule 42(a)(2) also allows for consolidation of related cases
where the “actions before the court involve a common
question of law or fact.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 42(a)(2);
see e.g., Cottman Transmission Sys., Inc. v.
Metro Distrib., Inc., 796 F.Supp. 838, 845 (E.D. Pa.
1992) (granting motion to consolidate actions filed as
“related cases”), vacated on other grounds
sub nom. Cottman Transmission Sys., Inc. v. Martino, 36
F.3d 291 (3d Cir. 1994). Consolidation is often appropriate
in cases involving the same plaintiff, the same defendants,
and/or identical or similar claims arising out of the same
incident or a common set of facts. See, e.g., In re
Radian Sec. Litig., 612 F.Supp.2d 594, 597 n.1 (E.D. Pa.
2009) (noting consolidation of two separate cases against the
same defendants); Seidman v. Am. Mobile Sys., Inc.,
157 F.R.D. 354, 359 (E.D. Pa. 1994) (explaining that the
court had consolidated two related cases, filed by the same
plaintiff against different defendants, “to keep all
defendants on the same litigation track”);
Kenworthy v. Hargrove, 826 F.Supp. 138, 139 n.1
(E.D. Pa. 1993) (noting the consolidation of two section 1983
cases arising out of the same incident), aff'd,
855 F.Supp. 101 (E.D. Pa. 1994); Glaziers &
Glassworkers Union Local 252 Annuity Fund v. Newbridge Sec.,
Inc., 823 F.Supp. 1185, 1186 (E.D. Pa. 1992), on
reconsideration in part, 823 F.Supp. 1188 (E.D. Pa.
1993) (noting that court had consolidated several cases
involving different claims arising out of the same set of
facts into one lead case).
decision to consolidate is ultimately left up to the district
court's sound discretion. Burton v. Ozburn Hessey
Logistic, 615 Fed.Appx. 84, 87 (3d Cir. 2015) (affirming
the district court's decision to consolidate two cases
where the first action concerned plaintiff's
“application for worker's compensation” and
the other action involved her “termination from
The First Action
Jason Collura, proceeding pro se, commenced the
first action (No. 13-4066) on July 11, 2013, against eight
defendants for various allegedly wrongful acts arising out of
his time on probation in connection with a state criminal
conviction. No. 13-cv-4066, ECF No. 1. The clearest
articulation of Plaintiff's claims in that case is
summarized in the second paragraph of the complaint (the
This is a civil action authorized by 42 U.S.C § 1983,
First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, Fifth Amendment,
Fourteenth Amendment direct, Fourteenth Amendment under 1983,
all of the Federal Constitution, PA False Imprisonment,
Article I § 7, Article I § 1, Article I Section 8,
of the Pennsylvania Constitution, all equal protection
clauses of federal and state law, all due process clauses of
federal and state law, PA Malicious Prosecution and PA
Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress to redress
deprivations, under color of state law, of rights secured by
the Constitutions of the United States and of Pennsylvania.
Id. ¶ 2.
extensive motion practice, initiated primarily by Plaintiff,
Judge Pratter ruled that only the following claims remain:
“§ 1983 claims against Nicholas James Ford, Mary
Politano, Steffen Boyd, Steven Austin, Charles Hoyt, and
Robert [Malvestuto] . . . for alleged violation of
[Plaintiff's] due process, First Amendment, and Fourth
Amendment rights, as well as several incidental state law
claims.” No. 13-4066, ECF No. 67 at p. 1; see
also id. at pp. 25-44. Defendants filed an Answer, and
the parties attempted to engage in discovery with unclear
results. The last scheduling order indicates that the time
for discovery closed on August 28, 2015, and summary
judgement motions were due September 11, 2015. ECF No. 125.
No summary judgment motions have been filed since then. After
additional motion practice, the matter was reassigned to this
Court on July 11, 2017. ECF No. 155.