Young et al v. Bank of America, N.A.

Filing 25

ORDER by Judge Hamilton denying motion to dismiss and granting motion to stay (pjhlc2, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 3/7/2013)

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1 2 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 3 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 4 5 6 CRAIG A. YOUNG, et al., 7 Plaintiffs, No. C 12-5514 PJH 8 v. 9 BANK OF AMERICA, N.A., ORDER DENYING MOTION TO DISMISS AND GRANTING MOTION TO STAY 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 Defendant. _______________________________/ 12 13 Defendant’s motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, to stay came on for hearing 14 before this court on March 6, 2013. Plaintiffs Craig Young and Michelle Ezell-Young 15 (“plaintiffs”) appeared through their counsel, Jason Buckingham and L. Timothy Fisher. 16 Defendant Bank of America, N.A. appeared through its counsel, David Reidy. Having read 17 the papers filed in conjunction with the motion and carefully considered the arguments and 18 the relevant legal authority, and good cause appearing, the court hereby DENIES 19 defendant’s motion to dismiss and GRANTS defendant’s motion to stay, for the reasons 20 stated at the hearing, and summarized as follows. 21 Defendant moves to dismiss, or stay, based on the first-to-file rule, which “permits a 22 district court to decline jurisdiction over an action when a complaint involving the same 23 parties and issues has already been filed in another district.” Pacesetter Sys., Inc. v. 24 Medtronic, Inc., 678 F.2d 93, 94-95 (9th Cir. 1982). Defendant points to five earlier-filed 25 class action cases, which have gone through coordinated mediation, and argues that this 26 case should at least be stayed pending a disposition on the tentative class settlement in 27 those cases. A preliminary approval hearing is scheduled for May 17, 2013 before Judge 28 Davila in the Northern District of California. 1 Plaintiffs argue that this case is not sufficiently similar to those five cases such that 2 the first-to-file rule should be triggered. Specifically, they emphasize that they have no 3 ongoing business relationship with defendant Bank of America, unlike the plaintiffs in the 4 earlier-filed cases. They also emphasize that their complaint asserts claims under 5 California’s Rosenthal Act, while the other cases involve only claims under the federal 6 Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”). plaintiffs will be included in the putative settlement class, because the plaintiffs in those 9 cases defined the putative class broadly. While a global class definition has not yet been 10 finalized, the class definitions in the individual cases make clear that plaintiffs (along with 11 For the Northern District of California While plaintiffs are correct about these points of distinction, the fact remains that 8 United States District Court 7 most, if not all of the putative class members in the present case) would be included. For 12 instance, two of the cases define the putative class as “all persons within the United States 13 who received a non-emergency telephone call from defendant/defendants to a cellular 14 telephone through the use of an automatic telephone dialing system or an artificial or 15 prerecorded voice and who did not provide prior express consent for such calls . . .” See 16 Dkt. 19-1, Ex. A (complaint in Duke v. Bank of America); Ex. I (complaint in Ramirez v. 17 Bank of America). As the class definitions make clear, the existence of an ongoing 18 business relationship is not required for membership in the putative settlement class. 19 Indeed, the Youngs do not appear to dispute their inclusion in the putative settlement class, 20 they merely seek to preserve the right to pursue their own resolution of their TCPA and 21 Rosenthal Act claims. 22 While the Youngs (and other putative class members) may opt out of the proposed 23 settlement, preserving their rights under both the TCPA and the Rosenthal Act, many 24 members of the putative class may not choose to opt out, and will have all of their claims 25 extinguished by the settlement. Thus, it would be inefficient to allow the present case to go 26 forward, while knowing that many of the putative class members will have their claims 27 extinguished by the settlement (if approved) in the earlier-filed cases. Accordingly, the 28 2 1 court STAYS the present action pending the outcome of the proposed settlement in Duke, 2 Ramirez, and the other cases involved in the mediated settlement. As noted above, the 3 parties are scheduled to appear at a preliminary approval hearing on May 17, 2013. Within 4 7 days of that hearing, the parties shall submit a status report regarding the result and the 5 setting of any final settlement approval hearing. 6 7 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: March 7, 2013 ______________________________ PHYLLIS J. HAMILTON United States District Judge 8 9 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3

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