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Gradie v. C.R. England, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Utah

January 23, 2017

WILLIAM H. GRADIE, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated Plaintiff,
v.
C.R. ENGLAND, INC., and DOES 1 through 100, inclusive, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER GRANTING [38] MOTION TO STAY; FINDING MOOT [39] MOTION TO POSTPONE BRIEFING SCHEDULE; AND GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART [49] MOTION TO CONSOLIDATE CASES

          DAVID NUFFER DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Defendant C.R. England, Inc. moved to stay all proceedings in this case.[1] Plaintiff William H. Gradie (Gradie) responded in opposition.[2] C.R. England replied in support of its motion.[3]

         In the alternative, C.R. England filed a motion to postpone the briefing schedule on the motion for class certification.[4] Plaintiff did not respond. C.R. England replied.[5]

         Gradie moved to consolidate cases related to this action.[6] C.R. England responded in partial opposition.[7] Plaintiffs in one of the related cases responded in opposition.[8] Gradie replied.[9]

         For the reasons stated below C.R. England's Motion to Stay is GRANTED and its Motion to Postpone is found MOOT. Gradie's motion to consolidate related cases is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART.

         BACKGROUND

         Three separate cases are affected by these motions. This action (Gradie I) was filed April 20, 2016, in the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Los Angeles.[10] It was removed to the United States District Court for the Central District of California, Western Division, on May 20, 2016.[11] It was transferred to the Utah Federal District Court on July 8, 2016.[12]

         Milton Harper v. C.R. England, Inc. (Harper)[13] was filed February 1, 2016, in the Superior Court of the State of California in and for the County of San Bernardino.[14] It was removed to the United States District Court for the Central District of California on August 24, 2016.[15] On August 26, 2016, it was transferred to the Utah Federal District Court.[16] It was assigned to Judge Benson.

         William H. Gradie v. C.R. England (Gradie II)[17] was filed in this court on September 29, 2016.[18] It was assigned to Judge Jenkins.[19]

         “There is no dispute that [Gradie I and Harper] involve the same subject matter and legal issues.”[20] In both cases, plaintiffs assert various California wage and hour and misrepresentation claims. On January 9, 2017, Judge Benson issued an order in Harper “(1) confirming certification of class action for settlement purposes; (2) granting final approval of class action settlement; and (3) entering final judgment.”[21]

         Gradie II seeks “declaratory judgment that the purported ‘Class Action/Collective Action and Other Group Proceedings Waivers' set forth at Paragraph 5 of the parties' arbitration agreement . . . is illegal and unenforceable as a matter of law.”[22]

         DISCUSSION

         The Motion to Stay is granted, rendering the motion to postpone briefing moot.

         “[T]he power to stay proceedings 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.”[23]

         In his Opposition to Motion to Stay Gradie argues:

1. C.R. England is rushing to obtain approval of a collusive, “reverse auction” settlement in Harper;[24]
2. The competing class actions must be consolidated before a single judge;[25]
3. The Harper Settlement does not extinguish the class claims in Gradie I;[26] and
4. The Harper Settlement is grossly inadequate.[27]

         Gradie's first and fourth arguments amount to a collateral attack on the Harper settlement. Gradie had an opportunity and venue to make those arguments.[28] He cannot make them again in this action. The second argument is addressed below. The third ...


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