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Wells v. Unilever United States, Inc.

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

November 26, 2013

JOSEPHINE WELLS and CATHERINE RENY, on Behalf of Themselves and All Others Similarly Situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
UNILEVER UNITED STATES, INC., LEK INC., and CONOPCO, INC. d/b/a UNILEVER HOME & PERSONAL CARE USA, Defendants.

SCHIFF HARDIN LLP Jeffrey R. Williams, (Bar No. 84156) Rocky N. Unruh, (Bar No. Bar No. 84049) Sarah D. Youngblood, (Bar No. 244304) San Francisco, CA. Attorneys for Defendants UNILEVER UNITED STATES, INC. and CONOPCO, INC. d/b/a UNILEVER HOME & PERSONAL CARE USA

THE MEDHI LAW FIRM, P.C. Azra Z. Mehdi, San Francisco, CA. COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFFS.

STIPULATION AND [PROPOSED] ORDER STAYING PROCEEDINGS FOR PURPOSES OF MEDIATION Local Rules 7-1(5) and 7-12

SAUNDRA BROWN ARMSTRONG, District Judge.

Pursuant to Civil L.R. 7-1(5) and 7-12, plaintiffs Josephine Wells and Catherine Reny ("Plaintiffs") and defendants Unilever United States, Inc. and Conopco, Inc. ("Unilever"), by their respective counsel, stipulate and agree as follows:[1]

1. Plaintiffs in this case assert a variety of claims relating to a hair care product, the Suave Professionals Keratin Infusion 30 Day Smoothing Kit (the "Product"). Plaintiffs' Complaint (Dkt. # 1) asserts claims for breach of warranty, violation of consumer protection statutes, false advertising, unjust enrichment, strict product liability and negligence/gross negligence on behalf of (a) a putative class consisting of all persons who purchased the Product in any state other than Alabama, Illinois, Kentucky, Nevada and Wisconsin or, in the alternative, (b) all persons who purchased the Product in the state of California. Plaintiffs' counsel have also filed two other putative class actions - Reid v. Unilever United States, Inc., N.D.Ill. Case No. 12-cv-6058, and Naiser v. Unilever United States, Inc., W.D. Ky. Case No. 13-cv-395 - alleging virtually identical claims on behalf of residents of all states other than Kentucky.

2. Shortly after the Reid case was filed, Plaintiffs' counsel and counsel for Unilever attempted to resolve the case by mediation with former federal judge Wayne Anderson. Although that initial effort was unsuccessful, Unilever has successfully resolved 127 claims brought by individuals, including former class representative in the Reid case Angel Lake. Plaintiffs' counsel and counsel for Unilever have also continued to work with the mediator to try to resolve the putative class actions.

3. At the suggestion of the mediator, Unilever and the Reid plaintiffs jointly sought a 60-day stay of proceedings in the Reid case in order to allow Plaintiffs and Unilever to devote their full resources to intensive, good faith efforts to working with the mediator and each other to resolve these related putative class actions, and to avoid the burden and expense of discovery and motions while they do so.[2] See Reid, N.D.Ill. Case No. 12-cv-6058, Dkt. # 79. The Reid parties also committed to seek a stay of this case and the Naiser case pending in the Western District of Kentucky for the same period of time.

4. On November 5, 2013, the judge presiding over the Reid case (Chief Judge Ruben Castillo) granted the joint motion and entered an order staying proceedings in the Reid case for sixty days, until January 6, 2014. Reid, N.D.Ill. Case No. 12-cv-6058, Dkt. # 81.

5. Accordingly, subject to the approval of the Court, Plaintiffs and Unilever (collectively, the "Parties") have stipulated to a stay of all proceedings in this matter, including all discovery, until January 6, 2014, and to defer all deadlines set forth in the Court's October 16, 2013 Order Setting Initial Case Management Conference and ADR Deadlines (Dkt. # 4). At the end of the stay period, if the case has not been resolved, the Parties will promptly report to the Court so that the Court may enter a new scheduling order and determine whether to reset the Case Management Conference that is currently scheduled for January 23, 2014 at 2:45 p.m.

6. The Parties have agreed that the statutes of limitations applicable to any claims relating to the Product of any persons who purchased the Product in the United States from the date in 2011 that it was first made available to consumers through the present will be tolled during the pendency of the requested stay period.

IT IS THEREFORE STIPULATED AND AGREED and the Parties respectfully request through this application that the Court enter an order staying all proceedings in this matter, including all discovery, until January 6, 2014, and deferring all deadlines set forth in the Court's October 16, 2013 Order Setting Initial Case Management Conference and ADR Deadlines (Dkt. # 4).

I attest and certify that I received permission from plaintiffs' counsel before e-filing this document and will retain proof of this permission.

PURSUANT TO STIPULATION AND GOOD CAUSE APPEARING, THE COURT ENTERS THE FOLLOWING ORDER:

All proceedings in this matter, including all discovery, are hereby stayed until January 6, 2014, and all deadlines set forth in the Court's October 16, 2013 Order Setting Initial Case Management Conference and ADR Deadlines (Dkt. # 4) are hereby deferred. At the end of the stay period, if the case has not been resolved, the Parties will promptly report to the Court so that the Court may enter a new scheduling order and determine whether to reset the Case Management Conference that is currently scheduled for January 23, 2014 at 2:45 p.m.


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