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Lopez v. Aqui Es Texcoco, Inc.

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

June 27, 2013

EDUARDO MALDONADO LOPEZ and ALEJANDRO LOPEZ FERREIRA, Plaintiffs,
v.
AQUI ES TEXCOCO, INC., FRANCISCO PEREZ, and DOES 1-10, inclusive, Defendants. AQUI ES TEXCOCO, INC., a California Corporation; FRANCISCO PEREZ, an individual, Plaintiffs,
v.
EDUARDO MALDONADO LOPEZ, an individual; ALEJANDRO LOPEZ FERREIRA, an individual; SANDRA CASTILLO, an individual; all defendants doing business as Aqui Esta Texcoco; AQUI ESTA TEXCOCO, a business entity; DOES 1 through 10, inclusive, Defendants.

ORDER DENYING MOTION TO CONSOLIDATE CASES FOR TRIAL AND ADOPT A UNIVERSAL SCHEDULING ORDER

ROGER T. BENITEZ, District Judge.

Before the Court is a motion to consolidate two cases for trial. The cases are: Eduardo Maldonado Lopez et al. v. Aqui Es Texcoco, Inc. et al., U.S. District Court Case No. 3:12-cv-01215-BEN-WVG ("the Wage case"), and Aqui Es Texcoco, Inc. et al. v. Eduardo Maldonado Lopez et al., U.S. District Court Case No. 3:12 cv-02113-BEN-WVG ("the Trademark case"). In the Wage case, Eduardo Maldonado Lopez and Alejandro Lopez Ferreira assert claims for unpaid overtime and other wages against defendants Aqui Es Texcoco, Inc. and Francisco Perez. In the Trademark case, Aqui es Texcoco and Francisco Perez assert claims against Eduardo Maldonado Lopez, Alejandro Lopez Ferreira, and others. That case involves claims of trademark infringement, trade libel and trade secret misappropriation.

Aqui Es Texcoco, Inc. and Francisco Perez request consolidation and adoption of the Court's scheduling order in the Trademark case for both actions. Currently, the Wage case has a Final Pretrial Conference set for October 28, 2013, and the Trademark case has a Final Pretrial Conference set for April 7, 2013. Discovery is closed in the Wage case.

The extent to which the opposing parties support or oppose consolidation is unclear. On June 12, 2013, counsel for Eduardo Maldonado Lopez, Alejandro Lopez Ferriera, and others in the Trademark case filed a notice of joinder on his clients' behalf. On June 25, 2013, the attorney for Eduardo Maldonado Lopez and Alejandro Lopez Ferriera in the Wage case opposed the motion on Lopez's behalf (the attorney stated that he had been unable to reach Ferreira). The Court need not resolve this inconsistency. It declines to order consolidation. See CivLR 7.1.d.1 ("A judge may, in the judge's discretion, decide a motion without oral argument.")

The Court has discretion to consolidate cases that involve a "a common question of law or fact." Fed.R.Civ.P. 42(a); In re Adams Apple, Inc., 829 F.2d 1484, 1487 (9th Cir. 1987). However, "[w]here a case that is ready for or close to trial would be held up pending completion of pretrial proceedings in another case, courts have consistently denied consolidation." Antoninetti v. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., No 05-CV-1660-J WMC, 2007 WL 2669531, at *2 (S.D. Cal. Sept. 7, 2007). Because discovery has closed in the Wage case, and because the legal and factual overlap between these cases is minimal, consolidation for the purposes of trial is not appropriate at this juncture. The motion is denied. The hearing on this motion, scheduled for July 8, 2013, is vacated.

IT IS SO ORDERED.


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