Jahagirdar v. The Computer Haus NC, Inc. et al
ORDER granting 277 Motion to Bifurcate. Signed by District Judge Max O. Cogburn, Jr on 11/18/2022. (ams)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
SHAILESH JAHAGIRDAR et. al.,
THE COMPUTER HAUS NC, INC. et.
THIS MATTER is before the Court on Defendants’ Motion to Bifurcate Trial. (Doc. No.
277). Plaintiffs oppose the motion.
In this action, Plaintiff and the purported class have sued Defendants for unpaid wages,
among other things. Plaintiffs bring various claims, including claims under the Fair Labor
Standards Act and North Carolina Wage and Hour Act. Through variation iterations of the
Complaint, Plaintiffs have named numerous Defendants and have alleged that various
Defendants are liable under alter ego theories. Plaintiffs also accuse various Defendants of
fraudulent money transfers as a way to avoid having to pay damages.
In the pending motion to bifurcate, Defendants ask the Court to bifurcate the trial into
two separate “phases.” In Phase One, the trier of fact would make determinations regarding the
“employer liability” issues, meaning liability for the Employer Defendants under Federal law, or
any applicable State laws, for wage and hour issues. More specifically, Phase One would
encompass Counts one (I) through twenty-six (XXVI) in Plaintiffs’ Fourth Amended Complaint–
Case 1:20-cv-00033-MOC-WCM Document 285 Filed 11/21/22 Page 1 of 3
which Plaintiffs bring solely against the Employer Defendants–and damages, if any, under those
In Phase Two, if necessary, the trier of fact would determine the “alter ego liability”
issues. This would include determinations related to: (1) whether there has been a fraudulent
transfer as alleged in Count XXVII, and, if so, (2) whether Non-Employer Defendants and
Curran Brothers, LLC, are, in fact, alter egos of Troy Curran, whether Ocean Tech has successor
liability, and whether Mark Curran is, in fact, in partnership with Troy Curran, and (3) what
specific transfers were violative of the subject Washington State statute, and (4) in what
amounts, if any, liability should be extended to each of the Non-Employer Defendants and Mark
Curran Defendants, based on any purported transfers of Employer Defendants’ assets.
As noted, Plaintiffs oppose the motion to bifurcate.
Rule 42(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure grants this Court the authority to
“order a separate trial of one or more separate issues or claims for convenience, to avoid
prejudice, or to expedite and economize.” Walker v. White, No. CIV. 1:06-CV-350, 2010 WL
2390149, at *1 (W.D.N.C. June 10, 2010). Rule 42(b) states:
(b) Separate Trials. The court, in furtherance of convenience or to avoid
prejudice, or when separate trials will be conducive to expedition and economy,
may order a separate trial of any claim, cross-claim, counterclaim, or third-party
claim, or of any separate issue or of any number of claims, cross-claims,
counterclaims, third-party claims, or issues, always preserving inviolate the right
of trial by jury as declared by the Seventh Amendment to the Constitution or as
given by a statute of the United States.
The decision to bifurcate a trial under Rule 42(b) rests within the sound discretion of the trial
court. Bowie v. Sorrell, 209 F.2d 49, 51 (4th Cir. 1953). “The party requesting separate trials
bears the burden of convincing the court that such an exercise of its discretion will (1) promote
Case 1:20-cv-00033-MOC-WCM Document 285 Filed 11/21/22 Page 2 of 3
greater convenience to the parties, witnesses, jurors, and the court, (2) be conducive to
expedition and economy, and (3) not result in undue prejudice to any party.” F & G Scrolling
Mouse, LLC v. IBM Corp., 190 F.R.D. 385, 387 (M.D.N.C. 1999). Of particular importance
here, bifurcation may be appropriate where litigation of one issue may obviate the need to try
another issue. Walker v. White, 2010 WL 2390149, at *1.
The Court will grant Defendants’ motion, as the Court agrees with Defendants that by
bifurcating the trial into two phases, the Court will avoid unfair prejudice, confusing the issues,
misleading the jury, undue delay, wasting time, or needlessly presenting cumulative evidence.
Having considered the motion and reviewed the pleadings, the Court enters the following
IT IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED that the Motion to Bifurcate Trial (Doc. No. 277) is
Signed: November 18, 2022
Case 1:20-cv-00033-MOC-WCM Document 285 Filed 11/21/22 Page 3 of 3
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?