Yates v. Traeger Pellet Grills
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER denying Defendant's 243 Emergency Motion to Stay. Notwithstanding this denial, the Court will extend the due date for Traeger's opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment until December 1, 2023. Signed by Judge Dale A. Kimball on 11/13/2023. (eat)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF UTAH, CENTRAL DIVISION
Michael Yates, et al.,
ORDER DENYING MOTION TO STAY
Case No. 2:19-cv-00723-DAK
District Judge Dale A. Kimball
Traeger Pellet Grills,
Presently before the Court is Defendant Traeger Grills, LLC’s, “Emergency Motion to Stay
Proceedings.”1 Plaintiffs Michael Yates and Norman L. Jones’ filed an Opposition.2 The Court
finds oral argument will not be helpful in determining the Motion. See D.U. Civ. R. 7-1(g). Having
considered the parties’ briefing and the applicable law, the Court will deny Defendant’s Motion to
Stay for the reasons set forth below.
The parties agree that Defendant’s request for a stay, pending its Rule 23(f) request for
discretionary appeal before the Tenth Circuit, is governed by a “flexible application” of the fourfactor balancing test used in the context of preliminary injunctions,3 namely:
(1) whether there is a substantial likelihood that the movant will succeed on the
merits of the claims/appeal; (2) whether the movant will suffer irreparable injury
if an injunction/stay does not issue; (3) whether others will suffer harm if an
injunction/stay is granted; and (4) whether the public interest will be furthered by
ECF No. 243.
ECF No. 251.
ECF No. 243 at 3–4; ECF No. 251 at 1 (citing Sherman v. Trinity Teen Sols., Inc., No. 2:20-CV215, 2022 WL 19039113, at *1 (D. Wyo. Dec. 6, 2022)).
Sherman v. Trinity Teen Sols., Inc., No. 2:20-CV-215, 2022 WL 19039113, at *1 (D. Wyo. Dec.
6, 2022). Defendant does not persuade the Court that these factors militate in favor of a stay.
First, and most significantly, Defendant identifies no irreparable injury in the absence of
a stay. Defendant suggests its litigation expenses constitute irreparable harm. Yet it has long
been the law that “[m]ere litigation expense, even substantial and unrecoupable cost, does not
constitute irreparable injury.” Renegotiation Bd. v. Bannercraft Clothing Co., 415 U.S. 1, 24
(1974); see Coinbase, Inc. v. Bielski, 599 U.S. 736, 746 (2023). Even under the “flexible
approach” suggested by the parties, the Court finds such expenses do not constitute irreparable
injury. Defendant identifies no other potential irreparable harm.
Second, Defendant asserts Judge Jenkins’ conclusion that damages could be proved on a
class-wide basis was “manifestly erroneous.” The Sherman case notes this “‘is a difficult
standard to meet’ and there is a ‘high bar for doing so.’” 2022 WL 19039113, at *1. Even
without wading into the appropriate level of scrutiny of experts at the class-certification stage,
the Court finds Defendant has not met its burden here. As Judge Jenkins noted, the relative
market prices of Defendant’s pellets and its competitors’ pellets demonstrate Defendant’s pellets
sell at prices similar to pure wood products (consistent with the representations on Defendant’s
bags) and at a premium to blended or flavored products (consistent with the content of
Defendant’s bags). For example, Defendant’s mesquite pellets, comprised of a base wood (such
as alder or oak) and flavored with mesquite oil, sell for the same price as pellets made from pure
mesquite wood. See ECF No. 237 at 11–12. Similarly, Defendant’s hickory pellets, represented
to be “100% pure” or “all natural” hickory, sell at a premium to products advertised as a hickory
blend, which is what Defendant’s pellet bags actually contain. See id. at 7, 12. This Court
agrees with Judge Jenkins’ finding that the price differential constituted sufficient evidence that
damages could be measured on a class-wide basis. By reference to these examples, one can
compare the price of what Defendant offered (“100% pure” or “all natural” mesquite or hickory)
with the price of what consumers received (base wood with added flavor or a hickory blend).
Defendant offers no authority or satisfactory explanation to show this finding–that comparative
market prices afford a basis for finding damages can be proved on a class-wide basis–is
Third, the Court finds the risk of harm to others and the public interest factors are
effectively neutral here. Neither party points to any significant harm or public interest not
implicated in every case in which a stay is considered.
Based on the foregoing, the Court DENIES Defendant’s Emergency Motion to Stay. (ECF
No. 243). Notwithstanding this denial, the Court will extend the due date for Traeger’s opposition
to Plaintiffs’ Motion for Partial Summary Judgment until December 1, 2023.
DATED this 13th day of November 2023.
Dale A. Kimball
United States District Judge
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