IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
April 20, 2011
BERNARD R. MARONEY PLAINTIFF,
CSX TRANSPORTATION, INC., DEFENDANT.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Frazier, Magistrate Judge:
Before the Court are defendant's motions to dismiss or in the alternative to consolidate or stay (Doc. Nos. 7 and 22 in Case No. 10-961). Defendant argues that the new litigation represents a duplication of litigation regarding injuries resulting from cumulative trauma (Count 2 in Case No. 09-324) for which judgment was awarded to the defense under Rule 56. The motion is opposed on the basis that the ailments underlying the two claims are distinct (Doc. Nos. 25, 26).
District Court have discretion to dismiss inefficient duplicative litigation. Serlin v. Arthur Anderson & Co., 3 F.3d 221, 223 (7th Cir. 1993). The Court has evaluated the allegations made in both lawsuits. Because federal pleading rules require only a short statement of the claim for relief, the pleadings are not particularly helpful. The Court has therefore considered the specific evidence presented during the Rule 56 proceedings. The claim for relief based on repetitive trauma injuries to plaintiff's hands and wrists that were known to plaintiff when he filed Case No. 09-324-PMF have been resolved in favor of the defense and will not be relitigated. Those injuries include pain, muscle contracture and other symptoms caused by Dupuytren's disease and CMC arthritis. Because plaintiff specifically alleges that he did not discover the existence of another ailment -- bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome -- until results of EMG studies were reviewed in October, 2010, the Court will grant the motions in part. Plaintiff may pursue his repetitive trauma claim to the extent it is based on the symptoms that can be attributed to the recently discovered ailment.
To the extent defendant seeks consolidation or stay, those requests are moot in light of other proceedings. These two cases have been consolidated and the date for trial has been rescheduled.
In sum, defendant's motions to dismiss (Doc. Nos. 7, 22) are GRANTED in part, DENIED in part, and MOOT in part. To the extent plaintiff is seeking to recover for symptoms relating to his Dupuytren's disease and CMC arthritis, the claim duplicates Count 2 and is DISMISSED. Plaintiff may proceed on his repetitive trauma claim only to the extent that his symptoms relate to his recently-discovered carpal tunnel syndrome.
PHILIP M. FRAZIER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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