United States District Court, E.D. California
ANGELA D. MAYFIELD, Plaintiff,
COUNTY OF MERCED, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER RE: PLAINTIFF'S AMENDED MOTION FOR ENTRY OF SEPARATE JUDGMENT (Doc. 73) and REQUEST FOR STAY OF PROCEEDINGS (Doc. 87).
LAWRENCE J. O'NEILL, District Judge.
Plaintiff Angela D. Mayfield worked as a contracted criminal defense attorney at the Law Office of Morse & Pfeiff, dba Merced Defense Associates ("MDA"). First Amended Complaint ("FAC"), Doc. 67, ¶¶ 8, 10. Ms. Mayfield's position was to provide services to indigent criminal defendants under MDA's contract with the County of Merced ("the County"). Id. at ¶ 8. MDA terminated its contract with Ms. Mayfield on October 11, 2012. Id. at ¶¶ 10, 14. Plaintiff filed a pro se suit against MDA, her supervisors at MDA, Cindy Morse, and Thomas Pfeiff (collectively "Lawyer Defendants") and the County. Id. In the FAC, Plaintiff filed alleged the following seven causes of action against the County: (1) race and sex discrimination under Title VII of the federal 1964 Civil Rights Act ("Title VII"), (2) race and sex discrimination under California's Fair Employment and Housing Act ("FEHA"), (3) failure to prevent discrimination under FEHA, (4) retaliation under Title VII and FEHA, (5) retaliation under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. § 206, and Cal. Lab. Code ("CLC") § 1197.5, (6) violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and (7) race discrimination and retaliation under 42 U.S.C. § 1981.
The FAC also alleged the following causes of action against MDA and Lawyer Defendants: (1) race and sex discrimination under Title VII (as to MDA), (2) race and sex discrimination under the FEHA (as to MDA), (3) retaliation under Title VII (as to MDA) and the FEHA (as to MDA and Lawyer Defendants), (4) retaliation under 29 U.S.C. § 206 and Cal. Lab. Code § 1197.5 (as to MDA and Lawyer Defendants), (6) violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment (as to Lawyer Defendants), (7) race discrimination and retaliation under 42 U.S.C. § 1981 (as to MDA and Lawyer Defendants), (8) wrongful discharge (as to MDA), and (9) failure to reimburse under Cal. Lab. Code. § 2802 (as to MDA).
On November 10, 2014, this Court granted the County's motion to dismiss all claims against it. Mem. Decision and Order Re: Def. County of Merced's Mot. to Dismiss, Doc. 69. The Court dismissed claims brought under Title VII, FEHA and the FLSA on the basis that Plaintiff did not plausibly allege that she had an employment relationship with the County. Id. at 5-11. Plaintiff's Monell claims were dismissed because she did not plausibly allege that the County had a policy, practice, or custom of discrimination or that the County could be liable for the allegedly discriminatory practices of other defendants in the case. Id. at 12-16. Finally, Plaintiff's Section 1981 claims were dismissed because she did not plausibly allege that she had a contractual relationship with the County. Id. at 16-18.
On the same date, this Court granted in part and denied in part Lawyer Defendants' and MDA's motion to dismiss claims against them. Doc 70. The following claims were allowed to move forward: (1) retaliation under 29 U.S.C. § 206 (as to MDA and Mr. Pfeiff), (2) retaliation under FEHA and Cal. Labor Code § 1197.5 (as to MDA), (3) race and sex discrimination under FEHA (as to MDA), (4) wrongful discharge (as to MDA), (5) failure to reimburse under Cal. Lab. Code. § 2802 (as to MDA), and (5) race discrimination and retaliation under 42 U.S.C. § 1981 (as to MDA and Lawyer Defendants). Id. at 13-14.
Now before the Court is Plaintiff's amended motion requesting that final judgment be entered against the County pursuant to Federal Rule 54(b). Am. Mot. For Entry of Separate J. ("MEJ"), Doc. 73. Defendant filed its Opposition December 24, 2014. Mem. of P. & A. in Opp'n to Pl.'s Mot. for Entry of Separate J. ("MEJ Opposition"), Doc. 78. Plaintiff replied January 5, 2015. Doc. 80. In response to this Court's request for supplemental briefing, Doc. 82, Plaintiff entered a motion to stay remaining claims in this case on January 20, 2015. Req. for Stay of Proceedings Pending Appeal ("Stay Motion"), Doc. 87. Defendants replied January 30, 2015. Defs.' Resp. to Pl.'s Supplemental Briefing ("Stay Opposition"), Doc. 91.
II. LEGAL STANDARDS
A. Entry of Final Judgment Under Rule 54(b)
Federal courts of appeals have jurisdiction only over appeals from "final decisions" of federal district courts. 28 U.S.C. § 1291. Rule 54(b) creates an exception to this finality rule. The rule provides that in actions involving multiple parties or more than one claim for relief, "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." Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(b). "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." Curtiss-Wright Corp. v. General Elec. Co., 446 U.S. 1, 8 (1980); Sears, Roebuck & Co. v. Mackey, 351 U.S. 427, 437 (1956); Wood v. GCC Bend, LLC, 422 F.3d 873, 878 (9th Cir. 2005).
Rule 54(b) requires the presence of three conditions: (1) multiple claims or multiple parties; (2) at least one claim or the rights and liabilities of one party have been finally decided; and (3) and there is no just reason for any delay in entering judgment and allowing an appeal. See Edison v. United States, No. 1:12-CV-02026-AWI, 2014 WL 896977, at *2 (E.D. Cal. Mar. 6, 2014). When determining whether there is a "just reason for delay" a court must "take into account judicial administrative interests as well as the equities involved" and "may consider factors such as whether the claims under review were separable from the other remaining to be adjudicated.'" Curtiss-Wright, 446 U.S. 446 at 8. The district court must preserve "the historic federal policy against piecemeal appeals." Id .; Sears, Roebuck, 351 U.S. at 438; Wood, 422 F.3d at 878-79. The court making a Rule 54(b) determination "should not direct entry of judgment under Rule 54(b) unless it has made specific findings setting forth the reasons for its order." In re Lindsay, 59 F.3d 942, 951 (9th Cir. 1995) (internal citations and quotations omitted).
B. Stay of Proceedings
"A trial court may, with propriety, find it is efficient for its own docket and the fairest course for the parties to enter a stay of an action before it, pending resolution of independent proceedings which bear upon the case." Leyva v. Certified Grocers of California, Ltd., 593 F.2d 857, 863-64 (9th Cir. 1979). However, a stay may be inappropriate "if there is even a fair possibility that the stay will work damage to someone else... absent a showing by the moving party of hardship or inequity.'" Dependable Highway Exp., Inc. v. Navigators Ins. Co., 498 F.3d 1059, 1066 (9th Cir. 2007) (quoting Landis v. North American Co., 299 U.S. 248, 255 (1936)). To evaluate whether to stay an action, the Court must the weigh competing interests that will be affected by the decision to grant or refuse a stay. CMAX, Inc. v. Hall, 300 F.2d 265, 268 (9th Cir.1962). Among these competing interests are: (1) the possible damage which may result from the granting of a stay; (2) the hardship or inequity which a party ...