UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA, SACRAMENTO DIVISION
July 8, 2009
BRIAN KORN, INDIVIDUALLY; ON BEHALF OF HIMSELF AND ALL OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED, PLAINTIFFS,
POLO RALPH LAUREN CORPORATION, A DELAWARE CORPORATION; AND DOES 1 THROUGH 50 INCLUSIVE, DEFENDANTS.
JOINT STIPULATION AND ORDER FOR CHANGE OF VENUE PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. § 1404, OR, ALTERNATIVELY, JOINT REQUEST FOR EXPEDITED STATUS CONFERENCE OR HEARING
Plaintiff, Brian Korn ("Korn"), and Defendant, Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation ("Polo") (collectively, "Parties"), by and through their respective attorneys, respectfully submit this Joint Stipulation and [Proposed] Order for Change of Venue Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1404, or, Alternatively, Joint Request for Expedited Status Conference or Hearing relating to the above-referenced matter (the "Korn action").
1. As Polo described in its June 26, 2009 letter to this Court [Dkt. No. 56], the Parties attended Mediation sessions with the Honorable Gary L. Taylor (Ret.) of JAMS on September 9, 2008, October 14, 2008 and December 16, 2008, wherein and after which the Parties reached agreement as to all material terms. These Mediation sessions were held jointly with the attorneys and parties in a related action now pending in the Central District of California, Southern Division, styled Shabaz, et al., v. Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation, et al., Case No. SA CV 07-1349 AG (ANx) (the "Shabaz action"), which was also resolved in conjunction with the Korn action as a result of these Mediation Sessions.
2. In the interest of judicial efficiency and economy, and as provided in the proposed Settlement Agreement, the Plaintiffs in the Korn and Shabaz actions and Polo sought to coordinate the two actions for the sole purpose of settling and seeking court approval of that proposed settlement. They thus filed in this action [Dkt. No. 54] and the Shabaz action two substantially similar Joint Motions for Coordination seeking coordination of Korn with the Shabaz action -- the latter of which was first-filed and featured the more comprehensive putative class.
3. On June 1, 2009, the Honorable Andrew J. Guilford, who is presiding over the Shabaz action, granted the coordination motion, ordering, inter alia, that: (1) the Shabaz action and the Korn action be coordinated for the sole purpose of seeking court approval of the Proposed Class Action Settlement relating to the actions; (2) the coordinated actions be assigned to the Shabaz Court, for the sole purpose of determining whether the Proposed Settlement Agreement relating to the coordinated actions should be approved as fair, reasonable, and adequate pursuant to Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure; and (3) a preliminary approval hearing date and a final approval hearing date be set before the Shabaz Court in accordance with the terms of the proposed Settlement Agreement.
4. On June 4, 2009, this Court denied the Joint Motion:
The Court notes that the parties fail to cite any statutory authority for [the Joint Motion]. The parties seek to coordinate pretrial proceedings with a related case pending in the Central District of California, but do not seek transfer of the case in its entirety pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1404; as such, the Court finds that the provisions of 28 U.S.C. 1407 are applicable. Because the parties have not submitted this case for transfer to the judicial panel on multidistrict litigation, the Court DENIES the motion as procedurally defective. [Dkt. No. 55]
5. On June 22, 2009, without Polo's agreement or consent as to the timing of the filing, Plaintiff Shabaz moved before Judge Guilford for preliminary approval of the proposed Settlement Agreement as to both the Korn and Shabaz actions, and he set a hearing date for his motion of July 20, 2009.
6. The Parties fully support the proposed Settlement Agreement, and submit that it is fair, reasonable, adequate, and in the best interests of the Plaintiffs in both actions, as well as members of the putative classes.
7. On June 26, 2009, Polo filed a letter in this Court apprising the Court of recent events relating to the proposed settlement in the Korn and Shabaz actions, as well as Polo's concerns regarding the appropriateness of the timing of Plaintiff Shabaz's filing of the motion for preliminary approval, in light of this Court's and Judge Guilford's recent rulings. On that same day, Polo filed a notice and request for an expedited status conference or hearing in the Shabaz action.
Accordingly, and in conformance with this Court's June 4, 2009 Order, the Parties stipulate, agree and respectfully request that the Court enter an order providing that this Court transfer the venue of the Korn action, which has been settled in conjunction with the Shabaz action pursuant to the proposed Settlement Agreement, to Judge Guilford, in the Central District of California.
Change of venue is proper here pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1404(a) to the Central District, where the first action (Shabaz) was filed and where the more comprehensive putative class is featured, for the convenience of the Court and the parties. Furthermore, change of venue is proper in the interest of justice, in that it would be unnecessarily duplicative to seek review and approval of the proposed Settlement Agreement in two separate courts, and it would unduly delay resolution of the cases. Similarly, the Courts would unnecessarily expend judicial resources by addressing the same legal and factual issues, which potentially could lead to inconsistent rulings.
This Court has the authority to enter an order for a change of venue, because the Court may transfer any civil action to any other district where it might have been brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1404(a). The Korn action could have been brought in the Central District of California, as Polo owns and operates retail stores within that District.
JOINT REQUEST FOR EXPEDITED STATUS CONFERENCE OR HEARING
Alternatively, should the Court not enter an order providing that this action be transferred to Judge Guilford in the Central District, or should the Court wish to confer with the Parties, the Parties respectfully request an expedited status conference or hearing.
IT IS SO ORDERED that this action is transferred to Judge Guilford in the United States District Court for the Central District of California.
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