Pichardo v. Amerigroup Corporation

Filing 29

ORDER Granting Defendant's 20 Motion to Stay. After the decision in ACA International is announced either party may request that the stay be lifted. Signed by Magistrate Judge Carl W. Hoffman on 6/8/2017. (Copies have been distributed pursuant to the NEF - SLD)

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1 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 2 DISTRICT OF NEVADA 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 RONNI PICHARDO, ) ) Plaintiff, ) ) v. ) ) AMERIGROUP CORPORATION, ) ) Defendant. ) ) _______________________________________ ) 10 Case No. 2:17-cv-0276-RFB-CWH ORDER Presently before the Court is Defendant Amerigroup Corporation’s motion to stay (ECF No. 11 20), filed on May 5, 2017. Plaintiff Ronni Pichardo filed a response (ECF No. 24) on May 19, 2017, 12 and Amerigroup filed a reply (ECF No. 26) on May 26, 2017. Defendant moves to stay this case pending the D.C. Circuit Court’s decision in ACA Int’l v. 13 14 Fed. Commc’ns Comm., No. 15-1211 (D.C. Cir. 2015). Defendant argues that since the decision 15 may resolve several issues central to this case, a stay of all proceedings should be granted until the 16 decision is announced. Plaintiff opposes a stay, arguing the outcome of ACA International is 17 unlikely to effect this case, that the delay from a stay may be substantial, and that it would be harmed 18 by any delay. 19 I. 20 Legal Standard Courts have authority to stay proceedings “incidental to the power inherent in every court to 21 control the disposition of the causes on its docket with economy of time and effort for itself, for 22 counsel, and for litigants.” Landis v. N. Am. Co., 299 U.S. 248, 254–55 (1936). To determine 23 whether a stay is appropriate in a particular case, a court must “weigh competing interests and 24 maintain an even balance.” Id. However, “if there is even a fair possibility that the stay will work 25 damage to some one else, the stay may be inappropriate absent a showing by the moving party of 26 hardship or inequity.” Dependable Highway Exp., Inc. v. Navigators Ins. Co., 498 F.3d 1059, 1066 27 (9th Cir. 2007). 28 1 1 Here, Plaintiff has brought a claim alleging that Defendant made unsolicited, automated calls 2 to her using an artificial or prerecorded voice in violation of 47 U.S.C. § 227, the Telephone 3 Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Concurrent to this litigation, the D.C. Circuit Court is 4 considering ACA International, a consolidated case involving challenges of the FCC’s current 5 interpretation of the TCPA from multiple Circuits Courts. At issue in ACA International is, inter 6 alia, the definition of an automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS). The D.C. Circuit’s ruling on 7 these questions will be binding in this and all other Circuits. See GTE S., Inc. v. Morrison, 199 F.3d 8 733, 743 (4th Cir. 1999). 9 Upon review of the parties’ briefs, the Court finds that the questions raised by ACA 10 International are central to the resolution of this case. Plaintiff argues that since her claim not only 11 alleges use of an ATDS but also an artificial or prerecorded voice, her claim can proceed 12 independently regardless of the outcome in ACA International. This may be true, but Plaintiff’s 13 claims do call into question Defendant’s use of an ATDS. The Court is therefore convinced that the 14 definition of an ATDS will be a central issue in this case. Since the D.C. Circuit’s decision on these 15 questions will be binding on this Court, waiting for the decision in ACA International would 16 simplify the issues in this case significantly, and prevent the parties from litigating issues that may 17 later become moot. 18 Still, the Court must also consider the potential for prejudice to the Plaintiff. Here, the Court 19 finds that the potential for prejudice to Plaintiff is minimal. Oral arguments were held in ACA 20 International on October 19, 2016, so a decision is likely to come out in a matter of a few months. 21 Plaintiff does not articulate any harm that would result from such a stay, other than the harms 22 inherent to any delay. While the Court appreciates Plaintiff’s desire to proceed with her case, 23 litigants may be subject to delays that are “not immoderate in extent and not oppressive in [their] 24 consequences” in the interest of convenience or public welfare. Landis, at 256. The potential 25 duration of a stay in this case is modest, despite Plaintiff’s argument that the case will likely be 26 resolved only after an appeal to the Supreme Court, which could take more than a year. A stay in 27 this case would only apply for the duration of the appeal to the D.C. Circuit, any further appeal is 28 2 1 irrelevant to the instant motion. Given the lack of any particular harm to Plaintiff, the Court finds 2 that the benefits of a stay in this case outweigh the potential for prejudice. 3 IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Defendant’s motion to stay (ECF No. 20) is 4 GRANTED. After the decision in ACA International is announced either party may request that the 5 stay be lifted. 6 7 DATED: June 8, 2017. 8 9 _________________________________ C.W. Hoffman, Jr. United States Magistrate Judge 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3

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