Earl et al v. Briad Restaurant Group, LLC

Filing 23

ORDER denying 12 Motion to Consolidate Cases. Signed by Chief Judge Gloria M. Navarro on 5/1/2017. (Copies have been distributed pursuant to the NEF - JM)

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1 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 2 DISTRICT OF NEVADA 3 ERIN HANKS, et al., ) ) Plaintiffs, ) vs. ) ) BRIAD RESTAURANT GROUP, LLC, ) ) Defendant. ) ) ) TOBY EARL, et al., ) ) Plaintiffs, ) vs. ) ) BRIAD RESTAURANT GROUP, LLC, ) ) Defendant. ) ) 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 2:14-cv-00786-GMN-PAL 2:16-cv-02217-GMN-PAL 15 ORDER 16 Before the Court is the Motion to Consolidate filed by Defendant Briad Restaurant Group, 17 18 LLC (“Defendant”) in Case Nos. 2:14-cv-00786-GMN-PAL (the “Hanks case”) and 2:16-cv- 19 02217-GMN-PAL (the “Earl case”).1 Plaintiffs2 in both cases have opposed the Motions, which 20 are fully briefed. For the reasons discussed below, the Court DENIES Defendant’s Motions. 21 22 23 24 1 25 2 The Motions are docketed as ECF No. 126 in the Hanks case and ECF No. 12 in the Earl case. In the Hanks case, the named Plaintiffs are Erin Hanks, Jeffrey Anderson, and Robert Baker. In the Earl case, the named Plaintiffs are Toby Earl, Shyheem Smith, Deatra Enari, Michelle Pickthall, and James Skadowski. Page 1 of 4 1 I. BACKGROUND This dispute arises out of alleged violations of an amendment to the Nevada Constitution 2 3 setting certain minimum wage requirements for employers known as the Minimum Wage 4 Amendment (“MWA”). Plaintiffs are current and former employees of various TGI Friday’s 5 restaurant chain locations throughout Nevada. On May 19, 2014, Plaintiffs initiated the Hanks 6 case allegedly as “a result of [Defendant’s] failure to pay Plaintiffs and other similarly-situated 7 employees who are members of the Class the lawful minimum wage, because [Defendant] 8 improperly claimed eligibility to compensate employees at a reduced minimum wage rate under 9 Nev. Const. art. XV, § 16.” (Am. Compl. ¶ 1, Hanks case, ECF No. 6). On July 27, 2015, the Court dismissed five Plaintiffs from the Hanks action who were 10 11 parties to various arbitration agreements and ordered them to arbitrate their MWA claims against 12 Defendant. (Order, Hanks case, ECF No. 93). On September 20, 2016, the dismissed Hanks 13 Plaintiffs initiated the Earl action, “seeking an order from this Court declaring provisions in 14 Defendant’s arbitration agreements that purport to prohibit class or representative actions, even 15 in arbitration proceedings, are invalid pursuant to National Labor Relations Act.” (Compl. ¶ 1, 16 Earl case, ECF No. 1). The Earl Plaintiffs allege that they intend to file a class arbitration, but 17 that the American Arbitration Association requires a court order declaring such provisions 18 invalid before accepting any class arbitration claims. (Id. ¶¶ 10, 12). Defendants filed this Motion in both cases, seeking to consolidate the cases. For the 19 20 reasons discussed below, the Court DENIES the motion. 21 II. 22 23 24 LEGAL STANDARD Rule 42(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governs motions to consolidate. It provides: If actions before the court involve a common question of law or fact, the court may join for hearing or trial any or all matters at issue in the 25 Page 2 of 4 actions, consolidate the actions, or issue any other order to avoid unnecessary cost or delay. 1 2 Fed. R. Civ. P. 42(a). 3 When deciding whether to consolidate cases, the threshold question for the court to 4 answer is whether the actions involve common questions of law or fact. See id. If the court 5 determines that common questions are present, it must then balance the savings of time and effort 6 that consolidation will produce against any inconvenience, delay, confusion, or prejudice that 7 may result. Huene v. United States, 743 F.2d 703, 704 (9th Cir. 1984). Finally, whether actions 8 should be consolidated under Rule 42(a) is a matter committed to the trial court’s discretion. 9 Inv’rs Research Co. v. U.S. Dist. Ct. for the Cent. Dist. of Cal., 877 F.2d 777 (9th Cir. 1989). 10 III. ANALYSIS Although these two cases originate from essentially the same set of facts, in the Court’s 11 12 view both the parties and claims are not sufficiently similar to merit consolidation. Indeed, while 13 Plaintiffs in both cases dispute whether Defendant complied with the MWA, only the Hanks 14 Plaintiffs’ MWA claims will be determined before this Court. The MWA claims raised by the 15 Earl Plaintiffs will be heard by an arbitrator. Furthermore, these cases are at completely different 16 stages of pretrial litigation. The Hanks case was commenced almost five years ago, and the Earl 17 case was filed at the end of last year. Consolidation would therefore only cause further delay and 18 waste judicial resources. Finally, Defendant in the Earl case argues that a stay of that case is 19 appropriate in light of the Supreme Court’s decision to grant petitions for writ of certiorari in 20 what Defendant claims are cases implicating dispositive issues. Thus, if the cases were 21 consolidated, it is possible that the Court would then be required to enter a stay as to certain 22 Plaintiffs but proceed as to others. Plaintiffs in each case should therefore be allowed to pursue 23 their separate claims independently of the distinct issues raised in the other case. 24 /// 25 /// Page 3 of 4 1 IV. CONCLUSION 2 IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Defendant’s Motions to Consolidate, ECF No. 126 in 3 Case No. 2:14-cv-00786-GMN-PAL, and ECF No. 12 in Case No. 2:16-cv-02217-GMN-PAL, 4 are DENIED. 5 1 DATED this _____ day of May, 2017. 6 7 8 ________________________________ GLORIA M. NAVARRO, Chief Judge United States District Court 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Page 4 of 4

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