Warren et al v. Cook Sales, Inc. et al
Order granting 31 Joint Motion to Stay Proceedings Pending Mediation filed by Cook Sales, Inc. This action is STAYED until 6/3/2016. Status Report due by 6/1/2016. Signed by Chief Judge William H. Steele on 3/10/2016. (tgw)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
ALLISON WARREN, et al.,
COOK SALES, INC., et al.,
CIVIL ACTION 15-0603-WS-M
This matter comes before the Court on the parties’ filing styled “Joint Motion to Stay
Proceedings Pending Mediation” (doc. 31). In their Joint Motion, the parties request a stay of all
proceedings in this putative FLSA collective action pending the outcome of mediation, which is
slated to occur on May 25, 2016.
District courts are vested with broad discretion to stay proceedings, which authority is
incidental to their inherent powers to control their dockets and the course of particular litigation.
See, e.g., Clinton v. Jones, 520 U.S. 681, 706, 117 S.Ct. 1636, 137 L.Ed.2d 945 (1997) (“The
District Court has broad discretion to stay proceedings as an incident to its power to control its
own docket.”); Landis v. North American Co., 299 U.S. 248, 254-55, 57 S.Ct. 163, 81 L.Ed. 153
(1936) (“[T]he power to stay proceedings is incidental to the power inherent in every court to
control the disposition of the causes on its docket with economy of time and effort for itself, for
counsel, and for litigants.”); Advanced Bodycare Solutions, LLC v. Thione Int’l, Inc., 524 F.3d
1235, 1241 (11th Cir. 2008) (“district courts have inherent, discretionary authority to issue stays
in many circumstances”). In exercising this discretion, district courts have considered such
factors as: “(1) whether the litigation is at an early stage …; (2) whether a stay will unduly
prejudice or tactically disadvantage the non-moving party; (3) whether a stay will simplify the
issues in question and streamline the trial; and (4) whether a stay will reduce the burden of
litigation on the parties and on the court.” Grice Engineering, Inc. v. JG Innovations, Inc., 691
F. Supp.2d 915, 920 (W.D. Wis. 2010).
As the Court understands the Joint Motion, the parties’ objective in requesting the stay is
to obtain a window of opportunity to explore resolution of their dispute via mediation without (i)
continuing to accrue litigation-related expenses and (ii) adjusting to potentially game-changing
court rulings (such as adjudication of the pending Motion for Conditional Certification) in the
interim. The Court supports the parties’ proactive efforts to explore whether an amicable
compromise of their dispute is possible before plunging further down the expensive, timeconsuming path of litigation. In terms of the foregoing principles, the undersigned concludes
that a stay is likely to simplify the issues in question, streamline the issues for trial, and reduce
the burdens of litigation on Court and parties alike. More concisely, there are considerable
benefits to staying this action to enable the parties to focus their efforts on reaching an amicable
resolution in the short term. This type of circumstance may be a compelling reason for a stay.
See, e.g., Advanced Bodycare Solutions, LLC v. Thione Int’l, Inc., 524 F.3d 1235, 1241 (11th Cir.
2008) (“district courts have inherent, discretionary authority to issue stays in many
circumstances, and granting a stay to permit mediation (or to require it) will often be
For the foregoing reasons, the Joint Motion to Stay Proceedings (doc. 31) is granted, and
all proceedings (including, without limitation, briefing of the Motion for Conditional
Certification and defendant’s recent Motion to Strike) in this case are hereby stayed through and
including June 3, 2016. The parties are ordered to file a joint report documenting the status of
their settlement negotiations and the outcome of mediation by no later than June 1, 2016.
There is, however, a caveat. Ordinarily, litigation and settlement negotiations are
concurrent, not alternate, tracks. The Court will not allow this action to sit idle for an indefinite
period of time while negotiations are conducted. The 80+ day stay the parties have requested is
lengthy, and the Court will not be inclined to extend it absent a compelling showing of good
cause and diligence. Accordingly, the parties are strongly encouraged to make good use of this
temporary stay to explore whether a compromise settlement is achievable. Should settlement not
be reached within the allotted time period, the Court may lift the stay and enter an amended
briefing schedule to finalize briefing on the pending motions without delay.
DONE and ORDERED this 10th day of March, 2016.
s/ WILLIAM H. STEELE
CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?