SLOANE v. GULF INTERSTATE FIELD SERVICES, INC
ORDER: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that: Defendant's Motion to Stay Pending 204 is DENIED. The case management deadlines set forth in this Court's 3/24/2017 Order 193 , remain in FULL FORCE AND EFFECT. Signed by Honorable Matthew W. Brann on 6/7/2017. (jn)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
GULF INTERSTATE FIELD
JUNE 7, 2017
Counsel for Plaintiff initiated the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”)
case Hughes v. Gulf Interstate Field Services, Inc., in early 2014 in
the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.
On August 8, 2016, the Honorable Edmund A. Sargus, Jr., to whom
the Hughes matter was assigned, entered summary judgment in favor
of the Defendant.
In September 2015, counsel for Plaintiff filed the present action in the
United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania,
prior to its transfer to this Court for purposes of proper venue in late
This Court entered a Memorandum and Order denying class and
collective certification on March 24, 2017. ECF Nos. 192–93.
Plaintiff’s counsel now petitions this Court, approximately one month
before the July 18, 2017 dispositive motions deadline, to stay this
matter pending the outcome on appeal in Hughes before the United
States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
“A stay is an extraordinary measure. The party seeking a stay must
offer compelling reasons to abridge the opposing party’s right to
litigate.” Pennsylvania ex rel. Kane v. McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.,
No. 1:13-CV-605, 2013 WL 1397434, at *2 (M.D. Pa. Apr. 5, 2013)
(Conner, J.) (citing CTF Hotel Holdings, Inc. v. Marriot Intern., Inc.,
381 F.3d 131, 139 (3d Cir. 2004)).
As the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has
explained, “whether to grant a stay . . . is committed to the district
court’s discretion, since it is a matter of the court’s inherent power to
conserve judicial resources by controlling its own docket.” Cost Bros.
v. Travelers Indem. Co., 760 F.2d 58, 60 (3d Cir. 1985).
In determining whether to grant a stay, this Court typically considers
four factors: “(1) the length of the requested stay; (2) the hardship that
the moving party would face in going forward with the litigation;
(3) the injury that a stay would cause the non-moving party; (4) and
whether a stay will simplify issues and promote judicial economy.”
Scicchitano v. County of Northumberland, 2015 WL 7568357, at *2
(M.D. Pa. Nov. 25, 2015) (Brann, J.). See also Toshiba Samsung
Storage Tech. Korea Corp. v. LG Elecs., Inc., 193 F. Supp. 3d 345,
348 (D. Del. 2016) (“This Court has typically considered three factors
when deciding a motion to stay: (1) whether granting the stay will
simplify the issues for trial; (2) the status of the litigation, particularly
whether discovery is complete and a trial date has been set; and
(3) whether a stay would cause the non-movant to suffer undue
prejudice from any delay, or allow the movant to gain a clear tactical
Although Hughes, like this case, dealt with certification broadly, it
involved different circuit law, different plaintiffs, different work sites,
different postures, and distinct exemptions. See, e.g., Tr. of Nov. 21,
2016 Oral Arg. at 84– 85 (“MR. JONES: There is one additional
[exemption] under the FLSA that doesn’t exist under Pennsylvania.”;
“MR. JONES: It [Hughes] doesn’t control, number one, because there
is no summary judgment before this Court.”).
Further, this Court made two substantive citations to Hughes in its
67-page Memorandum denying certification.
The first citation reads: “Because Plaintiffs have engaged in
significant discovery in the three years since the Hughes case
was initiated, they must offer something more than a modest
factual showing to obtain certification.” 2017 WL 1105236, at
*7. The appeal in Hughes cannot retroactively diminish the
amount of discovery that has been exchanged here and
correspondingly, will not alter the applicable standard in this
matter. Accordingly, a stay is not warranted on that ground.
The second citation reads: “Further, scouring the employment
circumstances of the putative class reveals that the only other
potentially viable subclass would perhaps be that comprised of
individuals who worked at the MarkWest Ohio site. The
problem with that subclass is, of course, that it was already
expressly rejected in Hughes.” Id. at *13. Validation of a
MarkWest Ohio subclass in the Hughes appeal would not alter
my certification decision. In that case, those Ohio class claims
would be litigated in Hughes as originally brought and not
duplicated here. Thus, a stay is not warranted on that ground.
Further, as counsel for Defendant sets forth in its brief, the outcome of
the Hughes appeal would be instructive at best here, given that this
case involved substantial evidence favoring exempt status and casting
doubt on the propriety of certification. See ECF No. 206 at 2–3.
I also note that, for two cases so inextricably linked, appellate counsel
in Hughes have given remarkably short shrift to my Memorandum
Opinion denying certification in Sloane. In fact, counsel for Plaintiff
neglected to cite my decision in either of its briefs before the Sixth
Circuit, and counsel for Defendant quoted it just twice in its 66-page
responsive brief, both times for propositions I had reached
independently of Chief Judge Sargus’s analysis. That is an oddity for
an appeal whose outcome will “likely impact this Court’s ultimate
resolution of Sloane’s FLSA claims.” ECF No. 204 at 1.
Moreover, the Defendant would suffer significant prejudice from a
stay that stonewalls this matter’s progression on the literal brink of the
dispositive motion’s deadline.
AND NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:
Defendant’s Motion to Stay Pending Resolution of Hughes Appeal,
ECF No. 204, is DENIED.
The case management deadlines set forth in this Court’s March 24,
2017 Order, ECF No. 193, remain in FULL FORCE AND EFFECT.
The Clerk of Court is directed to docket this Order as a “written
opinion,” pursuant to the E-Government Act of 2002.
BY THE COURT:
s/ Matthew W. Brann
Matthew W. Brann
United States District Judge
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