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Jbr, Inc. v. Keurig Green Mountain, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. California

May 2, 2014

JBR, INC. (D/B/A ROGERS FAMILY COMPANY), Plaintiff,
v.
KEURIG GREEN MOUNTAIN, INC. (F/K/A GREEN MOUNTAIN COFFEE ROASTERS, INC. AND AS SUCCESSOR TO KEURIG INCORPORATED), Defendant.

ORDER

CHARLES R. BREYER, District Judge.

This matter is before the court on the motion by Keurig Green Mountain, Inc.'s ("defendant" or "Keurig") to stay this action pending a transfer decision by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ("JPML" or "MDL Panel"). (ECF 27.) JBR, Inc. ("plaintiff" or "JBR") opposes defendant's motion. (ECF 29.) The court has decided this matter without a hearing. As explained below, the court GRANTS defendant's motion to stay.

I. INTRODUCTION

The claims in this case arise out of defendant's alleged monopolization of the market for "single-serve brewers... and single-serving portion packs' of coffees used in those brewers." (Compl. ¶ 8, ECF 1.) Plaintiff is a "roaster, packager, and seller of coffee products...." ( Id. ¶ 5.) Defendant is a manufacturer of coffee brewers. ( See id. ¶¶ 6-11.)

Plaintiff's complaint, filed on March 13, 2014, alleges the following thirteen claims: (1) monopolization in violation of section 2 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 2; (2) exclusive dealing in violation of section 2 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 2 and section 3 of the Clayton Act, 15 U.S.C. § 14; (3) monopoly leveraging in violation of section 2 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 2; (4) sham litigation in violation of section 2 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 2; (5) patent misuse in violation of section 2 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 2; (6) technological tying in violation of section 2 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 2 and section 3 of the Clayton Act, 15 U.S.C. § 14; (7) anticompetitive product redesign in violation of section 2 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 2; (8) attempted monopolization, in the alternative, in violation of section 2 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 2; (9) violation of section 43(a) of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a); (10) violation of the Cartwright Act, California Business and Professions Code sections 16720, et seq.; (11) common law unfair competition; (12) violation of the Unfair Competition Law, California Business and Professions Code sections 17200, et seq.; and (13) intentional interference with prospective economic advantage. ( See Compl. at 27-40.)

On March 20, 2014, the plaintiff in the action captioned as Ney Silverman Insurance Associates, LLC v. Keurig Green Mountain, Inc., et al., Case No. 14-cv-01671 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 11, 2014) (the "Ney Silverman Action"), moved the MDL Panel under 28 U.S.C § 1407, for transfer of all the actions filed against Keurig to the Southern District of New York for coordinated or consolidated pretrial proceedings. (Case MDL No. 2542, ECF 1.) The MDL Panel will convene a hearing session on May 29, 2014. ( Id., ECF 39.)

Keurig now moves to stay the present action pending the MDL Panel's decision. (ECF 12.) JBR opposes the motion. (ECF 29.) Keurig has replied. (ECF 34.)

II. LEGAL STANDARD ON A MOTION TO STAY

It is well-settled that district courts have the inherent power to stay proceedings. See Landis v. N. Am. Co., 299 U.S. 248, 254-55 (1936) ("The power to stay proceedings is incidental to the power inherent in every court to control the disposition of the causes on its docket with economy of time and effort for itself, for counsel, and for litigants.") (Cardozo, J.). District courts in ruling on motions for stay must "exercise [their] judgment, which must weigh competing interests and maintain an even balance." Id. at 255-56. Courts consider the following factors when deciding whether to grant a motion to stay proceedings pending the MDL Panel's decision: "(1) potential prejudice to the non-moving party; (2) hardship and inequity to the moving party; and (3) the judicial resources that would be saved by avoiding duplicative litigation if the cases are in fact consolidated." Rivers v. Walt Disney Co., 980 F.Supp. 1358, 1360 (C.D. Cal. 1997).

III. DISCUSSION

Defendant generally argues a stay of all the proceedings is appropriate in the present case "in order to avoid significant inefficiency and the risk of inconsistent outcomes." (ECF 12 at 2.) Plaintiff responds "there is no legitimate basis to delay" the proceedings in the present case. (ECF 29 at 3.)

The court considers the relevant factors to determine whether a stay is warranted in the present case.

A. Potential Prejudice to Plaintiff JBR

In essence, plaintiff argues a stay will cause "severe prejudice" to plaintiff because a stay will delay a ruling on plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction. (ECF 29 at 4-5.) Defendant responds plaintiff's own actions show ...


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