Brooks et al v. Ultra Enterprises Inc.
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING TEMPORARY STAY granting 21 Motion to Stay. Signed by Judge Robert N. Scola, Jr on 9/15/2020. See attached document for full details. (yha)
United States District Court
Southern District of Florida
Marcy Brooks and Samuel Hernandez,
on behalf of themselves and all others
similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
Event Entertainment Group, Inc.,
) Civil Action No. 20-22495-Civ-Scola
Consol. Case 20-22185-Civ-Scola
Order Granting Temporary Stay
The Plaintiffs, ticket holders for the Ultra Music Festival, in this putative
class-action case, seek to recover damages from Defendant Event
Entertainment Group, Inc., for canceling or postponing the festival just a few
days before its scheduled start. (Pls.’ Resp. to Mot. to Compel, ECF No. 17.) In
response, Event Entertainment has moved to compel arbitration based on an
arbitration clause in the parties’ ticket contracts. (Def.’s Mot. to Compel, ECF
No. 14.) In light of its motion to compel arbitration, Event Entertainment now
seeks a motion to stay certain deadlines until the motion to compel has been
ruled upon. (Def.’s Mot. to Stay, ECF No. 21.) The Plaintiffs object to such a
stay, complaining the Court’s initial order, requiring the parties to meet and
confer and file a joint conference report, is still in effect and, regardless, Event
Entertainment has not met its burden of establishing the need for such a stay.
(Pls.’ Resp. to Mot. for Stay, ECF No. 23.) After review, in light of Event
Entertainment’s motion to compel arbitration, the Court finds, a stay
warranted and grants Event Entertainment’s motion (ECF No. 21).
District courts are given “broad discretion over the management of pretrial activities, including discovery and scheduling.” Johnson v. Bd. of Regents
of Univ. of Ga., 263 F.3d 1234, 1269 (11th Cir. 2001). As a general rule,
preliminary motions which may likely dispose of an entire suit should be
resolved as soon as practicable to obviate avoidable discovery costs. See
Chudasama v. Mazda Motor Corp., 123 F.3d 1353, 1368 (11th Cir. 1997) (“If
the district court dismisses a nonmeritorious claim before discovery has begun,
unnecessary costs to the litigants and to the court system can be avoided.”).
When a resolution of a motion will dispose of an entire case, a request to stay
discovery, pending its resolution, may be appropriate. See McCabe v. Foley, 233
F.R.D. 683, 685 (M.D. Fla. 2006) (“A request to stay discovery pending a
resolution of a motion is rarely appropriate unless resolution of the motion will
dispose of the entire case.”). The Court also finds “that the contractual
questions raised by a motion to compel arbitration are sufficiently analogous to
the dispositive issues raised by a motion to dismiss” to warrant consideration
under this framework. Internaves De Mexico s.a. de C.V. v. Andromeda
Steamship Corp., 16-81719-CIV, 2017 WL 7794599, at *1 (S.D. Fla. Feb. 24,
2017) (Middlebrooks, J.) Indeed, the Court agrees “[i]t would be a waste of time
and expense to require the [p]arties to exchange documents and interrogatories
and depose witnesses when the Court may very well determine that the
contract requires an arbitrator to resolve this dispute.” Id. at *2.
Additionally, “the Eleventh Circuit has held that one factor in
determining whether a party waives its right to arbitration is the extent to
which ‘a party seeking arbitration substantially participates in litigation to a
point inconsistent with an intent to arbitrate.’” Id. (quoting Citibank, N.A. v.
Stok & Assoc., P.A., 387 F. App’x 921, 924 (11th Cir. 2010)). Since conferring
about discovery and filing a joint plan and proposed schedule, in addition to
exchanging discovery, could be viewed as substantial participation, not
granting a stay would force Event Entertainment to take action that could be
construed as inconsistent with Event Entertainment’s intent to arbitrate.
Further, the Plaintiffs have not identified any prejudice they will suffer as a
result of a temporary stay. In fact, to the contrary, the Court finds, if anything,
the Court’s as well as both parties’ resources will be conserved as a result of a
Finally, in considering the balance, a court may take a “preliminary
peek” at the merits of a motion to see if it “appears to be clearly meritorious
and truly case dispositive.” McCabe v. Foley, 233 F.R.D. 683, 685 (M.D. Fla.
2006). After reviewing Event Entertainment’s motion to dismiss and the
Plaintiffs’ response thereto, the Court finds the motion to compel to have a
strong likelihood of being granted. See Ray v. Spirit Airlines, Inc., No. 12-61528CIV, 2012 WL 5471793, at *1 (S.D. Fla. Nov. 9, 2012) (Scola, J.) (quoting
Feldman v. Flood, 176 F.R.D. 651, 652–53 (M.D.Fla.1997)). And, if the motion
is granted, proceeding any further in this forum would ultimately be improper.
Accordingly, the Court grants Event Entertainment’s motion to stay
(ECF No. 21) the requirement that the parties engage in a Local Rule 16.1
conference or submit a Local Rule 16.1 schedule report until the Court has
ruled on the motion to compel. The Court additionally stays all other discovery
deadlines and requirements until it enters an order on the motion to compel. If
the motion to compel is ultimately denied, discovery must immediately move
forward. This brief stay will not cause any prejudice to the Plaintiffs who will be
afforded sufficient opportunity to conduct discovery if their claims advance in
this Court. The parties must file their joint discovery plan and conference
report within seven days if the Court denies Event Entertainment’s motion to
Done and ordered, in Miami, Florida, on September 15, 2020.
Robert N. Scola, Jr.
United States District Judge
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