Radish Seed Growers' Association et al v. Northwest Bank
OPINION AND ORDER: Adopting Findings and Recommendation 30 . All proceedings in this case are STAYED, including consideration of defendant's Motion to Dismiss 6 , pending the resolution of the Ninth Circuit's decision in Northwe st Bank v. McKee Family Farms, 9th Cir. Case No. 16-35879. Defendant's Motion to Strike 18 is DENIED, without prejudice to its renewal should defendants prevail on appeal. Defendant's request for oral argument is denied as unnecessary. Signed on 12/5/2017 by Judge Ann L. Aiken. (ck)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF OREGON
Case No. 6:17-cv-00716-JR
OPINION AND ORDER
RADISH SEED GROWERS' ASSOCIATION,
an Oregon cooperative; MID VALLEY
FARMS, INC., an Oregon corporation; and
KCK FARl\ifS LLC, an Oregon limited liability
NORTHWEST BANK, a Pennsylvania statechartered savings association formerly known
as Northwest Savings Bank,
AIKEN, District Judge:
On October 3, 2017, Magistrate Judge Russo filed her Findings and Recommendation
("F&R"), recommending that (1) defendant's motion to strike the complaint be denied and (2)
this action be stayed pending the resolution of the pending appeal in a related proceeding. Both
parties filed objections, and the matter is now before me. Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b).
recommendations to dismiss for failure to state a claim-are subject to de novo review by the
- OPINION AND ORDER
district judge. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1 )(C). If a pretrial matter is not specifically designated
for de nova review, however, the district judge "may revisit" the decision only if it is "clearly
erroneous or contrary to law." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(l)(A). Defendant's motion to strike is,
essentially, a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. The decision to stay proceedings, by
contrast, is not included in the list of matters subject to de nova review. Accordingly, I review
the recommendation to stay proceedings for clear error and the recommendation to deny the antiSLAPP motion de nova.
I am mindful, however, of the close relationship between Judge
Russo's reasoning regarding the motion to strike and her reasoning regarding the need for a stay.
As a result, I have carefully examined the reasoning underlying all sections of the F &R.
Having reviewed the F &R, I find no enor, clear or otherwise. The pending appeal
prevents me from determining, at this stage, whether the absolute litigation privilege or the antiSLAPP statute bar plaintiffs' claims; both issues turn on whether plaintiff can make out a claim
for wrongful initiation of civil proceedings. Judge Russo correctly noted that the great weight of
authority holds that such a claim cannot proceed while the appeal of the supposedly wrongful
lawsuit is pending. In addition to being consistent with the weight of authority, waiting for the
resolution of the pending appeal has obvious benefits: it minimizes the risk of conflicting judicial
decisions, conserves judicial resources, and will aid the Court in reaching the correct result in
this case. Although I fully understand why plaintiffs oppose a stay and do not doubt the cost that
waiting imposes on them, I nonetheless agree with Judge Russo that a stay is warranted here.
Reviewing de nova, I agree that defendants' motion to strike should be denied, without
prejudice to its renewal should defendants prevail on appeal. I find no clear enor in Judge
Russo's recommendation to stay proceedings. I ADOPT the F&R (doc. 30) and STAY all
proceedings in this case, including consideration of defendant's motion to dismiss (doc. 6),
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pending the resolution of the Ninth Circuit's decision in Northwest Bank v. McKee Family
Farms, 9th Cir. Case No. 16-35879.
Defendant's motion to strike (doc. 18) is DENIED.
Defendant's request for oral argument is denied as unnecessary.
IT IS SO ORDERED .
. ~ of December 2017.
Dated this V
United States District Judge
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