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Butler v. Raugh

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

August 7, 2019

AMELIA BUTLER, Plaintiff,
v.
SI HO RAUGH, Defendant. AMELIA BUTLER, Plaintiff,
v.
MS. CANTY-BASHAM, Defendant.

          ORDER CONSOLIDATING ACTIONS

          RICARDO S. MARTINEZ, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court sua sponte on its prior orders to show cause why these cases should not be consolidated. Butler v. Raugh, No. C19-964RSM, Dkt. #19 (W.D. Wash.) (“Butler v. Raugh”); Butler v. Canty-Basham, No. C19-965RSM, Dkt. #20 (W.D. Wash.) (“Butler v. Canty-Basham”).[1] In addition, various motions are pending in the two actions. Finding that consolidation is appropriate and wanting to provide the parties clear guidance going forward, the Court orders consolidation and resolves the pending motions as specified herein.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Underlying Facts and Claims

         As best the Court can tell, this case appears to arise out of Butler's visit to a hair salon. Butler received a hair treatment that she maintains resulted in chemical burns to her scalp. She initiated this action against the hair stylist (Defendant Raugh) and the manager (Defendant Canty-Basham). Butler seems to allege that the hair stylist was negligent, that the salon violated Washington State sanitary standards for cosmetologist, violated state laws related to professional conduct, and engaged in dishonesty. Butler claims that Defendants interfered with investigations of the incident and engaged in a cover up. Under a heading of “Jurisdiction, ” Butler lists her claims as: “Libel, Slander, King County jurisdictions, Fraud, defamation of character, intentional infliction of harm, emotional distress, and the Damages of $3million.” Butler v. Raugh, Dkt. #7 at 1; Butler v. Canty-Basham, Dkt. #7 at 1.

         B. Procedural History of Butler v. Raugh, C19-964RSM

          Butler v. Raugh was originally assigned to the Undersigned and Butler was granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP”). Dkt. #5. Prior to issuing summonses, and upon reviewing Butler's amended complaint, the Court determined that the complaint suffered from several deficiencies that warranted dismissal. Dkt. #8. These deficiencies included, specifically, that Butler failed to establish that this Court has subject matter jurisdiction to hear the case-either federal question jurisdiction or diversity jurisdiction. Id. at 2-3. The Court granted Butler leave to file an amended complaint, within 21 days, remedying the identified deficiencies. Id. at 4.

         Butler subsequently sought an extension of time, until October 15, 2019, to file an amended complaint. Dkt. #14. Butler indicated that she needed additional time to seek legal advice and amend the complaint. Id. Defendant Raugh opposed this motion on the basis that Butler would be unable to file a sufficient complaint even with additional time. Dkt. #16. Butler's motion was noted for consideration on July 26, 2019 and is ripe for consideration.

         Following the Court's Order to Show Cause why these cases should not be consolidated, Butler filed a “Motion for clarification for the court and approval of third complaint.” Dkt. #23. Butler again sought an extension such that she be required to file any amended complaint no sooner than October 15, 2019. Id. This motion is noted for the Court's consideration on August 16, 2019 and Defendant Raugh has not responded.

         Lastly, Butler has filed a “Notice and Conflict of interest and Motion to remove” defense counsel. Dkt. #24. This motion is noted for the Court's consideration on August 16, 2019 and Defendant Raugh has not responded.

         C. Procedural History of Butler v. Canty-Basham, C19-965RSM

         Butler v. Canty-Basham was originally assigned to the Honorable John C. Coughenour, United States District Court Judge, and Butler was granted leave to proceed IFP. Dkt. #6. Butler filed a motion requesting that the Court issue summonses. Dkt. #5. That motion was noted for the Court's consideration on July 12, 2019 and remains pending. Id. After this case was reassigned to the Undersigned, the Court entered an Order to Show Cause why this action should not be consolidated with Butler v. Raugh. Dkt. #17. In response, Butler filed a “Motion for both cases if Consolidated to retain their independent character and Response to judge's order to show cause.” Dkt. #20. This motion, which will be discussed substantively below, was noted for the Court's consideration on July 31, 2019. Id.

         A preliminary review of the Complaint in Butler v. Canty-Basham makes clear that it suffers from many of the same deficiencies identified by the Court in Butler v. Raugh. Perhaps recognizing the deficiencies, Butler has filed a “Motion to Amend complaint.” Dkt. #22. This motion is noted for the Court's consideration on August 16, 2019 and Defendant Canty-Basham has not responded.

         Lastly, Butler has also filed a “Notice and Conflict of interest and Motion to remove” defense counsel in Butler v. Canty-Basham. Dkt. #21. This motion is substantively identical to the motion filed in Butler v. Raugh, is noted for the Court's ...


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