United States District Court, C.D. California
TINA KALAJIAN, individually and on behalf of a class of similarly situated individuals, Plaintiff,
RITE AID CORPORATION, a Delaware Corporation, and DOES 1 through 100, inclusive, Defendants.
ORDER GRANTING JOINT MOTION TO STAY CASE
D. WRIGHT, II UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Kalajian (“Plaintiff”), on behalf of herself and
all others similarly situated, filed a suit against Rite Aid
Corporation (“Defendant”) on September 14, 2017,
for improperly advertising, marketing, and selling an
“aloe vera gel” without a detectable level of
aloe vera. (Compl. ¶ 20, ECF No. 1.) Another case is
currently pending in the Northern District of Illinois and
involves similar issues. See Beardsall v. CVS Pharmacy,
Inc., No. 1:16-cv-06103 (N.D. Ill. June 10, 2016). The
parties jointly request to stay this action in its entirety
for six months in order to allow the Beardsall court
to rule on class certification and the Beardsall
parties to complete fact and expert discovery. (Mot. Stay 3,
ECF No 17.) For the following reasons, the Court
GRANTS the parties' Joint Motion to Stay
this litigation for all purposes until six (6) months from
the date of this order.
alleges, on behalf of a class, that Rite Aid Renewal After
Sun Gel purports and advertises itself as containing aloe
vera, but independent laboratory tests show Defendant's
product contains no actual aloe vera. (Compl. ¶¶
2-3.) Plaintiff alleges claims for Breach of Express
Warranty; Violations of the Consumers Legal Remedies Act;
Violations of the False Advertising Act; and Unlawful, Unfair
and Fraudulent Business Acts and Practices. (Id.
¶¶ 56-89); see Cal. Comm. Code §
2313; Cal. Civ. Code § 1750 et seq; Cal. Bus.
& Professions Code §§ 17200, et seq; 17500,
is a class action against CVS Pharmacy, Inc., Walgreen Co.,
Target Corp., Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., and Fruit of the Earth,
Inc. (Declaration of Andrew J. Peterson (“Peterson
Decl”), Ex. A ¶¶ 45-49, ECF No. 17-2.) Like
Rite Aid here, the retailer defendants in the
Beardsall action are also alleged to have sold aloe
vera products that do not have a detectable amount of aloe
vera. (Id. ¶¶ 3-7.)
actions, the plaintiffs rely on independent laboratory
testing that revealed an absence of acemannan, the key
compound in aloe vera. (Id. ¶ 102; Compl.
¶ 22, 24.) The parties here contend that the discovery
conducted in Beardsall, especially the expert
opinions gathered, will affect the outcome of this
litigation, which they maintain involves complex scientific
issues. (Mot. Stay 1.) The Beardsall court has
ordered that class certification, Daubert, and dispositive
motions be filed with the court by May 11, 2018.
(Beardsall Min. Order, No. 1:16-cv-06103,
ECF No. 143.) In contrast, Defendant has not yet filed a
response to the initial complaint in this case.
that the Beardsall action is further progressed and
addresses many of the same “complex scientific issues
present in the instant action, ” the parties jointly
move the Court to stay this action for six months. (Joint
Mot. 4, ECF No. 17.)
power to stay proceedings is incidental to the power in every
court to control the disposition of the cases on its docket
with economy of time and effort for itself, for counsel, and
for litigants.” Landis v. North Am. Co., 29
U.S. 248, 254 (1936). The Court exercises its discretion in
making such determinations, weighing competing interests, and
seeking to maintain an even balance. See Id. at
254-55. This exercise of discretion includes an ability to
stay a case “pending resolution of independent
proceedings which bear upon the case.” Leyva v.
Certified Grocers of Cal., Ltd., 593 F.2d 857, 863 (9th
Cir. 1979). “This rule applies whether the separate
proceedings are judicial, administrative, or arbitral in
character, and does not require that the issues in such
proceedings are necessarily controlling of the action before
the court.” Id. at 863-64.
determine whether a stay should be granted, the Court
considers (1) the possible damage resulting from a stay; (2)
the hardship or inequity which a party may suffer if required
to go forward; and (3) the orderly course of justice, as
measured by whether the stay will simplify or complicate
issues, proof, and questions of law. Pamintuan v.
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., No. 16-CV-00254-HSG, 2016 WL
4319844, at *1 (N.D. Cal. July 14, 2016) (quoting CMAX,
Inc. v. Hall, 300 F.2d 265, 268 (9th Cir. 1962)). In
this case, the balance of interests supports staying the
proceeding since all three of these factors weigh in favor of
granting a stay.
Potential Damage Caused by Stay
determine any potential damage the stay could cause, the
Court considers whether the delay would cause harm to the
merits of the claim or any loss of evidence. Wilson v.
Frito-Lay N. Am., Inc., No. 12-CV-1586 SC, 2015
WL 4451424, at *2 (N.D. Cal. July 20, 2015). Neither party
foresees any risk of prejudice in the instant action. (Joint
Mot. 6.) Plaintiff alleges no concerns regarding loss of
witnesses, and there is no indication of any other
potentially lost evidence, given the short, six-month stay.
Rather, the Beardsall case may lead to additional