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Snyder v. Nationstar Mortgage LLC

United States District Court, N.D. California

June 28, 2016

PAMELA SNYDER, Plaintiff,
v.
NATIONSTAR MORTGAGE LLC, Defendant.

          ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO CONSOLIDATE RE: DKT. NO. 46

          JACQUELINE SCOTT CORLEY United States Magistrate Judge

         INTRODUCTION

         Now pending before the Court is the motion of Plaintiff Pamela Snyder (“Plaintiff”) to consolidate actions pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 42. (Dkt. No. 46.[1]) Plaintiff has two civil actions pending in this District, each involving a different property she owns. One action is against Defendant Nationstar Mortgage LLC (“Nationstar”), the other against both Nationstar and Defendant Bank of America, N.A. (“Bank of America”). After carefully considering the arguments and briefing submitted, the Court concludes that oral argument is unnecessary, see Civ. L.R. 7-1(b), and DENIES Plaintiff’s Motion. Plaintiff has not established that there are any common questions of fact or law that justify consolidating her two cases. Additionally, consolidation would likely cause jury confusion and prejudice to Nationstar, would not promote judicial economy, and would result in undue delay to this suit.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff’s first action was filed on June 30, 2015 and involves a residential mortgage loan for Plaintiff’s real property located at 2548-2550 Sutter Street, San Francisco, California 94115 (Case No. 3:15-cv-03049-JSC) (“Sutter Street Suit”). The Court discussed the factual background of this case in a previous order and incorporates that discussion here. (See Dkt. No. 30 at 1-4.) Plaintiff filed the operative Second Amended Complaint (“Sutter Street SAC”) on November 29, 2015, alleging violations of (1) California Civil Code § 2954; (2) the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1681s-2(b); (3) California Civil Code §§ 1788.11(d) and (e); and (4) the Unfair Business Practices Act, Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §§ 17200-17210. (Dkt. No. 33 at 1.) The parties engaged in written discovery and attended mediation in April 2016. (Dkt. No. 39; see also Dkt. No. 47 at 15.) Trial is scheduled to commence on January 17, 2017. (Dkt. No. 39 at 2.)

         The second action, pending before Magistrate Judge Laporte, was filed on September 17, 2015 and involves a loan modification for Plaintiff’s real property located at 811 Page Street, San Francisco, California 91117 (Case No. 3:15-cv-04228-EDL) (“Page Street Suit”). Plaintiff asserts claims against two defendants: Nationstar and Bank of America. Judge Laporte previously discussed the factual background of that case in a previous order granting a motion to dismiss; the Court incorporates Judge Laporte’s discussion here. (See Page Street Suit, Dkt. No. 46 at 2-4.) Plaintiff filed the operative Third Amended Complaint (“Page Street TAC”) on March 15, 2016, alleging causes of action for: (1) fraud against Bank of America; (2) and (5) negligent misrepresentation against Bank of America; (3) and (4) violation of California Civil Code § 2923.7 against Bank of America; (6) violation of California Civil Code § 2924.11 against Nationstar; and (7) violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1692e, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, against Nationstar. (Page Street Suit, Dkt. No. 47 at 1, 15-29.) In the Page Street Suit, the parties have not begun discovery, as the parties had previously engaged in three separate rounds of briefing to dismiss Plaintiff’s various complaints. (Page Street Suit, Dkt. Nos. 8, 19, 31.) The parties are scheduled to have a case management conference with Judge Laporte on July 6, 2016. (Page Street Suit, Dkt. No. 50.) There is no trial date.

         On May 23, 2016, Plaintiff filed a motion to consolidate her two pending actions pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 42. (Dkt. No. 46.) Nationstar filed an opposition to the motion, while Bank of America did not. (Dkt. Nos. 47, 53.)

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 42 governs consolidation of cases. Rule 42(a) provides, in relevant part, that if “actions before the court involve a common question of law or fact” then “the court may: (1) join for hearing or trial any or all matters at issue in the actions; (2) consolidate the actions; or (3) issue any other orders to avoid unnecessary cost or delay.”

         Under Rule 42, “[t]he district court has broad discretion [] to consolidate cases pending in the same district.” Inv’rs Research Co. v. U.S. Dist. Court for Cent. Dist. of California, 877 F.2d 777, 777 (9th Cir. 1989). In determining whether consolidation is appropriate, the court “weighs the saving of time and effort consolidation would produce against any inconvenience, delay, or expense that it would cause.” Huene v. United States, 743 F.2d 703, 704 (9th Cir. 1984). Even if a common question exists, consolidation is not appropriate where it results in “inefficiency, inconvenience, or unfair prejudice to a party.” E.E.O.C. v. HBE Corp., 135 F.3d 543, 551 (8th Cir. 1998) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 42(b)). The party seeking consolidation bears the burden of demonstrating that convenience and judicial economy would result from consolidation. Wright v. United States, No. C 92-1290 BAC, 1993 WL 313040, at *1 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 6, 1993).

         DISCUSSION

         Consolidation is not warranted. As discussed below, Plaintiff has not established that there are any common questions of fact or law that justify consolidating her two cases; this alone justifies denying her motion to consolidate. Moreover, each of the other factors that courts typically consider-jury confusion and prejudice, judicial economy, and undue delay-weighs against consolidation as well.

         I. Common Questions of Fact or Law

         There is no dispute that Plaintiff’s two actions do not contain common questions of law, as both actions allege different statutory violations requiring different statutory analyses. (Compare Sutter Street SAC at 1, with Page Street TAC at 1.) Plaintiff concedes this point, arguing only that the two ...


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