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Wyatt v. B.P. America Corp.

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

January 16, 2014

MARK WYATT, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
B.P. AMERICA CORP., et al., Defendants.

ORDER RE DEFENDANTS MOTIONS FOR ENTRY OF JUDGMENT

BARRY TED MOSKOWITZ, Chief District Judge.

Defendants 7-Eleven, Inc. and Circle K Stores, Inc. have moved for entry of judgment against Plaintiffs. (Doc. 32). Defendant Chevron USA, Inc. argues that good cause exists for entry of judgment against Plaintiffs, but asks the Court to withhold entry of judgment pending further notice regarding the parties' settlement efforts. (Doc. 33). Plaintiffs do not oppose the motions. (Doc. 34, 35).

BACKGROUND

Plaintiffs sued multiple California motor fuel retailers and refiners for allegedly selling fuel without disclosing or adjusting for temperature, without disclosing that temperature affects the energy content of the fuel, and overcharging plaintiffs for fuel excise taxes. Plaintiffs claimed Defendants' conduct violated California's Unfair Competition Law (UCL), Consumers Legal Remedy Act (CLRA), breached the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and constituted unjust enrichment. In October 2007, the case was transferred, along with a number of other related actions from other states, to the United States District Court for the District of Kansas ("the MDL Court") for coordinated pre-trial proceedings. (Case No. 07-MD-1840, Doc. No. 192).

On July 19, 2013, the MDL Court granted Chevron USA's motion for summary judgment against Plaintiffs. (Case No. 07-MD-1840, Doc. No. 4600). The MDL Court later extended the grant of summary judgment to the remaining non-settling defendants in the California cases, including those in this case: 7-Eleven and Circle K. (Case No. 07-MD-1840, Doc. No. 4601, 4616). The MDL court recommended remand to this Court and entry of judgment in favor of the Defendants. (Case No. 07-MD-1840, Doc. No. 4617).

ANALYSIS

Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(b) provides that "[w]hen an action presents more than one claim for relief... or when multiple parties are involved, the court may direct entry of a final judgment as to one or more, but fewer than all, claims or parties only if the court expressly determines that there is no just reason for delay."

The Ninth Circuit expanded on how this rule is applied in Wood v. GCC Bend, LLC , 422 F.3d 873 (9th Cir. 2005).

A district court must first determine that it has rendered a final judgment, that is, a judgment that is an ultimate disposition of an individual claim entered in the course of a multiple claims action. Then it must determine whether there is any just reason for delay. It is left to the sound judicial discretion of the district court to determine the appropriate time when each final decision in a multiple claims action is ready for appeal. This discretion is to be exercised in the interest of sound judicial administration.

Id. at 878 (internal quotation marks and citations omitted).

In this case, the parties agree that the MDL Court rendered final judgment against Plaintiffs regarding their California claims. Defendants 7-Eleven and Circle K Stores and Plaintiffs have suggested no grounds for delay. Accordingly, this Court GRANTS Defendants 7-Eleven and Circle K Stores' motion for entry of judgment. (Doc. 32).

Defendant Chevron USA and Plaintiff agree that good cause exists for an entry of judgment in Defendant's favor, but nonetheless ask the Court to stay judgment pending further notice regarding settlement efforts. Chevron USA explains that their settlement discussions contemplate entry of judgment in this case occurring after the MDL Court grants settlement final approval, which is anticipated to occur in the spring of 2014. The parties have established just reason for delay. Accordingly, the Court GRANTS Chevron USA's motion (Doc. 33) but will stay entry of judgment pending further notice regarding the parties' settlement efforts. A status conference will be held on May 13, 2014 at 10:00 a.m. if such notice has not yet been filed.

IT IS SO ORDERED.


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