Gardner v. Cafepress Inc. et al

Filing 143

ORDER: (1) Granting In Part and Denying In Part 100 Plaintiff's Motion to Consolidate and to Set New Scheduling Dates; (2) Vacating Hearing Date. Plaintiff's Motion to Consolidate is Granted as to consolidation and Denied as to schedu ling dates; Gardner I, No. 3:13-cv-1108-GPC-JLB, and Gardner II, No. 3:14-cv-792-GPC-JLB, are CONSOLIDATED; The parties are directed to file a joint motion with the magistrate judge to obtain new scheduling dates by 1/16/2015; Plaintiff is directed to file a consolidated complaint by 2/6/2015; and the hearing set for 12/19/2014, is Vacated. Signed by Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel on 12/16/2014. (srm)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 STEVEN M. GARDNER, an individual, CASE NO. 3:13-cv-1108-GPC-JLB Plaintiff, 12 v. 13 14 15 16 17 CAFEPRESS INC., a Delaware Corporation, et al., Defendants. 18 ORDER: (1) GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO CONSOLIDATE AND TO SET NEW SCHEDULING DATES; [No. 3:13-cv-1108-GPC-JLB, ECF No. 100] [No. 3:14-cv-0792-GPC-JLB, ECF No. 7] (2) VACATING HEARING DATE 19 I. INTRODUCTION 20 21 Before the Court is Plaintiff Steven M. Gardner’s (“Plaintiff”) Motion to 1 22 Consolidate and to Set New Scheduling Dates. (ECF No. 100.) Defendants CafePress 2 23 Inc. (“CafePress”) and TellApart, Inc. (“TellApart”) (collectively, “Defendants”) 3 24 oppose. (ECF No. 126.) Plaintiff has replied to Defendants’ opposition. (ECF 25 26 1 27 2 28 (See No. 3:14-cv-0792-GPC-JLB, ECF No. 7.) TellApart is not a defendant in 3:13-cv-1108-GPC-JLB, but is a defendant in 3:14-cv-0792-GPC-JLB. 3 (See No. 3:14-cv-0792-GPC-JLB, ECF No. 21.) -1- 3:13-cv-1108-GPC-JLB 1 No.131.)4 2 The parties have fully briefed the motion. (ECF Nos. 100, 126, 131.) The Court 3 finds the motion suitable for disposition without oral argument pursuant to Civil Local 4 Rule 7.1(d)(1). For the reasons discussed below, the Court GRANTS IN PART AND 5 DENIES IN PART Plaintiff’s Motion to Consolidate. 6 7 II. BACKGROUND On May 8, 2013, Plaintiff filed a complaint alleging copyright infringement by 8 CafePress and CafePress users (Gardner v. CafePress, Inc. (“Gardner I”), No. 3:13-cv9 1108-GPC-JLB). (ECF No. 1.) On October 14, 2014, pursuant to this Court’s order 10 granting Plaintiff’s motion to amend, (ECF No.108), Plaintiff filed a second amended 11 complaint (“SAC”) against CafePress and CafePress users, adding a new claim and a 12 new defendant. (ECF No. 112.) 13 On April 4, 2014, Plaintiff filed a complaint alleging copyright infringement by 14 CafePress and a different CafePress user. (Gardner v. CafePress Inc. (“Gardner II”), 15 No. 3:14-cv-0792-GPC-JLB, ECF No. 1.)5 On September 8, 2014, Plaintiff filed a first 16 amended complaint in Gardner II adding TellApart as a defendant. (No. 3:14-cv-079217 GPC-JLB, ECF No. 6.) 18 On September 8, 2014, Plaintiff filed a motion to consolidate. (ECF No. 100.) 19 On November 7, 2014, Defendants filed an opposition to Plaintiff’s motion. (ECF No. 20 126.) On November 21, 2014, Plaintiff filed a reply to Defendants’ opposition. (ECF 21 No. 131.) Plaintiff seeks to consolidate Gardner I and Gardner II. (ECF No. 100.) 22 23 III. LEGAL STANDARD Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 42(a) grants the Court broad discretion to 24 consolidate separate actions. Investors Research Co. v. U.S. Dist. Court for Cent. Dist. 25 of Cal., 877 F.2d 777, 777 (9th Cir. 1989). Under Rule 42(a), the Court may 26 27 4 28 5 (See No. 3:14-cv-0792-GPC-JLB, ECF No. 23.) References to docket entries in this order refer to the docket entries in Gardner I unless explicitly stated otherwise. -2- 3:13-cv-1108-GPC-JLB 1 consolidate actions that involve common questions of law or fact. FED. R. CIV. P. 42(a). 2 The Court should also consider weigh any time and effort saved by consolidation 3 against any “inconvenience, delay, or expense that it would cause.” Huene v. United 4 States, 743 F.2d 703, 704 (9th Cir.1984) (citations omitted). 5 6 IV. DISCUSSION The parties do not dispute that Gardner I and Gardner II share common 7 questions of law and fact. (See ECF No. 100-1, at 4; ECF No. 126, at 5.) However, 8 Defendants argue three reasons why the cases should not be consolidated: (1) the 9 difference in procedural posture between the two cases, (2) the increased 10 inconvenience and cost resulting from consolidation, and (3) consolidation would 11 prejudice Defendants. (ECF No. 126, at 5–6.) 12 First, the parties dispute whether consolidation would require altering the current 13 discovery deadlines. (Compare ECF No. 131, at 1–2 with ECF No. 126, at 5.) Citing 14 Mills v. Beech Aircraft Corp., 886 F.2d 758 (5th Cir. 1989), Defendants argue that 15 discovery in Gardner I has already closed and consolidation would cause undue delay 16 by reopening discovery in Gardner I. (ECF No. 126, at 5.) Plaintiff argues that, due to 17 the recent addition of a new claim and new defendant, discovery already needs to 18 extended, regardless of whether the cases are consolidated. (ECF No. 131, at 1–2.) 19 Second, Defendants argue that there will be additional expenses of another motion for 20 summary judgment and the redeposing of an expert witness. (ECF No. 126, at 6.) 21 Third, Defendants argue that consolidation would prejudice CafePress and TellApart 22 because Plaintiff’s theories of liability differ for each defendant. (Id.) 23 While consolidation undoubtedly would cause some delay and increased 24 expenses in Gardner I, the Court must weigh that against any time and effort saved by 25 consolidation. Huene, 743 F.2d at 704. In this case, consolidation would save 26 considerable time and effort because these two cases relate to similar alleged actions 27 of CafePress users and similar alleged responses to those actions by CafePress and 28 TellApart. Consolidation would avoid the unnecessary expense of two separate trials. -3- 3:13-cv-1108-GPC-JLB 1 Moreover, any additional extension of discovery would be quite limited as the parties 2 have already engaged in extensive discovery in Gardner I and consolidation would 3 reduce the amount of duplicative discovery that may have been required were Gardner 4 II to proceed by itself. 5 Additionally, the Court finds that Defendants would not be prejudiced by 6 consolidation. The trier of fact in Gardner II would already have to allocate damages 7 amongst CafePress and TellApart if liability were found. Thus, consolidation would 8 not be the cause of any alleged “prejudice” because the alleged “prejudice” argued by 9 Defendants, (see ECF No. 126, at 6), exists due to Gardner II already having both 10 CafePress and TellApart as defendants. Accordingly, the Court finds that any 11 inconvenience or delay is outweighed by the time and expenses saved and that 12 consolidation would not prejudice Defendants. 13 Because Gardner I and Gardner II share common questions of law and fact, and 14 consolidation would reduce the duplicative efforts to try both cases separately while 15 creating minimal increased delay or expenses, consolidation of the two cases is 16 appropriate and the Court GRANTS Plaintiff’s motion as to consolidation. However, 17 the parties must file a joint motion with the magistrate judge to obtain new scheduling 18 dates and therefore the Court DENIES Plaintiff’s motion as to obtaining new 19 scheduling dates. 20 V. CONCLUSION AND ORDER 21 For the reasons stated above, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that: 22 1. 23 24 consolidation and DENIED as to scheduling dates; 2. 25 26 Gardner I, No. 3:13-cv-1108-GPC-JLB, and Gardner II, No. 3:14-cv0792-GPC-JLB, are CONSOLIDATED; 3. 27 28 Plaintiff’s Motion to Consolidate, (ECF No. 100), is GRANTED as to The parties are directed to file a joint motion with the magistrate judge to obtain new scheduling dates on or before January 16, 2015; 4. All new filings shall be filed in Gardner I, No. 3:13-cv-1108-GPC-JLB; -4- 3:13-cv-1108-GPC-JLB 1 5. February 6, 2015;6 and 2 3 Plaintiff is directed to file a consolidated complaint on or before 6. The hearing set for December 19, 2014, is VACATED. 4 DATED: December 16, 2014 5 6 HON. GONZALO P. CURIEL United States District Judge 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 6 The Court has set a deadline that follows the anticipated ruling on CafePress’s pending motion to dismiss, (ECF No. 122), so as to avoid the possibility of Plaintiff 28 having to file a multiple consolidated complaints depending on the outcome of said motion. -5- 3:13-cv-1108-GPC-JLB

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