In Re Pacific Fertility Center Litigation

Filing 567

ORDER by Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley denying 547 Motion to Dismiss. (ahm, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 10/5/2020)

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Case 3:18-cv-01586-JSC Document 567 Filed 10/05/20 Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 IN RE PACIFIC FERTILITY CENTER 7 LITIGATION 8 Case No. 18-cv-01586-JSC This Document Relates to: All Actions 9 ORDER RE: CHART'S MOTION TO DISMISS 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 Re: Dkt. No. 547 12 13 These consolidated cases arise out of a March 2018 incident involving a cryopreservation 14 tank storing Plaintiffs’ eggs and embryos. Chart Industries Inc., who manufactured the tank, is the 15 sole remaining defendant in this action as the other defendants have all been compelled to 16 arbitration. Following this Court’s order denying Plaintiffs’ motion for class certification, 133 17 class members filed individual actions, all of which have been consolidated under this lead case 18 number. Chart has filed a motion to dismiss the 133 consolidated actions under Federal Rule of 19 Civil Procedure 8.1 (Dkt. No. 552.) Having considered the parties’ briefs, the Court concludes 20 that oral argument is unnecessary, see N.D. Cal. Civ. L.R. 7-1(b), and DENIES the motion to 21 dismiss. 22 DISCUSSION 23 Chart moves to dismiss Plaintiffs’ consolidated complaints for failing to comply with Rule 24 8’s requirement that a complaint contain a “short and plain statement of the claim” citing 25 McHenry v. Renne, 84 F.3d 1172, 1177-79 (9th Cir. 1996), and Nevijel v. North Coast Life Ins. 26 27 28 1 All parties have consented to the jurisdiction of a magistrate judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). (Dkt. No. 553.) Case 3:18-cv-01586-JSC Document 567 Filed 10/05/20 Page 2 of 3 1 Co., 651 F.2d 671, 673 (9th Cir. 1981). (Dkt. No. 547 at 3. 2) In particular, Chart contends that 2 the complaints “are needlessly prolix in evidentiary detail, replete with redundancy and 3 argumentative to the point of sensationalism.” (Dkt. No. 564 at 2:26-3:1.) Plaintiffs’ 15-page complaints contain three claims for relief: (1) strict products liability - 4 5 manufacturing defect; (2) strict products liability – design defect; and (3) negligent failure to 6 recall. In support of these claims, Plaintiffs include detailed factual allegations regarding the tank, 7 its functions, its alleged failure, and the alleged harm as a result of the failure. Because the parties 8 have been actively engaged in discovery over the past year and a half, Plaintiffs are necessarily 9 able to plead their factual allegations with more particularity than they did in the version of the second amended class action complaint filed over a year ago. (Dkt. No. 267.) While Plaintiffs are 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 not required under Rule 8 to include such detailed allegations, the Court does not fault them for 12 doing so. Chart’s reliance on McHenry and Nevijel is misplaced. In those cases, the Ninth Circuit 13 14 was reviewing district court orders dismissing complaints under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15 41(b) for failure to comply with the courts’ orders to file an amended complaint that complied 16 with Rule 8. See McHenry, 84 F.3d at 1177 (affirming dismissal of 37-page complaint containing 17 two claims which were “set out in a single sentence thirty lines long, alleging numerous and 18 different violations of rights, without any specification of which of the twenty named defendants 19 or John Does is liable for which of the wrongs,” id. at 1174); Nevijel, 651 F.2d at 674 (affirming 20 dismissal of “second complaint [which] was 23 pages long with 24 pages of addenda, named 21 additional defendants without leave of court, and was equally as verbose, confusing and 22 conclusory as the initial complaint”). “[A] dismissal for a violation under Rule 8(a)(2), is usually confined to instances in which 23 24 the complaint is so verbose, confused and redundant that its true substance, if any, is well 25 disguised.” Gillibeau v. City of Richmond, 417 F.2d 426, 431 (9th Cir. 1969) (internal citation and 26 quotation marks omitted). It is a “harsh remedy,” and the court “should first consider less drastic 27 28 Record citations are to material in the Electronic Case File (“ECF”); pinpoint citations are to the ECF-generated page numbers at the top of the documents. 2 2 Case 3:18-cv-01586-JSC Document 567 Filed 10/05/20 Page 3 of 3 1 alternatives.” McHenry, 84 F.3d at 1178; see also Hearns v. San Bernadino Police Dep’t, 530 F.3d 2 1124, 1130-33 (9th Cir. 2008). Under the circumstances here, the harsh remedy of dismissal is not 3 warranted. While Chart may object to the dramatic nature of Plaintiffs’ allegations, it does not 4 contend—nor could it—that it is unable to respond to Plaintiffs’ allegations because of the way 5 they are pled. That it may be “difficult” to do so, does not warrant dismissal. (Dkt. No. 564 at 5.) 6 Accordingly, Chart’s motion to dismiss is denied. CONCLUSION 7 8 9 For the reasons stated above, Chart’s motion to dismiss is DENIED. Chart shall file its answer to the consolidated complaints in 14 days. This Order disposes of Docket. No. 547. 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 IT IS SO ORDERED. 12 Dated: October 5, 2020 13 14 JACQUELINE SCOTT CORLEY United States Magistrate Judge 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3

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