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Hughes v. J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, N.A.

United States District Court, D. Maryland

November 2, 2016

PATRICK J. HUGHES Plaintiff,
v.
J.P. MORGAN CHASE BANK, N.A., et al., Defendants. and PATRICK J. HUGHES Plaintiff,
v.
J.P. MORGAN CHASE BANK, N.A., et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM ORDER

          RICHARD D. BENNETT, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Currently pending in these related contract actions filed by pro se plaintiff Patrick J. Hughes (“Hughes” or “Plaintiff”) against defendants J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., and DOES I through X (collectively “Defendants”) are several motions, including plaintiff's Motion to Consolidate Cases (RDB-16-806, ECF No. 17). Defendants have filed a Limited Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Consolidate. (RDB-16-806, ECF No. 20.) The parties' submissions have been reviewed, and no hearing is necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2014). For the reasons that follow, Civil Action No. RDB-16-806 and Civil Action No. RDB-16-2311 shall be consolidated, and this case shall proceed as set forth below.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Motion to Consolidate

         Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 42(a), actions before the court may be consolidated when they “involve a common question of law or fact.” “District courts have broad discretion under F[ed]. R. Civ. P. 42(a) to consolidate causes pending in the same district.” A/S J. Ludwig Mowinckles Rederi v. Tidewater Const. Co., 559 F.2d 928, 933 (4th Cir. 1977). Here, Civil Action No. RDB-16-806 and Civil Action No. RDB-16-2311 involve the same plaintiff, at least one common defendant, and arise from the same underlying transaction: the settlement agreement between plaintiff and defendant Chase. See RDB-16-806, ECF No. 1, RDB-16-2311, ECF No. 2. As these cases involve common questions of law and fact, they will be consolidated.[1] Accordingly, plaintiff's Motion to Consolidate (RDB-16-806, ECF No. 17) is GRANTED.

         II. Pending Motions to Dismiss

         There are also two Motions to Dismiss pending in this case. (RDB-16-806, ECF No. 5; RDB-16-2311, ECF No. 11.) These motions will be resolved jointly subsequent to consolidation of the two cases.

         The Clerk of Court is directed to docket the Motion (ECF No. 5), Response in Opposition (ECF No. 10), and Reply (ECF No. 13) from Civil Action No. RDB-16-806 in the consolidated RDB-16-2311 case, where the Motion will remain pending.[2]

         III. The Parties' Settlement Agreement

         It is apparent from their filings that the parties entered into a Settlement Agreement in January 2016. See RDB-16-806, ECF No. 5-2; RDB-16-2311, ECF No. 2-1. However, the nature, scope, and terms of the Settlement Agreement remain undisclosed to the Court.

         To aid the Court's resolution of the pending Motions to Dismiss-which, it appears, may hinge on the terms of the Settlement Agreement-the parties are directed to file a complete, unredacted copy of the Settlement Agreement with the Court. To preserve the confidentiality of the agreement, the filing shall be made under seal.

         To expedite this filing, counsel for defendants shall file a complete, unredacted copy of the Settlement Agreement under seal via CM/ECF no later 5:00 p.m. on Friday, November 4, 2016. In addition, counsel for defendants shall provide a copy of this submission to plaintiff.

         CONCLUSION

         For the reasons stated above, it is ...


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