United States District Court, E.D. California
L. NUNLEY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
a lawsuit seeking declaratory relief regarding the
arbitrability of a labor dispute and the legality of an
agreement between a labor union and an employer. The matter
is before the Court on Defendant UNITE HERE International
Union's (“the Union”) Motion to Dismiss. (ECF
No. 9.) Plaintiff Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians
(“the Tribe”) opposes the motion. (ECF No. 13.)
For the reasons set forth below, the Union's motion is
parties and the Court are familiar with the facts. This case
is related to another lawsuit before this Court-Unite
Here International Union v. Shingle Springs Band of Miwok
Indians, No. 2:16-cv-00384-TLN-EFB-and the cases present
substantially identical issues.
related case was a lawsuit seeking to compel arbitration of a
dispute between the parties about whether the Tribe violated
a neutrality clause in a memorandum of agreement
(“MOA”) the parties entered regarding labor
organizing at a casino the Tribe owns and operates. (Pet. to
Compel Arbitration at 1:21-28, Unite Here Int'l Union
v. Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians, No.
2:16-cv-00384-TLN-EFB (E.D. Cal. Feb. 22, 2016), ECF No. 2.)
The Tribe opposed arbitration in that case. In a recent
order, the Court granted the Union's motion for judgment
on the pleadings and ordered the parties to arbitrate in the
first instance whether their underlying dispute is
arbitrable. (Order at 4:13-19, 5:9-13, Unite Here
Int'l Union v. Shingle Springs Band of Miwok
Indians, No. 2:16-cv-00384-TLN-EFB (E.D. Cal. July 12,
2017), ECF No. 25.) The Tribe filed this lawsuit while the
related case was pending, in an apparent attempt to gain a
procedural advantage in the related case. The Tribe seeks
declaratory relief here pursuant to the Declaratory Judgment
Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201.
Tribe seeks declaratory relief regarding three issues: (1)
whether its dispute with the Union is arbitrable under the
MOA, (2) whether that arbitration would violate federal law,
and (3) whether a remedy the Union may ask the arbitrator to
award violates federal law. (Compl. 9:12- 19, ECF No. 1.) The
Union moves to dismiss this lawsuit for three reasons, one of
which the Court addresses here: whether the Court should
exercise its discretion to decline jurisdiction over this
lawsuit. (ECF No. 9 at 1:2-24.)
Court enjoys “discretion in determining whether and
when to entertain an action under the Declaratory Judgment
Act.” Wilton v. Seven Falls Co., 515 U.S. 277,
282 (1995). In the exercise of that discretion, the Court
weighs “concerns of judicial administration, comity,
and fairness to the litigants.” Am. States Ins. Co.
v. Kearns, 15 F.3d 142, 144 (9th Cir. 1994) (quoting
Chamberlain v. Allstate Ins. Co., 931 F.2d 1361,
1367 (9th Cir. 1991)). And in weighing those concerns, the
Court considers a variety of factors including “whether
the declaratory action will settle all aspects of the
controversy [and] whether the declaratory action will serve a
useful purpose in clarifying the legal relations at issue[,
]” as well as “the availability and relative
convenience of other remedies.” Gov't Emps.
Ins. Co. v. Dizol, 133 F.3d 1220, 1225 n.5 (9th Cir.
1998) (en banc).
those factors counsel the Court to decline jurisdiction over
the Tribe's lawsuit. This lawsuit breaks no new ground on
the first issue-whether the parties' dispute is
arbitrable- because the Court recently issued an order in the
related case ordering the parties to arbitrate arbitrability.
(Order at 4:13-19, 5:9-13, Unite Here Int'l Union v.
Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians, No.
2:16-cv-00384-TLN-EFB (E.D. Cal. July 12, 2017), ECF No. 25.)
Any judicial resolution of the first issue here would be
entirely duplicative. The Court also concludes it would be
unwise to resolve the second and third issues-whether
arbitration or a particular arbitral award would violate
federal law-in this context. The second and third issues may
never crystallize because their need for judicial resolution
presupposes that the arbitrator will conclude the parties
must arbitrate their underlying dispute. That outcome is
uncertain at this juncture.Thus, this lawsuit will not
“serve a useful purpose in clarifying the legal
relations at issue.” Dizol, 133 F.3d at 1225
n.5. At bottom, all the issues presented have been, or can
be, better resolved elsewhere.
foregoing reasons, the Union's motion (ECF No. 9) is
hereby GRANTED. IT IS SO ORDERED.
 Indeed, the Union argues that the
second and third issues are non-justiciable because they are
unripe. (ECF No. 9 at 9:7-12:20.) The Court finds it
unnecessary to resolve that issue because the Court ...