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Quezada v. Fischer

United States District Court, N.D. New York

March 31, 2014

JOSE QUEZADA, Plaintiff,
v.
BRIAN FISCHER, et al., Defendants.

JOSE QUEZADA 04-A-3690 Plaintiff, pro se Five Points Correctional Facility Romulus, New York.

DECISION and ORDER

MAE A. D'AGOSTINO, District Judge.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Jose Quezada commenced this pro se action in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York ("Southern District") on May 7, 2013, by filing a complaint and application to proceed in forma pauperis . Dkt. No. 1 ("IFP Application"), Dkt. No. 3. The complaint alleged that Defendants violated Plaintiff's constitutional and statutory rights at Green Haven Correctional Facility ("Green Haven C.F."), Shawangunk Correctional Facility ("Shawangunk C. F."), Upstate Correctional Facility ("Upstate C.F."), and Clinton Correctional Facility ("Clinton C.F."). See generally Dkt. No. 3. By Order filed May 31, 2013, United States District Judge Loretta A. Preska of the Southern District granted Plaintiff's IFP Application. Dkt. No. 7.

On June 28, 2013, after initial screening of the complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) and 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, United States District Judge Colleen McMahon of the Southern District accepted the complaint for filing, and directed the Clerk of the Southern District to issue summonses for service upon Defendants. Dkt. No. 13. Judge McMahon noted that the complaint included three John/Jane Doe defendants and therefore directed the New York State Attorney General, as the attorney for the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision ("DOCCS"), to assist Plaintiff in identifying the Doe Defendants. Id. at 2. Plaintiff was directed to file an amended complaint within thirty days of receiving the identities of the Doe Defendants from the Attorney General. Id. Also on August 28, 2013, District Judge McMahon issued an Order to Show Cause wherein she noted that "in the interest of justice, ' the Court is inclined to transfer at least part of this action to the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a)" because although some of the claims arose at Green Haven C.F. in the Southern District, other claims arose at Shawangunk C.F., Clinton C.F., and Upstate C.F. in the Northern District. Dkt. No. 12 (the "June 28, 2013 Order to Show Cause") at 2. Judge McMahon directed Plaintiff "to serve a copy of [the June 28, 2013 Order to Show Cause] on each identified Defendant with the summons and complaint" and stated that "[i]f no party responds to [the June 28, 2013 Order to Show Cause] within thirty days after service of the summons and complaint upon at least one Defendant, [Judge McMahon would] transfer at least part of this action" to the Northern District. Id. However, before any Defendant responded to the June 28, 2013 Order to Show Cause, Judge McMahon issued an endorsed Order on July 22, 2013, stating:

[t]his case has been filed in the wrong district. Plaintiff complains of prison conditions at Clinton Correctional Facility, which is located in the Northern District of New York. Rather than wait for the inevitable motion to be filed, I hereby transfer this case to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York where it should have been filed.

Dkt. No. 15 (the "Southern District Transfer Order"). This action was transferred to this District on July 29, 2013. Dkt. No. 18.

II. Post-Transfer Events

After this action was transferred from the Southern District to the Northern District, Plaintiff filed a motion for reconsideration of the Southern District Transfer Order in this District. Dkt. No. 20. However, simultaneously, Plaintiff also appealed the Southern District Transfer Order to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Dkt. No. 21. By Mandate issued on January 10, 2014, the Second Circuit dismissed Plaintiff's appeal of the Southern District Transfer Order, stating that "it lack[ed] jurisdiction over th[e] appeal because a final order has not been issued by the district court as contemplated by 28 U.S.C. § 1291." Dkt. No. 32. While his appeal was pending, Plaintiff also filed an amended complaint. Dkt. No. 26. The amended complaint is virtually identical to the original complaint, which had survived sua sponte review in the Southern District, except that the amended complaint identifies by name the three "Doe" Defendants included in the original complaint. Compare Dkt. No. 3 with Dkt. No. 26.

Currently pending before the Court are Plaintiff's motion for reconsideration (Dkt. No. 20) of the Southern District Transfer Order, amended complaint (Dkt. No. 26), motion for preliminary injunctive relief (Dkt. No. 27); supplemental motion for reconsideration of the Southern District Transfer Order (Dkt. No. 30); and motion to amend (Dkt. No. 37).

III. DISCUSSION

A. Motion and Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration

Before addressing the merits of Plaintiff's motion, the Court considers it appropriate to note that the motion is properly before this Court, notwithstanding the fact that the underlying decision was not issued by the undersigned. As aptly explained by the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit:

The authority of a district judge to reconsider a previous ruling in the same litigation, whether a ruling made by him or by a district judge previously presiding in the case, including (because the case has been transferred) a judge of a different court, is governed by the doctrine of the law of the case, which authorizes such reconsideration if there is a compelling reason, such as a change in, or clarification of, law that makes clear that the earlier ruling was erroneous. Agostini v. Felton, 521 U.S. 203, 236, 117 S.Ct. 1997, 138 L.Ed.2d 391 (1997); Christianson v. Colt Industries Operating Corp. , 486 U.S. 800, 816-17, 108 S.Ct. 2166, 100 L.Ed.2d 811 (1988); Brengettcy v. Horton, 423 F.3d 674, 680 (7th Cir. 2005); Williams v. Commissioner, 1 F.3d 502, 503 (7th Cir. 1993); McMasters v. United States, 260 F.3d 814, 818 (7th Cir. 2001). Not to reconsider in such circumstances would condemn the parties to the ...

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