UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
October 21, 2011
PHYLLIS GRENZEBACH AS A SURVIVING HEIR OF ROBERT ANDERSON, AND KATHLEEN RYAN AS A SURVIVING HEIR OF MICHAEL MERGEN, ON BEHALF OF THEMSELVES AND A CLASS OF SIMILARLY-SITUATED PERSONS, PLAINTIFFS,
EHC MANAGEMENT, LLC; EVERGREEN AT ARVIN, LLC; EVERGREEN AT CHICO, LLC; EVERGREEN AT FULLERTON, LLC; EVERGREEN AT LAKEPORT, LLC; EVERGREEN AT OROVILLE, LLC; EVERGREEN AT PETALUMA, LLC; EVERGREEN AT SALINAS, LLC; EVERGREEN AT TRACY, LLC; EVERGREEN AT HEARTWOOD AVENUE, LLC; EVERGREEN AT SPRINGS ROAD, LLC; AND DOES 1 THROUGH 100, INCLUSIVE, DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Morrison C. England, Jr. United States District Judge
ORDER STAYING ACTION
Through the present action, Plaintiffs allege noncompliance with California's minimum staffing requirements for skilled nursing facilities. Defendants previously brought to the Court's attention a case, Wehlage v. EmpRes Healthcare, Inc., et al., N.D.Cal. Case No. 4:10-cv-058390-CW filed in 2010 prior to commencement of the instant lawsuit. By Order filed May 3, 2011, this Court ordered the present action stayed pending disposition of Wehlage. Both cases involve similar class-wide claims that inadequate nursing levels violated residents' rights under California Business and Professions Code § 1430(b), and both allege violations of California Business and Professions Code §§ 17200 et seq. and 17500 et seq. The Defendants in both lawsuits also appear to be markedly similar. Moreover, according to Plaintiffs, depending on how Wehlage proceeds in the Northern District, they may opt to join their claims there and dismiss the present case altogether.
Now before the Court is a second motion, filed on behalf of Plaintiffs, seeking a further stay of this matter. The terms of the previous stay held this case in abeyance until certain motions to dismiss in Wehlage were adjudicated. Although an initial decision on those motions to dismiss was reached on May 25, 2011, the court permitted the filing of a First Amended Complaint and a second round of motions attacking that First Amended Complaint ensued. Counsel for Plaintiffs have advised this Court that the September 22, 2011 hearing on those motions has recently been vacated given the parties' agreement to submit the matter to mediation in the meantime.
Given the unsettled status of the Wehlage action, as well as the real potential that the disposition of that claim could profoundly affect how Plaintiffs opt to proceed forward with this matter, the Court agrees that further stay of this case is warranted. Plaintiffs' Motion to Continue Court-Ordered Stay (ECF No. 43) is accordingly GRANTED.*fn1
The parties are directed to notify the Court not later than ten (10) days following the date a ruling has been made by the Northern District on the motions to dismiss now being held in abeyance pending mediation in the Wehlage matter. The parties are further directed to attach a copy of the Northern District's ruling to their notification in that regard. Finally, in the event that no ruling has been made on the Wehlage motions, the parties are directed to file a Status Report not later than sixty (60) days following the date of this Order to advise this Court of where matters stand.
IT IS SO ORDERED.