Steamfitters Local 449 Pension Fund v. Safeway Inc. et al

Filing 48

ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE. Show Cause Response due by 7/9/2014. Hearing on Motion for Preliminary Injunction set for 7/25/2014 09:00 AM in Courtroom 5, 2nd Floor, Oakland before Hon. Jeffrey S. White. Signed by Judge Jeffrey S. White on 6/24/14. (jjoS, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 6/24/2014)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 8 9 STEAMFITTERS LOCAL 449 PENSION FUND, 10 No. C 14-01670 JSW 11 v. For the Northern District of California United States District Court Plaintiff, 12 ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE REGARDING COLORADO RIVER DOCTRINE SAFEWAY, INC., et al., 13 Defendants. 14 / 15 16 Pursuant to the Colorado River doctrine, a federal court should, under certain 17 circumstances, stay its proceedings in deference to similar proceedings pending in state court. 18 Colorado River Water Conservation Dist. v. United States, 424 U.S. 800, 818-19 (1976). The 19 Court “may invoke the Colorado River Doctrine sua sponte.” PrivacyWear, Inc. v. QTS & 20 CFTC, LLC, 2008 WL 4414994, *2 (C.D. Cal. Sept. 24, 2008) (citing Atchison, Topeka and 21 Santa Fe Ry. Co. v. Bd. of Equalization of the State of California, 795 F.2d 1442, 1446-48 (9th 22 Cir. 1986), vacated on other grounds, 828 F.2d 9 (1987) (raising Colorado River doctrine for 23 the first time on appeal and instructing district court to stay action upon remand). 24 In applying the Colorado River doctrine, district courts may stay or dismiss an action 25 when there is a concurrent state proceeding involving the same matter and the existence of 26 “exceptional circumstances.” Moses H. Cone Mem’l Hosp. v. Mercury Constr. Corp., 460 U.S. 27 1, 14-15 (1983). Under Colorado River, the Ninth Circuit requires a “substantial similarity” 28 1 between the state and federal proceedings, but has noted that “exact parallelism” is not required. 2 Nakash v. Marciano, 882 F.2d 1411, 1416 (9th Cir. 1989). 3 A court weighs several factors to determine whether to stay or dismiss an action inconvenience of the federal forum, (3) the desirability of avoiding piecemeal litigation, (4) the 6 order in which jurisdiction was obtained by the concurrent forums, (5) whether state or federal 7 law provides the rule of decision on the merits, and (6) whether the state proceeding is adequate 8 to protect the parties’ rights. Nakash, 882 F.2d at 1415 (citing Colorado River, 424 U.S. at 818; 9 Moses H. Cone, 460 U.S. at 25-26). “These factors are to be applied in a pragmatic and flexible 10 way, as part of a balancing process rather than as a mechanical checklist.” Nakash, 882 F.2d at 11 For the Northern District of California pursuant to Colorado River: (1) whether a court has assumed jurisdiction over a res, (2) the 5 United States District Court 4 1415 (quotations omitted). 12 In Nakash, individuals and their related corporate entities filed a state suit alleging state 13 claims and a violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”). 14 888 F.2d at 1412-13. Later, the individuals filed a federal suit consisting of similar – but not 15 identical – claims. Id. at 1413. The Ninth Circuit held that a stay was appropriate under 16 Colorado River and noted that although the Supreme Court has held that federal courts have a 17 “virtually unflagging obligation” to exercise jurisdiction, “this somewhat overstates the law 18 because in certain circumstances, a federal court may stay its proceedings in deference to 19 pending state proceedings.” Id. at 1415 (citing Colorado River, 424 U.S. at 817). The Ninth 20 Circuit held that despite the lack of exact parallelism between the parties and actions, the 21 actions were substantially similar because both involved disputes over the same conduct and an 22 overlap of key parties. Id. at 1416-17. 23 Here, Defendants represent that before Plaintiff filed the action in this Court, plaintiffs 24 have filed actions, which have been consolidated, in state court in Delaware regarding the same 25 proposed merger. Moreover, the plaintiffs and defendants in the state court action have reached 26 a settlement. If the court approves the settlement for the class, the claims brought in the above 27 captioned action would be released. Accordingly, the Court Orders the parties to Show Cause 28 (“OSC”) in writing why this action should not be stayed or dismissed under the Colorado River 2 1 doctrine. Plaintiff shall file a response to this OSC by no later than July 3, 2014. Defendants 2 shall file a response by no later than July 9, 2014. The Court HEREBY CONTINUES the 3 hearing on the pending motion for a preliminary injunction to July 25, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. 4 IT IS SO ORDERED. 5 6 Dated: June 24, 2014 JEFFREY S. WHITE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 7 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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