United States District Court, S.D. California
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO STAY [DOC.
T. BENITEZ, JUDGE
the Court is Defendant JC Resorts, LLC's
("Defendant") motion to stay the proceedings in
this matter pending resolution of State of California v.
James Rutherford, et al (RIC 1902577) (San Diego Superior
Court) and Winn Dixie Stores, Inc. v. Gil, (2017 U.S.
Dist. LEXIS 90204)(S.D. Fla. June 13, 2017). Plaintiff James
Rutherford ("Plaintiff) filed a brief in opposition.
(Doc. No. 10.) For the reasons set forth below, the Court
DENIES Defendant's motion.
February 27, 2019, Plaintiff initiated this action against
Defendant to enforce the public accommodation accessibility
requirements ("Title III") of the Americans with
Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12182 ("ADA").
(Doc. No. 1-2.) Based on his January 10, 2019, attempt to use
Defendant's website to view the accessible features of
the Rancho Bernardo hotel and guest rooms in San Diego,
California, Plaintiff seeks entry of injunctive and
declaratory relief and an award of his attorney fees and
costs. Id. at 10-12. On April 9, 2019, Defendant
removed the suit to this Court. (Doc. No. 1.) Defendant filed
its answer on April 10, 2019, denying its website violates
the ADA and alleging this action is "moot" because
it's website complies with all applicable standards
(if any exists), and it is usable/accessible to
persons with disabilities. (Doc. No. 2 at 9.) Furthermore,
even if it is not compliant, Plaintiffs claims are moot due
to unclean hands and numerous other legal/procedural defects
in the case. Id. The Defendant also filed a motion
to stay this action on July 10, 2019. (Doc. No. 9.) Defendant
seeks to stay this action pending resolution of a lawsuit
filed by the State of California against Plaintiff and his
counsel for intentionally and fraudulently engaging in a
scheme to extort money from over 120 Riverside County
Businesses and individuals by filing illicit ADA lawsuits
against them. Id. at 5. Additionally, Defendant
seeks to stay this action pending resolution of an Eleventh
Circuit Court of Appeals case dealing with the applicability
of the ADA to websites. Id. at 9. Plaintiff filed a
response opposing the motion to stay. (Doc. No. 10.)
Plaintiff argues a stay will unfairly prejudice him and
result in needless delay in resolving the claims at bar.
court's decision to grant a stay is discretionary,
"dependent upon the circumstances of the particular
case." Nken v. Holder, 556 U.S. 418, 432
(2009). The movant bears the burden of showing the
circumstances justifying a stay. Id. at 433-34;
see Clinton v. Jones, 520 U.S. 681, 708 (1997). A
court may stay proceedings incidental to its power "to
control the disposition of the causes on its docket with
economy of time and effort for itself, for counsel, and for
litigants." Landis v. N. Am. Co., 299 U.S. 248,
determine if a stay should be granted, the court weighs
"the competing interests of the parties, considering:
(1) the possible damage that may result from the grant of a
stay, (2) the hardship or inequity a party may suffer in
being required to go forward with the case, and (3) the
orderly course of justice." Wallis v. Centennial
Ins. Co., No. 2:08-cv-02558 WBS, 2012 WL 292982, at *2
(E.D. Cal. Jan. 31, 2012) (citing CMAS, Inc. v.
Hall, 300 F.2d 265, 268 (9th Cir. 1962)).
judicial economy is a factor, the decision to issue a stay
"does not hinge" on case management concerns alone.
ASUSTek Comput. Inc. v. Ricoh Co., No. 07-cv-01942
MHP, 2007 WL 4190689, at *2 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 21, 2007) (citing
Landis, 299 U.S. at 255). Moreover, if there is
"'even a fair possibility' of harm to the
opposing party, the moving party 'must make out a clear
case of hardship or inequity in being required to move
forward.'" Edwards v. Oportun, Inc., 193
F.Supp.3d 1096, 1101 (N.D. Cal. 2016) (quoting
Landis, 299 U.S. at 255.)
Defendant argues that a stay of this action will promote the
"interests of justice, fairness, and efficiency"
because awaiting resolution of (1) The People of the
State of California v. James Rutherford et al., Case No.
RIC 1902577 (Riverside Civil Action"), could limit the
triable issues or completely moot the present litigation, and
(2) Winn Dixie Stores, Inc. v. Gil, an Eleventh
Circuit case dealing with the applicability of the ADA to
websites would provide significant guidance on what is
required under the ADA. Defendant further argues that
unnecessary, repetitive, and "costly litigation"
will be avoided-particularly unnecessary attorneys' fees
and expert costs-if the action is stayed "pending
completion" of the State's case against Plaintiff.
response, Plaintiff contends that Defendants motion is
nothing more than the efforts of a desperate tortfeasor to
draw attention away from its unlawful conduct, and instead an
attempt to put the aggrieved disabled plaintiff and his
counsel on trial because (1) the unverified Riverside Civil
Action Defendant references in its motion has already been
fully disposed of on Demurrer (without leave to
amend), and (2) to stay this matter pending the outcome
of an Eleventh Circuit case related to issues already
addressed by binding 9th Circuit case law in Robles v.
Domino's Pizza, LLC, 913 F.3d 898 (9th Cir. 2017),
is meritless and inapposite. (Doc. No. 20 at 3-4.)
considering all of the relevant factors, the record, and the
parties' arguments, the Court declines to stay the action
at this stage in the proceedings. Plaintiffs opposition
convincingly refutes the motion. In light of this, a stay of
the action is not appropriate at this time.
reasons set forth above, the motion to stay the ...