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Rush v. Sport Chalet, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

March 3, 2015

SANDI RUSH, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
SPORT CHALET, INC., DBA Sport Chalet No. 0038; FOOTHILL RANCH, LLC, Defendants-Appellees

Argued and Submitted, Pasadena, California: February 4, 2015.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California. D.C. No. 2:12-cv-04139-ODW-DTB. Otis D. Wright II, District Judge, Presiding.

SUMMARY[**]

Joinder

The panel reversed the district court's order dismissing three defendants after holding that they were improperly joined in an action under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The panel held that, as originally filed, two defendants were properly joined under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 20(a)(2) because they shared the common transaction or occurrence of a landlord-tenant relationship. The plaintiff settled with the tenant, but the plaintiff retained viable claims against the landlord. Accordingly, the panel reversed the district court's dismissal of the landlord defendant.

The panel held that the district court abused its discretion by dismissing rather than severing the plaintiff's complaint against two other defendants without evaluating the prejudice to the plaintiff. Following other circuits, the panel held that district courts that dismiss rather than sever must conduct a prejudice analysis, including loss of otherwise timely claims if new suits are blocked by statutes of limitations.

Scottlynn J. Hubbard, IV (argued), Law Offices of Lynn Hubbard, Chico, California; Anthony M. Bettencourt (argued), Disabled Advocacy Group, Chico, California, for Plaintiff-Appellant.

Henry A. Platt and Robert L. Duston, Saul Ewing LLP, Washington, D.C., for Defendant-Appellee Foothill Ranch.

Before: Stephen Reinhardt and Ronald M. Gould, Circuit Judges, and J. Frederick Motz, Senior District Judge.[*]

OPINION

Page 974

J. Frederick Motz, Senior District Judge:

Plaintiff Sandi Rush appeals the district court's sua sponte order that dismissed Defendants Petsmart, Inc.; Sport Chalet, Inc.; and Foothill Ranch, LLC (collectively " defendants" ) after holding that they were improperly joined. We reverse the district court's legal conclusion under Rule 20 as to Foothill Ranch. We also vacate its decision ...


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