United States District Court, S.D. California
ANH BUI, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
NORTHROP GRUMMAN SYSTEMS CORP., a Delaware Corporation, Defendant.
WILLIAM Q. HAYES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter before the Court is the Motion to Stay filed by
Defendant Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation
(“Defendant”) (ECF No. 39).
April 14, 2015, Plaintiff Anh Bui commenced this action by
filing the Class Action Complaint in San Diego County
Superior Court. (ECF No. 1-3 at 6). On May 21, 2015,
Plaintiff filed the First Amended Class Action Complaint
(“FAC”), which is the operative complaint in this
case. (ECF Nos. 1 at 2; 1-3 at 30). The FAC asserts (1) four
California state-law wage and hour claims arising from
Plaintiff's employment with Defendant; (2) a claim for
violation of California Business & Professions Code
section 17200, et seq.; and (3) a claim under
California's Private Attorneys' General Act of 2004
(“PAGA”), seeking civil penalties for
Defendant's alleged wage and hour violations. (ECF No. 1
at 3). On June 25, 2015, Defendant removed the action to this
Court pursuant to the Class Action Fairness Act
(“CAFA”), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1332, 1441,
1446, and 1453. (ECF Nos. 1 at 2-3; 1-3 at 30-46).
2, 2015, Defendant filed a Motion to Compel Bilateral
Arbitration and Stay Proceedings, or Alternatively, to
Dismiss Under Rule 12(b)(3). (ECF No. 3). On August 10, 2015,
Plaintiff filed a “non-opposition to Defendant's
Motion to Compel Bilateral Arbitration of Plaintiff's
Individual Claims except for her [PAGA] Claims.” (ECF
No. 11 at 2). In the non-opposition, Plaintiff
“agree[d] to dismiss her putative class and putative
class claims without prejudice and submit her individual
claims to arbitration.” Id. On December 10,
2015, the Court issued an order granting Defendant's
Motion to Compel Bilateral Arbitration and Stay Proceedings.
(ECF No. 20). The Court ordered that
pursuant to Plaintiff's request, Plaintiff's first
through fifth putative class and class claims are dismissed
without prejudice. (ECF No. 11 at 1). IT IS FURTHER ORDERED
that the Motion to Compel Bilateral Arbitration and Stay
Proceedings is granted (ECF No. 3). Pursuant to 9 U.S.C.
§ 4, the parties are directed to proceed to arbitration
in accordance with the terms of the Arbitration Agreement
with respect to all of Plaintiff's remaining claims. This
litigation is stayed pending the outcome of the arbitration.
Id. at 15.
December 9, 2016, the Court issued an order granting
Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration of the December
10, 2015 order. (ECF No. 36). The Court concluded that the
“‘Class Action Claims' section of the
Arbitration Agreement in this case is similarly restrictive
of Plaintiff's ability to bring a concerted action
against Defendant” to the clause ruled unenforceable by
the Court of Appeals in Morris v. Ernst & Young
LLP, 834 F.3d 975 (9th Cir. 2016). Id. at 7-8.
In Morris, the Court of Appeals found that a
concerted action waiver “violate[d] the NLRA [National
Labor Relations Act] and cannot be enforced.”
Id. (quoting Morris, 834 F.3d at 980). The
Court ordered that the portion of its December 10, 2015 order
stating that “pursuant to Plaintiff's request,
Plaintiff's first through fifth putative class and class
claims are dismissed without prejudice” was vacated.
Id. at 8 (quoting ECF No. 20 at 15). The Court
ordered the parties to submit a status report “as to
how they intend to proceed on Plaintiff's first through
fifth putative class and class claims.” Id. at
status reports, Defendant stated that it intended to file a
motion to stay this action if the Supreme Court granted the
petition for certiorari in Morris. (ECF Nos. 37 at
3; No. 38 at 3). On January 13, 2017, the Supreme Court
granted the petition for a writ of certiorari in
Morris. Ernst & Young, LLP v. Morris,
137 S.Ct. 809 (U.S. Jan. 13, 2017) (mem.).
February 6, 2017, Defendant filed the Motion to Stay. (ECF
No. 39). On February 27, 2017, Plaintiff filed a response in
opposition. (ECF No. 40). On March 6, 2017, Defendant filed a
reply. (ECF No. 41).
Contentions of the Parties
contends that this Court should issue “a stay of all
proceedings pending the Supreme Court's decision in
Morris.” (ECF No. 39-1 at 5). Defendant
contends that “the basis for Plaintiff's
reconsideration motion and this Court's reconsideration
order will disappear” and “Plaintiff will again
be required to arbitrate her wage-and-hour and UCL claims on
an individual basis, not litigate them in court on a putative
classwide basis” if the Supreme Court reverses the
Morris decision. Id. at 10. Defendant
contends that it should not be required to litigate
Plaintiff's class claims now “even though
Morris may make clear later that Plaintiff was
required to arbitrate her claims on a bilateral basis.”
Id. at 10-11.
contends that she will suffer prejudice if this action is
stayed pending the Supreme Court's decision in
Morris. Plaintiff contends that continued delays
will halt her progress in finalizing discovery and will
result in evidence being lost, and witnesses becoming either
unavailable or forgetting pertinent facts relating to this
action. Plaintiff contends that Defendant has not
demonstrated it will suffer a hardship if this action is not
stayed. Plaintiff contends this action should not be stayed
because of “the uncertainty and the unknown
duration” of the period when the Supreme Court will
issue a ruling in Morris. (ECF No. 40 at 6).