Williams Sports Rentals Inc.

Filing 56

ORDER signed by District Judge John A. Mendez on 10/31/2017; DENYING 47 Motion to Stay and 50 Motion to Stay. (Hunt, G)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 10 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 IN RE: COMPLAINT AND PETITION OF WILLIAMS SPORTS RENTALS, INC. AS OWNER OF A CERTAIN 2004 YAMAHA WAVERUNNER FX 140 FOR EXONERATION FROM OR LIMITATION OF LIABILITY ) ) ) ) ) ) ) MARIAN LATASHA WILLIS, on behalf ) of the Estate of RAESHON ) WILLIAMS, ) ) Respondent/Counter ) Claimant, ) ) v. ) ) WILLIAMS SPORTS RENTALS, INC., ) ) Petitioner/Counter ) Defendant. ) Case No. 2:17-CV-00653 JAM-EFB ORDER DENYING RESPONDENT/COUNTER CLAIMANT’S MOTION TO STAY FURTHER PROCEEDINGS 22 Marian Latasha Willis, the respondent and counter claimant, 23 24 seeks to stay further proceedings in this matter until her appeal 25 of this Court’s prior order is resolved in the Ninth Circuit. 26 the reasons set forth below, the Court DENIES her motion to stay. 1 For 27 1 28 This motion was determined to be suitable for decision without oral argument. E.D. Cal. L.R. 230(g). The hearing was scheduled for October 17, 2017. 1 1 I. FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND 2 Williams Sports Rentals Inc. (“WSR”) filed a Complaint for 3 Exoneration From or Limitation of Liability in this Court, invoking 4 the Court’s admiralty jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1333. 5 1. 6 the subject vessel, ordered all persons having claims related to 7 the complaint to file them in this action, and stayed all related 8 suits, actions or legal proceeding in connection with the incident 9 alleged in the complaint. ECF No. The Court approved the stipulation of value and security for Order, ECF No. 11. Marian Latasha 10 Willis (“Willis”), Personal Representative of the Estate of Raeshon 11 Williams, filed an answer and counterclaim. 12 Second Amended Claim, ECF No. 46 (operative pleading asserting two 13 counterclaims). 14 Motion to Lift the Stay, invoking the Lagnes rule of abstention and 15 seeking abatement of proceedings in admiralty until Willis has an 16 opportunity to try her claims at law in state court. ECF No. 25. 17 The Court denied the motion at the hearing held on August 29, 2017. 18 ECF No. 41. 19 ECF Nos. 16 & 17; see No other claimants have appeared. Willis filed a Willis filed a Notice of Interlocutory Appeal on September 20 7th. ECF No. 43. A review of the Ninth Circuit’s docket reveals 21 the Circuit is considering the appeal to be an appeal of a 22 preliminary injunction and has ordered briefing under Ninth Circuit 23 Rule 3-3. Filed clerk order, Williams Sports Rentals Inc. v. Marian 24 Willis, No. 17-16981 (9th Cir. 2017), ECF No. 2. 25 opening brief on October 19, 2017, which appeals the Court’s 26 decisions not to lift the stay or to abate further proceedings in 27 admiralty until she has the opportunity to litigate in state court. 28 Opening Brief, Williams Sports Rentals Inc. v. Marian Willis, No. 2 Willis filed her 1 17-16981 (9th Cir. 2017), ECF Nos. 5 & 7. 2 3 II. OPINION 4 Willis moves to stay all further proceedings before this Court 5 pending her interlocutory appeal in the Ninth Circuit. Mot. at 2–3. 6 She contends her interlocutory appeal “divests the district court 7 of its control over those aspects of the case involved in the 8 appeal.” 9 Co., 459 U.S. 56 (1982)). 10 Mot. at 6 (quoting Griggs v. Provident Consumer Discount WSR opposes the stay, arguing that such action will obstruct 11 judicial efficiency. 12 in this case “permanently enjoining [Willis] from proceeding in 13 this forum.” 14 Opp’n at 1. WSR argues there is no “order” Id. at 2. If the Court’s rulings on Willis’s motions were inextricably 15 bound up with the merits of the limitation issues, then this Court 16 would be divested of jurisdiction. 17 Grp., 916 F.2d 1405, 1412 (9th Cir. 1990) (“[A]n appeal of an 18 interlocutory order does not ordinarily deprive the district court 19 of jurisdiction except with regard to the matters that are the 20 subject of the appeal.”); Paige v. State of Cal., 102 F.3d 1035, 21 1039 (9th Cir. 1996) (“Accordingly, we have held our jurisdiction 22 under § 1292(a)(1) extends only to the ‘matters inextricably bound 23 up with the injunctive order from which the appeal is taken.’”). 24 That is not the case here; the merits of the limitation action and 25 counterclaims do not involve the same question as Willis’s appeal, 26 which concerns the Lagnes rule of abstention. 27 F.2d at 1411 (“Where an appeal is taken from a judgment which does 28 not finally determine the entire action, the appeal does not 3 See Britton v. Co-op Banking See Britton, 916 1 prevent the district court from proceeding with matters not 2 involved in the appeal.”) (quoting 9 J. Moore, Moore’s Federal 3 Practice ¶ 203.11); City of L. A., Harbor Div. v. Santa Monica 4 Baykeeper, 254 F.3d 882, 886 (9th Cir. 2001) (“[T]he filing of a 5 notice of interlocutory appeal divests the district court of 6 jurisdiction over the particular issues involved in that appeal.”) 7 (emphasis added). 8 goal of “avoid[ing] the confusion that would ensue from having the 9 same issues before two courts simultaneously.” Proceeding with the merits would not thwart the Natural Res. Def. 10 Council, Inc. v. Southwest Marine Inc., 242 F.3d 1163, 1166 (9th 11 Cir. 2001). 12 Willis has not shown that the divestment rule extends to 13 situations where the matter on appeal could prevent the Court from 14 adjudicating the merits of the action or delay adjudication until a 15 later date. 16 contrary is correct. 17 defendant’s appeal of the district court’s order denying his motion 18 to compel arbitration did not divest the district court of 19 jurisdiction to proceed with the case on the merits. 20 1412. 21 the Case in Morgan Stanley & Co., LLC v. Couch—discussed by both 22 parties—does not support Willis’s position either. 2 23 1291-LJO-JLT, 2015 WL 7271717 (E.D. Cal. Nov. 17, 2015). The cases cited by the parties indicate that the In Britton, the Ninth Circuit found that the 916 F.2d at The Order Granting Defendant’s Ex Parte Application to Stay No. 1:15-cvIn that 24 2 25 26 27 28 The appeals in Britton and Couch stemmed from injunctions related to arbitration proceedings. Britton was before the Ninth Circuit under 9 U.S.C. § 16 and Judge O’Neil anticipated the Circuit would review the Couch preliminary injunction under the same statute. Both courts applied the “divestment” rule developed in the 28 U.S.C. § 1292 context. The Couch court explicitly “concluded that the precedent concerning [28 U.S.C. § 1291(a)(1)] should apply to cases concerning [9 U.S.C. § 16(a)(2)].” 2015 WL 7271717, at *3, n. 4. 4 1 case, the Court issued the stay because the issues to be decided in 2 the appeal of the preliminary injunction were the same core issues 3 presented in the motion for summary judgment before the court. 4 at *3 (“The heart of this case—whether the FINRA Arbitration can 5 and should be enjoined and, if so, who should decide that issue—is 6 currently on appeal before the Ninth Circuit.”). That circumstance 7 is not present here, where the issues on appeal and the merits are 8 distinct. 9 The Court, therefore, is not persuaded the pending appeal divests Willis cites no other analogous cases in her motion. 10 it of jurisdiction to proceed with the merits of this case and 11 denies Willis’s motion to stay. 12 13 III. ORDER 14 For the reasons set forth above, the Court DENIES 15 Respondent/Counter Claimant’s Motion to Stay. 16 17 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: Id. October 31, 2017 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 5

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