Meadow Valley Contractors Incorporated v. C&S Engineers Incorporated et al

Filing 33

ORDER denying 22 Motion to Remand and/or for Abstention. (See document for further details). Signed by Judge G Murray Snow on 5/14/12.(LAD)

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1 WO 2 3 4 5 6 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 FOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONA 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Meadow Valley Contractors, Inc., a) ) Nevada corporation, ) Plaintiff/Counter-Defendant, ) ) ) vs. ) ) C&S Engineers, Inc., a New York) corporation; John and Jane Does I-X; ABC) Corporation I-X; and XYZ Partnerships I-) ) X, ) Defendants/Counter-Claimants.) ) ) No. CV-11-8154-PCT-GMS ORDER 17 18 Pending before the Court is Defendant’s Motion to Remand and/or For Abstention. 19 (Doc. 22). For the reasons discussed below, the motion is denied. 20 BACKGROUND 21 On April 5, 2010, Plaintiff Meadow Valley Contractors, Inc., a Nevada corporation, 22 entered into a construction contract with the Town of Springerville, Arizona to resurface the 23 Springerville Municipal Airport (the “Project”). At some point after starting work on the 24 Project, Meadow Valley requested that the project be suspended, claiming that the contract 25 plans, specifications and drawings (the “Design Documents”) were faulty. On September 26 26, 2011, Meadow Valley filed its Complaint in this action in Apache County Superior Court 27 against Defendant C&S Engineers, Inc., a New York corporation and the designer for the 28 1 Project. In the Complaint, Meadow Valley brings claims against C&S for negligence, 2 negligent misrepresentation, breach of implied warranty, and tortious interference with 3 contract. 4 On October 11, 2011, C&S removed the action to this Court, asserting complete 5 diversity of the parties as the basis for the Court’s jurisdiction. (Doc. 1). On October 19, 6 2011, C&S filed its Answer and brought counterclaims against Meadow Valley for 7 negligence and negligent misrepresentation. On November 14, 2011, Meadow Valley filed 8 its motion to dismiss the counterclaims for failure to state a claim, a motion which is still 9 pending in this Court. (Doc. 8). 10 On February 7, 2012, Meadow Valley filed a complaint in Apache County Superior 11 Court against the Town for breach of contract and breach of the covenant of good faith (the 12 “State-court Action”). C&S asserts—and Meadow Valley does not deny—that the State- 13 court Action is “based on the same factual allegations” as this action. (Doc. 22 at 3). Given 14 the existence of the closely related State-court Action, C&S now moves for remand of this 15 action back to the Apache County Superior Court. (Doc. 22). 16 DISCUSSION 17 Defendant asserts that it is seeking remand pursuant to the Younger and Colorado 18 River abstention doctrines. (Doc. 22). Plaintiff asserts in response that “[a]lthough remand 19 may be appropriate at some point,” the Court should first decide Plaintiff’s motion to dismiss 20 and various discovery disputes between the Parties. (Doc. 26 at 2). 21 The Supreme Court has held that“federal courts have the power to dismiss or remand 22 cases based on abstention principles only where the relief being sought is equitable or 23 otherwise discretionary.” Quackenbush v. Allstate Ins. Co., 517 U.S. 706, 731 (1996) 24 (emphasis added). In the instant action, Plaintiff seeks “general, consequential, punitive, and 25 special damages.” (Doc. 1-1, Ex. 1 at 7). The Court therefore lacks power to remand this case 26 under the Younger or Colorado River abstention doctrines. See Quackenbush, 517 U.S. at 27 731 (“Because this was a damages action, we conclude that the District Court’s remand order 28 was [ ] unwarranted.”). -2- 1 Should the Parties decide to stipulate to a remand without conditions, they are directed 2 to file their stipulation with the Court within fourteen (14) days of the date of this Order. See 3 CDN Inc. v. Kapes, 197 F.3d 1256, 1258 (9th Cir.1999) (“Because stipulations serve both 4 judicial economy and the convenience of the parties, courts will enforce them absent 5 indications of involuntary or uninformed consent.”); Randy’s Trucking Inc. v. City of Shafter, 6 2008 WL 5156665, *3 (E.D. Cal. Dec. 9, 2008) (“In light of the stipulation to remand, the 7 parties are directed to submit a proposed order/stipulation to remand this case to the Kern 8 County Superior Court.”); Bonvillian v. United Auto Credit, 2007 WL 810097, *4 (E.D. Cal. 9 Mar. 15, 2007) (“Given the uncertainty of jurisdiction in this particular case, under these 10 particular facts, and in the interest of economy and justice, the parties stipulated to remand 11 this case to State court for adjudication of the sole state law based claim.”). Should the 12 Parties not so stipulate, the Court will rule on Meadow Valley’s motion to dismiss and 13 proceed with this case. See Kline v. Burke Const. Co., 260 U.S. 226, 228 (1922). (“Each 14 court is free to proceed in its own way and in its own time, without reference to the 15 proceedings in the other court. Whenever a judgment is rendered in one of the courts and 16 pleaded in the other, the effect of that judgment is to be determined by the application of the 17 principles of res adjudicata . . .The rule, therefore, has become generally established that . 18 . . another action for the same cause in another jurisdiction is not precluded.”). 19 20 21 IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Defendant’s Motion to Remand and/or for Abstention (Doc. 22) is DENIED. DATED this 14th day of May, 2012. 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 -3-

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