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Trabakoolas v. Watts Water Technologies, Inc.

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

November 6, 2013

JASON TRABAKOOLAS, SHEILA STETSON, JACK WHEELER, CHRISTIE MOONEY AND KEVEN TURNER individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
WATTS WATER TECHNOLOGIES, INC., WATTS REGULATOR CO., AND WOLVERINE BRASS, INC., Defendants.

DANIEL E. GUSTAFSON, ESQ., JASON S. KILENE, ESQ., MICHELLE J. LOOBY, ESQ., GUSTAFSON GLUEK PLLC, Minneapolis, MN, Attorneys for Plaintiffs.

DAVID S. MacCUISH, TODD BENOFF, LINDSAY G. CARLSON, ALSTON & BIRD LLP, David S. MacCuish Attorneys for Defendants WATTS REGULATOR CO., WATTS WATER TECHNOLOGIES, INC. and WOLVERINE BRASS, INC.

CLASS ACTION JOINT REPORT ON STATUS OF SETTLEMENT NEGOTIATIONS AND STIPULATION AND ORDER STAYING LITIGATION AND PENDING DEADLINES UNTIL DECEMBER 10, 2013

WILLIAM H. ORRICK, III, District Judge.

Pursuant to Civil Local Rule 6-2, Plaintiffs Jason Trabakoolas, Sheila Stetson, Jack Wheeler, Christie Mooney, and Keven Turner and Defendants Watts Water Technologies, Inc., Watts Regulator Co., and Wolverine Brass, Inc., hereby submit this Joint Report on Status of Settlement Negotiations and Stipulated Request for Order Staying the Litigation and Pending Deadlines until December 10, 2013 in order to focus on settlement discussions and to allow for a further mediation.

WHEREAS, the parties engaged in two full day private mediation sessions before former United States District Judge, Hon. Layn Phillips (Ret.) on February 20, 2013 and August 20, 2013, in an effort to resolve this case.

WHEREAS, at the August 20, 2013, mediation session, the parties made significant progress toward settlement. Judge Phillips directed the parties to complete a Term Sheet on non-monetary terms and to respond to a mediator's proposal that established a dollar range within which he proposed that the case should be settled.

WHEREAS, on August 22, 2013, the Court stayed this action for 45 days, or until October 7, 2013, based on the parties' stipulated request that they be permitted to focus on settling rather than litigating this case. (ECF No. 258.) On October 8, 2013, the Court extended the stay at the parties' request for November 7, 2013 in order to allow the parties to further explore settlement. (ECF No. 261.) The parties appreciate the Court's orders and have been able to make progress towards settlement during the stay.

WHEREAS, the parties reached agreement on a Settlement Term Sheet that outlines the framework for resolution of this purported class action.

WHEREAS, the parties have also worked on other issues necessary to allow them to respond to Judge Phillips' bracketed settlement range. Progress has been made. The parties intend to continue these discussions and have scheduled a further mediation session with Judge Phillips for December 6, 2013. This is the first date that Judge Phillips had available.

WHEREAS, the parties intend to continue their settlement discussions before the scheduled mediation but wish to continue the stay past the December 6, 2013 mediation in the event that their private discussions do not result in an agreement. The parties expect to know whether they will reach a settlement by then.

WHEREAS, the Court is invited to contact Judge Phillips should it have any questions about the settlement mediation process that he is supervising. (lphillips@irell.com; (949) 760-5288).

WHEREAS, the Court entered an order on July 30, 2013 (ECF No. 211) setting certain deadlines for this case:

1. Plaintiffs' Rebuttal Expert Reports, September 30, 2013;
2. Expert Discovery Cutoff, October 21, 2013;
3. Daubert Hearing, December 6, 2013;
4. Class Certification Hearing, February 5, 2014;
5. Pre-trial Conference, November 17, 2014; and
6. Trial by Jury, December 1, 2014.

WHEREAS, at the time of the initial Stay, the parties were in an intensive phase of the litigation, with numerous deadlines which would have demanded significant resources from the parties and the Court. As more particularly described in the parties' initial stipulation, rebuttal expert reports would be due, many expert and percipient witness depositions would have to be taken, and numerous pending and anticipated motions would have to go forward. (ECF No. 258, p.2.) All this litigation would have to be resumed if the stay were now lifted.

WHEREAS, due to the expense and time associated with these litigation activities, the parties ask the Court to stay all litigation activity until December 10, 2013, so they can continue to focus their efforts on reaching a resolution and, if necessary, participate in the December 6, 2013 mediation before Judge Phillips. The parties' counsel would be pleased to discuss this request for an extended stay with the Court and would, if the Court wishes, appear for a status conference with the Court concerning any issues that the Court would like the parties to address.

WHEREAS, the parties do not believe that this further stay will impact the scheduled pre-trial conference or the trial date set by the Court.

WHEREAS, the parties will submit a joint report to the Court advising of the status of their remaining settlement discussions before a further stay expires and, if necessary, propose a schedule for further proceedings.

WHEREAS, the parties request the Court schedule a status conference after December 10, 2013. In the event the final terms of a settlement are agreed upon, the parties shall notify the Court prior to this status conference.

IT IS SO STIPULATED.

Signature Attestation

I, David S. MacCuish, am the ECF User whose ID and password are being used to file this Joint Report on Status of Settlement Negotiations and Stipulation and [Proposed] Order Staying Litigation and Pending Deadlines Until December 10, 2013. In compliance with Civil L.R. 5-1(i)(3), I hereby attest that Daniel E. Gustafson of Gustafson Gluek PLLC has concurred in this filing.

PURSUANT TO STIPULATION, IT IS SO ORDERED. A Case Management Conference will be held on December 17, 2013 at 2 p.m. in Courtroom 2. The parties shall file a Joint Status Report no later than December 12, 2013, describing the status of the settlement negotiations and, if the case has not settled, suggesting new dates for the class certification hearing and associated events.


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