Dodson et al v. Tempur-Sealy International, Inc. et al

Filing 289

ORDER GRANTING STAY by Judge Jon S. Tigar granting 286 Motion to Stay. (wsn, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 10/18/2016)

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1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 7 ALVIN TODD, et al., Plaintiffs, 8 v. 9 ORDER GRANTING STAY Re: ECF No. 286 10 TEMPUR-SEALY INTERNATIONAL, INC., et al., 11 United States District Court Northern District of California Case No.13-cv-04984-JST Defendants. 12 On September 30, 2016, this Court entered an Order Denying Plaintiff’s Motion for Class 13 14 Certification, and on October 14, 2016, Plaintiffs filed a Rule 23(f) Petition (the “Petition”) with 15 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for permission to appeal this Court’s September 30, 2016 16 Order. On October 17, 2016, Plaintiffs moved to stay these proceedings pursuant to Federal Rule 17 of Civil Procedure 23(f). ECF No. 268. Defendants have not yet filed their response to Plaintiffs’ 18 Petition but have consented, through counsel, to the Plaintiffs’ motion for a stay pending the Ninth 19 Circuit’s decision on Plaintiffs’ Petition, and in the event that the Petition is granted, have agreed 20 to a stay of proceedings in this Court pending the resolution of Plaintiffs’ appeal. 21 I. 22 LEGAL STANDARD Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(f), a party may petition the court of appeals for 23 permission to immediately appeal the denial of class certification. If the petition is granted, the 24 interlocutory appeal “does not stay proceedings in the district court unless the district court or the 25 court of appeals so orders.” Id. To prevail on a motion to stay, Plaintiffs must show that (1) it is 26 likely to succeed on the merits of the appeal; (2) it will be irreparably injured in the absence of a 27 stay; (3) issuance of a stay will not substantially injure Defendants; and (4) the stay is in the public 28 interest. Leiva-Perez v. Holder, 640 F.3d 962 (9th Cir. 2011). The Ninth Circuit has held that 1 these factors should be examined on a flexible “continuum,” which is “essentially the same as the 2 ‘sliding scale’ approach” applied to requests for preliminary injunction. Id. at 964-66. Using this 3 approach, “the elements…are balanced, so that a stronger showing of one element may offset a 4 weaker showing of another.” Id. at 964. It is “clear,” however, that “to justify a stay, petitioners 5 needs not demonstrate that it is more likely than not that they will win on the merits.” Id. at 966. 6 Instead, “serious legal questions” raised in the petition can satisfy the first prong, id. at 967-68, 7 with the “critical element” in this analysis being the “relative hardships to the parties,” id. at 963. 8 II. 9 DISCUSSION A. “Serious Questions” Are Presented By The Rule 23(f) Petition Plaintiffs have shown a sufficient likelihood of success on the merits to support the 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 issuance of a stay of these proceedings because Plaintiffs’ Petition raises “serious legal questions” 12 on appeal. Gray v. Golden Gate Nat’l Recreational Area, No. 08-CV-00722, 2011 WL 6934433 at 13 *3 (N.D. Cal., December 29, 2011). Leiva-Perez, 640 F.3d at 966. 14 B. Plaintiffs Would Suffer Irreparable Harm Absent A Stay 15 The “critical element” in the stay analysis is the “relative hardships to the parties.” Id. at 16 963. This Court’s present Case Management Order presently contemplates further “for trial” 17 expert discovery, dispositive motions, and a trial on the merits of the Plaintiffs’ individual claims. 18 Given that the purchases at issue were of mattresses costing in the low thousands of dollars each, 19 the expert and expert discovery costs alone would likely dwarf any recovery. In short, both 20 Plaintiffs and Defendants would suffer “substantial harm if this action is not stayed pending 21 appeal and the Court is later reversed on the issue of class certification, resulting in substantial 22 time and resources being spent on this litigation, particularly expert discovery, dispositive motions 23 and trial preparation . . . .” Gray, 2011 WL 6934433 at *2. 24 Proceeding to a trial on the Plaintiffs’ individual claims prior to the Ninth Circuit’s review 25 of this Court’s Order Denying the Plaintiffs’ Motion for Class Certification would also subject the 26 Plaintiffs and potentially, Class Members, to multiple trials. Plaintiffs contend that they face 27 utilization of the same experts and trials of the same complexity and length on their individual 28 claims, using the same evidence that Plaintiffs contend is common to each member of the 2 1 proposed putative class. It makes little sense for Plaintiffs to individually proceed to final 2 judgment on their claims that are cumulatively worth far less than the costs of litigation. Absent a 3 stay, further discovery, expert involvement, and a trial will result in substantial costs and expense 4 to both parties. Given that, and a risk of irreparable harm to all, balance of hardships tips in favor 5 of a stay of proceedings, given especially that the Defendants do not oppose the Plaintiffs’ Motion. 6 C. 7 Defendants have consented to the Plaintiffs’ Motion, and a stay would therefore result in 8 9 Defendants Would Suffer No Harm From A Stay no material harm to the Defendants. D. The Public Interest Weighs In Favor Of A Stay. Finally, a stay pending the Ninth Circuit action would serve important interests of sound 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 and fair judicial administration. A stay would avoid the parties and the Court wasting resources 12 on litigation that might be changed on appeal. Gray, 2011 WL 6934433 at *3 (“The public 13 interest lies in proper resolution of the important issues raised in this case, and issuance of stay 14 would avoid wasting resources on a class action litigation which might be changed in scope on 15 appeal.”). CONCLUSION 16 17 Plaintiffs’ Motion to Stay Proceedings is granted. The Court, in its discretion, hereby stays 18 all further proceedings before this Court pending final resolution of the appellate proceedings 19 before the Ninth Circuit. 20 21 22 23 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: October 18, 2016 ______________________________________ JON S. TIGAR United States District Judge 24 25 26 27 28 3

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