Olsen v. Experian Information Solutions, Inc.

Filing 34

Order by Hon. Phyllis J. Hamilton denying #25 Motion to Consolidate Cases and Setting Hearing Date for Motion to Dismiss.(pjhlc2S, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 1/20/2017)

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1 2 3 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 4 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 5 6 LUCILLE OLSEN, 8 9 10 Case No. 16-cv-05707-PJH Plaintiff, 7 v. EXPERIAN INFORMATION SOLUTIONS, INC., Defendant. ORDER DENYING MOTION TO CONSOLIDATE AND SETTING HEARING DATE FOR MOTIONS TO DISMISS Re: Dkt. Nos. 18, 25 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 13 Before the court is defendant Experian Information Solutions, Inc.’s motion to 14 consolidate cases. Dkt. 25. The matter is fully briefed and suitable for decision without 15 oral argument. Accordingly, the hearing set for February 15, 2017 is VACATED. Having 16 read the parties’ papers and carefully considered their arguments and the relevant legal 17 authority, and good cause appearing, the court hereby DENIES the motion to 18 consolidate. 19 Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 42(a) permits the court to consolidate cases that 20 “involve a common question of law or fact.” Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 42(a). The district court 21 has “broad discretion under this rule to consolidate cases” before it. Investors Research 22 Co. v. U.S. District Court for C.D. Cal., 877 F.2d 777, 777 (9th Cir. 1989). “In determining 23 whether or not to consolidate cases, the Court should weigh the interest of judicial 24 convenience against the potential for delay, confusion and prejudice.” Zhu v. UCBH 25 Holdings, Inc., 682 F. Supp. 2d 1049, 1052 (N.D. Cal. 2010) (quotation omitted). 26 Experian asks the court to consolidate 171 cases assigned to a number of 27 different judges in this district. However, neither Rule 42 nor the Local Rules 28 contemplate reassignment of cases by one judge to another judge, unless the cases are 1 found to be related under Local Rule 3-12. While these cases may share a common 2 legal theory, they do not appear to be related under Local Rule 3-12(c). Each case 3 involves a different plaintiff and the allegedly inaccurate reporting of different accounts. 4 Moreover, assigning all 171 cases to a single judge would result in substantial delay and 5 inconvenience, outweighing any efficiency gains from consolidation. 6 As to the cases assigned to the undersigned judge, the court finds that formal 7 consolidation is inappropriate under the circumstances. Should these cases make it past 8 the pleading stage, much of the discovery and many of the factual issues will be 9 individualized. For example, showing that the reporting of each plaintiff’s debts was inaccurate in light of a confirmed Chapter 13 plan, and the resulting damages, if any, will 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 likely require plaintiff-specific proof. 12 As to Experian’s alternative request to refer the matter to the Executive 13 Committee, there is no rule permitting a party to refer a matter to or to receive a ruling 14 from the court’s Executive Committee, which acts on case assignments only when it 15 determines to do so. Thus the request is DENIED. 16 However, the court does find that some coordination of the cases assigned to the 17 undersigned is appropriate. In particular, the court orders that all the pending motions to 18 dismiss the actions shall be heard on the same date. Accordingly, the hearing date for 19 Experian’s motion to dismiss (Dkt. 18) is hereby reset to March 1, 2017, at 9:00 a.m., in 20 Courtroom 3, 1301 Clay Street, Oakland, California. 21 22 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: January 20, 2017 23 24 25 _______________________________ PHYLLIS J. HAMILTON United States District Judge 26 27 28 2

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