United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT STARBUCKS CORPORATION'S
MOTION TO STAY CASE PENDING MOTION TO TRANSFER TO MDL PANEL
[RE: ECF 12]
LAB SON FREEMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Scott Johnson (“Plaintiff”) brings this action
against Monterey Fish Company, Inc. (“Monterey Fish
Co.”) and Starbucks Corporation
“Defendants”) for violations of the Americans
with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and
California's Unruh Civil Rights Act. See
Complaint, ECF 1. Starbucks has filed a motion to stay all
proceedings in this matter pending a ruling by the Judicial
Panel on Multi District Litigation (“MDL Panel”)
in MDL No. 2849 on a motion to transfer this case, along with
20 other similar actions, to a single district for
coordination of pretrial procedures pursuant to U.S.C. §
1407. See ECF 12 (“Mot.”); ECF 13
(“Mem.”). Plaintiff opposes Starbucks' motion
to stay. ECF 22.
to Civil L.R. 7-1(b), the Court finds Starbucks' motion
suitable for submission without oral argument and hereby
VACATES the hearing scheduled for June 7, 2018. For the
reasons set forth herein, the Court GRANTS Starbucks'
motion and STAYS this case pending a ruling on Starbucks'
motion before the MDL Panel.
a motion to stay is within the sound discretion of the
Court.” Fuller v. Amerigas Propane, Inc., No.
C 09-2493TEH, 2009 WL 2390358, at *1 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 3,
2009). The power to stay is “incidental to the power
inherent in every court to control the disposition of the
causes on its docket with economy of time and effort for
itself, for counsel, and for litigants.” Id.
(quoting Rivers v. Walt Disney Co., 980 F.Supp.
1358, 1360 (C.D. Cal. 1997) (quoting Landis v. N. Am.
Co., 299 U.S. 248, 254 (1936) (internal quotation marks
considering whether a stay is appropriate, the Court weighs
three factors:  the possible damage which may result from
the granting of a stay,  the hardship or inequity which a
party may suffer in being required to go forward, and  the
orderly course of justice measured in terms of the
simplifying or complicating of issues, proof, and questions
of law which could be expected to result from a stay.”
See Gustavson v. Mars, Inc., No. 13-cv-04537-LHK,
2014 WL 6986421, at *2 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 10, 2014) (internal
quotation marks and citation omitted) (brackets in original).
These factors are drawn from the Supreme Court's decision
in Landis v. North American Co., 299 U.S. 248
has moved for a stay of this case pending a ruling by the MDL
Panel on its motion to consolidate this case with related
litigation brought by Plaintiff against Starbucks stores
throughout California for violations of the ADA. See
generally Mem. The Court agrees with Plaintiff that
filing a motion before the MDL Panel alone does not result in
an automatic stay of proceedings in this Court. See
ECF 22. However, the Court finds that under the
Landis factors, a stay of this case is appropriate
as it serves the interests of judicial economy and
this is an ADA case, this Court's General Order 56
already stays litigation pending a joint site inspection and
mediation process. Plaintiff argues that General Order 56
supports denying a stay at this juncture, because there is no
risk of inconsistent rulings or wasted judicial resources.
See ECF 22. In its reply, Starbucks argues that the
joint site inspection is precisely the type of pretrial
proceeding that should be temporarily paused for the limited
duration of the pendency of the MDL Motion. See
Reply, ECF 24.
Court has considered the three Landis factors and
finds that they all weigh in favor of granting a limited
stay. First, Plaintiff has not argued that he would be
prejudiced if this Court granted Starbucks' motion.
See Gustavson, 2014 WL 6986421, at *2. As to the
second factor, Starbucks has identified at least some
hardship or inequity that it would suffer if it was required
to go forward in this Court while the MDL Panel reviews its
motion. See Reply at 4. The Court finds that
requiring Starbucks to engage in initial disclosures, a joint
site inspection, and settlement discussions while it seeks to
resolve such issues on a consolidated basis, would defeat the
purpose of transfer and consolidation if the MDL Panel
ultimately grants Starbucks' motion.
third Lands factor also favors granting
Starbucks' motion. Granting a stay pending a resolution
on Starbucks' motion to transfer and consolidate will
promote consistency and judicial economy. See Mem.
at 5. Although Plaintiff argues that no judicial resources
would be wasted if the parties proceed under the General
Order 56 process, he does not address Starbucks' concern
that proceeding in this action could result in
inconsistencies with the other cases that may ultimately be
transferred and consolidated before a different court.
Moreover, the only authority cited by Plaintiff in support of
denying a stay is Rivers v. Walt Disney Co., where
the court actually granted the plaintiffs'
motion to stay pending an MDL Panel decision on
consolidation. 980 F.Supp. 1358, 1360-62 (CD. Cal. 1997).
The Rivers court also noted: “[I]t appears
that a majority of courts have concluded that it is often
appropriate to stay preliminary pretrial proceedings while a
motion to transfer and consolidate is pending with the MDL
Panel because of the judicial resources that are
conserved.” Id. at 1362.
foregoing reasons, the Court finds that a limited stay of
this case pending a decision by the MDL Panel on
Starbucks' motion to transfer and consolidate is