United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma
OPINION AND ORDER
GREYGORY K. FRIZELL UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT CHIEF JUDGE.
the court is the Motion to Dismiss [Doc. No. 14] of defendant
the United States. For the reasons set forth below, the
motion is granted.
7, 2016, plaintiff Zachary Ryan Gillman
(“Gillman”) filed a complaint in this court
seeking judicial review of the denial of his Federal Tort
Claims Act (“FTCA”), 28 U.S.C. § 2671,
et seq., claim by the Department of Veteran's
Affairs (“VA”). [Doc. No. 1]. Specifically, Mr.
Gillman's suit concerns “multiple sets of fake
and[/]or falsified mental health information in [his]
personal Veteran[']s Affairs medical file.” [Doc.
No. 1, p. 3]. On February 24, 2015, the United States moved
to dismiss, citing, among other things, the first to file
rule. [Doc. No. 14, pp. 1-3]. Gillman's response was
initially due March 17, 2017. Receiving nothing, the court
extended Gillman's time to respond to April 3, 2017,
pursuant to N.D. Okla. Civ. R. 7.2(f). No response has been
‘first-to-file' rule permits a district court to
decline jurisdiction where a complaint raising the same
issues against the same parties has previously been filed in
another district court.” See Buzas Baseball, Inc.
v. Bd. of Regents of Univ. Syst. Of Ga., 189 F.3d 477');">189 F.3d 477
(Table) (10th Cir. 1999) (unpublished). That rule “is
grounded in the concepts of comity among federal courts and
sound judicial administration.” See Chieftain
Royalty Co. v. XTO Energy, Inc., No. CIV-11-29-FHS, 2011
WL 1533073, at *1 (E.D. Okla. Apr. 22, 2011). Indeed,
“courts of coordinate jurisdiction and equal rank . . .
must be careful to avoid interfering with each other's
affairs in order” to avoid “the waste of
duplication, ” “rulings which may trench upon the
authority of sister courts, ” and “piecemeal
resolution of issues that call for a uniform result.”
See Buzas, 189 F.3d at 477 (internal quotation marks
and citation omitted).
end, courts applying applying the first-to-file rule
consider: “(1) the chronology of the actions, (2) the
similarity of the parties involved, and (3) the similarity of
the issues at stake.” Chieftain, 2011 WL
1533073, at *2. Application in such circumstances
“‘maximize[s] judicial economy and minimize[s]
embarrassing inconsistencies by prophylactically refusing to
hear a case raising issues that might substantially duplicate
those raised by a case pending in another court.'”
See Cherokee Nation v. Nash, 1159');">724 F.Supp.2d 1159,
1166 (N.D. Okla. 2010) (quoting Cadel v. Whataburger of
Alice, Inc., 174 F.3d 599');">174 F.3d 599, 604 (5th Cir. 1999)). In
short, “where the jurisdiction of a federal district
court has first attached, that right cannot be arrested or
taken away by proceedings in another federal district
court.” See O'Hare Int'l Bank v.
Lambert, 459 F.2d 328, 331 (10th Cir. 1972); see
also Hospah Coal Co. v. Chaco Energy Co., 1161');">673 F.2d 1161,
1163 (10th Cir. 1982); Cessna Aircraft Co. v. Brown,
348 F.2d 689, 692 (10th Cir. 1965).
first-to-file rule bars Mr. Gillman's suit here. Six
months before filing the above-captioned matter, Mr. Gillman
filed suit in the United States District Court for the
District of Hawaii. That suit involves identical parties and
issues. Indeed, the Amended Complaint in the Hawaii action
centers on the “multiple sets of fake and[/]or
falsified mental health information in [Mr. Gillman's]
personal Veterans Affairs medical, ” [Doc. No. 15, p.
4], that are the subject of Mr. Gillman's suit before
this court, [Doc. No. 1, p. 3]. Moreover, Mr. Gillman
articulates the same irreparable injuries and requests
substantially similar relief in both cases. Compare
[Doc. No. 15, pp. 5-6] with [Doc. No. 1, pp. 3-5].
Accordingly, this court will yield jurisdiction to the
District Court for the District of Hawaii. See Nash,
724 F.Supp.2d at 1166.
the Motion to Dismiss [Doc. No. 14] of the ...