Khoja et al v. DPD SUB, Inc. et al
ORDER; 18 Unopposed Motion for Stay is GRANTED. All discovery and other proceedings are STAYED pending ruling on Defendants Motion to Dismiss or Compel Arbitration. The parties shall file a Status Report with the court to advise whether the stay should be lifted and the scheduling deadlines reset no later than 10 days after ruling on the Motion to Dismiss or Compel Arbitration, by Magistrate Judge Kathleen M. Tafoya on 6/22/15.(morti, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLORADO
Magistrate Judge Kathleen M. Tafoya
Civil Action No. 15–cv–00258–WYD–KMT
MEHB KHOJA, and
RODOLFO GUIZAR REYES as the assignee of TEXAS SNACKS, LLC, on behalf of
themselves and all other similarly situated persons,
DPD SUB, INC., a Colorado corporation, and DPI SUB, INC. a Colorado corporation,
This matter is before the court on Defendants’ “Unopposed Motion for Stay.” (Doc. No.
18, filed May 21, 2015.) For the following reasons, Defendants’ Motion for Stay is GRANTED.
In this action, Plaintiffs asserts claims 1 for declaratory judgment, fraud in the
inducement, and negligent misrepresentation arising out of a Franchise Agreement entered into
between Plaintiffs and Defendants. (See Compl., Doc. No. 1, filed Feb. 6, 2015.) On March 9,
2015, Defendants filed a “Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, to Stay the Proceeding and
Compel Arbitration.” (Doc. No. 6.) In that Motion, Defendants assert that the Franchise
Agreement and a related Franchise Disclosure Agreement both contains mediation and
arbitration provisions, which provide that any claims arising out of or related to the Franchise
Plaintiffs’ claims are asserted on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated. However,
Defendants argue that, through the Franchise Agreement, Plaintiffs agreed to mediate and
arbitrate any claims on an individual basis only.
Agreement must be submitted to non-binding mediation and, if mediation is not successful, to
binding arbitration. (Id., Ex. A & B.) Based on those provisions, Defendants argue that this
court lacks jurisdiction over this matter or, alternatively, should compel the parties to submit to
mediation and arbitration pursuant to the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) 9 U.S.C. § 1 et seq.
Defendants’ present Motion for Stay argues that this court should stay discovery and other
proceedings in this matter until their Motion to Dismiss or Compel Arbitration is resolved.
The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not expressly provide for a stay of proceedings.
See String Cheese Incident, LLC v. Stylus Shows, Inc., No. 02–cv–01934–LTB–PA, 2006 WL
894955, at *2 (D. Colo. Mar. 30, 2006) (unpublished). Nevertheless,
[t]he power to stay proceedings is incidental to the power inherent in every court
to control the disposition of the causes on its docket with economy of time and
effort for itself, for counsel, and for litigants. How this can best be done calls for
the exercise of judgment, which must weigh competing interests and maintain an
Landis v. N. Am. Co., 299 U.S. 248, 254–55 (1936) (citing Kansas City S. Ry. Co. v.
United States, 282 U.S. 760, 763 (1931)). Thus, although generally disfavored in this District,
see Bustos v. United States, 257 F.R.D. 617, 623 (D.Colo.2009), a stay of proceedings is an
appropriate exercise of the court’s discretion.
“[A] court may decide that in a particular case it would be wise to stay proceedings until
[certain challenges] have been resolved.” See 8A Charles Alan Wright, Arthur R. Miller &
Richard L. Marcus, FEDERAL PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE § 2040, at 198 (3d ed. 2010). Courts
have also recognized that a stay of discovery may be appropriate if “resolution of a preliminary
motion may dispose of the entire action.” Nankivil v. Lockheed Martin Corp., 216 F.R.D. 689,
692 (M.D. Fla. 2003). See also Vivid Techs, Inc. v. Am. Sci. & Eng’r, Inc., 200 F.3d 795, 804
(Fed. Cir. 1992) (“When a particular issue may be dispositive, the court may stay discovery
concerning other issues until the critical issue is resolved.”). When considering a stay of
proceedings, this court considers: (1) the plaintiff’s interests in proceeding expeditiously with the
civil action and the potential prejudice to plaintiff of a delay; (2) the burden on the defendants;
(3) the convenience to the court; (4) the interests of persons not parties to the civil litigation; and
(5) the public interest. See String Cheese Incident, 2006 WL 894955, at *2 (citing FDIC v.
Renda, No. 85–2216–O, 1987 WL 348635, at *2 (D.Kan. Aug. 6, 1987)).
As to the first factor, Plaintiffs do not oppose the Motion for Stay. As such, their interest
in proceeding with this action does not weigh heavily in the court’s analysis. Moreover, the
court notes that the FAA represents a “liberal policy favoring arbitration.” Moses H. Cone
Mem’l Hosp. v. Mercury Constr. Corp., 460 U.S. 1, 24-25 (1983). Defendants’ arguments in
favor of arbitration are at least facially compelling as Plaintiffs entered into two agreements
containing medication and arbitration provisions. The court acknowledges that Plaintiffs argue
that these provisions are illusory and therefore unenforceable. (See Resp. Mot. Dismiss, Doc.
No. 8, filed Mar. 16, 2015.) Nevertheless, because Defendants have set forth a well-supported
argument that arbitration must be compelled in this action, the court finds that requiring the
parties to submit to full discovery prior to a ruling on Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss or Compel
Arbitration may unnecessarily subject them to “the very complexities, inconveniences and
expenses of litigation that they determined to avoid.” See Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith
Inc. v. Coors, 357 F. Supp. 2d 1277 (D. Colo. 2004) (quoting Kleeper v. SLI, Inc., 45 F. App’x
136, 139 (3d Cir. 2002)).
As to the third factor, the court has a general interest in managing its docket by seeing
cases proceed expeditiously. However, on the other hand, judicial economy and resources would
plainly be wasted if the court allowed discovery to proceed, only to later determine that
Plaintiffs’ claims must be submitted to arbitration. 2
Ultimately, having balanced the appropriate factors, the court finds that a stay of
discovery is warranted in this case. Therefore, for the foregoing reasons, it is
ORDERED that Defendants’ “Unopposed Motion for Stay” (Doc. No. 18) is GRANTED.
All discovery and other proceedings are STAYED pending ruling on Defendants’ Motion to
Dismiss or Compel Arbitration. The parties shall file a Status Report with the court to advise
whether the stay should be lifted and the scheduling deadlines reset no later than 10 days after
ruling on the Motion to Dismiss or Compel Arbitration.
Dated this 22nd day of June, 2015.
The last two factors do not appear to be implicated in this case and therefore have not been
addressed by the court.
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