United States District Court, D. Arizona
HONORABLE RANER C. COLLINS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before this Court are Plaintiff's Emergency Motion to
Remand and for Sanctions (Doc. 6) and Defendants' Motion
to Stay (Doc. 9). The Court has considered the parties'
pleadings and oral arguments. For the following reasons, the
Court will grant the former, in part, and deny the latter.
October 5, 2018, this Court entered an order staying an
earlier-filed opioid-related lawsuit (“First
Case”). The purpose of the stay was to permit the court
assigned to the national opioid multidistrict litigation
(“MDL”) to address the applicability of 28 U.S.C.
§1442 (the federal officer removal statute) and the
Plaintiff's novel attempt to circumnavigate the same
since “the possibility exists that such efforts might
be attempted by other Plaintiffs in other proceedings that
have or will be transferred to the MDL court.”
Tucson Medical Center v. Purdue Pharma LP, No.
4:18-cv-00481, Doc. 50 at 2. The stay order explicitly stated
that this Court had not reached “the merits of the
Motion to Remand which concern[ed] the federal question
jurisdiction invoked in AmerisourceBergen Drug Company's
notice of removal.” Id. at 3.
this Court will reach that issue, though in a slightly
after the Court issued its stay order, Plaintiff Tucson
Medical Center (“TMC”) voluntarily dismissed the
First Case, see Tucson Medical Center v. Purdue Pharma
LP, No. 4:18-cv-00481, Docs. 51, 54, and commenced the
instant action in state court. See Doc. 1 at Ex. 1.
The current complaint asserts twelve state statutory and
common law causes of action. Id. Notably, Plaintiff
excised all claims against McKesson Corp, the defendant in
the First Case that removed that matter pursuant to the
federal officer removal statute. Id.
October 29, 2018, Defendant AmerisourceBergen Drug Company
(“AmerisourceBergen”) removed this case to
federal court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1441 and
1331 arguing, as it did in the First Case, that TMC's
state law claims necessarily raise federal questions under 21
U.S.C. §§ 801, the Controlled Substances Act
(“CSA”). Compare Doc. 1 at 5, with
Tucson Medical Center v. Purdue Pharma LP, No.
4:18-cv-00481, Doc. 1 at 5. Plaintiff challenges
AmerisourceBergen's removal by and through its emergency
motion to remand. Doc. 6. Defendants urge this Court to stay
these proceedings pending the inevitable transfer of this
action to the MDL Court without reaching Plaintiff's
motion to remand. Doc. 9. A stay, they argue, “will
ensure judicial efficiency and consistent results in
substantially similar cases raising the same federal question
issues.” Doc. 20 at 1. On November 26, 2018 the Court
heard oral argument on the parties' respective motions.
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.” Landis v. N. Am.
Co., 299 U.S. 248, 254 (1936). When considering a motion
to stay, district courts take into account “(1)
potential prejudice to the non-moving party; (2) hardship and
inequity to the moving party if the action is not stayed; and
(3) the judicial resources that would be saved by avoiding
duplicative litigation if the cases are in fact
consolidated.” Rivers v. Walt Disney Co., 980
F.Supp. 1358, 1360 (C.D. Cal. 1997).
urge this Court to refrain from considering the merits of
Plaintiff's motion to remand and to find that the
Rivers factors favor a stay this matter. Doc. 9 at 6
(citations omitted). The Court finds Defendants'
supporting arguments uncompelling.
Court's knowledge, the Ninth Circuit has never held that
the Rivers factors should be exclusive. Other
district courts, when faced with simultaneous motions to
remand and motions to stay pending transfer to MDL, have
employed the additional, three-step methodology advanced in
Meyers v. Bayer AG, 143 F.Supp.2d 1044, 1049
(E.D.Wis. 2001). Thereunder, “a court should [first]...
give preliminary scrutiny to the merits of the motion to
remand . . . [i]f this preliminary assessment suggests that
removal was improper, the court should promptly complete its
consideration and remand the case to state court.”
Meyers, 143 F.Supp.2d at 1049; Conroy v. Fresh
Del Monte Produce, Inc., 325 F.Supp.2d 1049, 1053
(N.D.Cal. 2004). If “the jurisdictional issue appears
factually or legally difficult, [however, ] the court's
second step should be to determine whether identical or
similar jurisdictional issues have been raised in other cases
that have been or may be transferred to the MDL
proceeding.” Meyers, 143 F.Supp.2d at 1049;
Conroy, 325 F.Supp.2d at 1053. A court should only
proceed to the third step and consider the motion to stay
“if the jurisdictional issue is both difficult and
similar or identical to those in cases transferred or likely
to be transferred.” Meyers, 143 F.Supp.2d at
1049; see also, McClelland v. Merck, No.
06-CV-00543-JMS/BMK, 2007 WL 178293, at *2 (D. Haw. January
19, 2007); Conroy, 325 F.Supp.2d at 1053.
date, the Ninth Circuit has not expressly adopted the
Meyers methodology. However, and as explained in the
Federal Judicial Center's Manual for Complex Litigation,
Fourth, this Court finds that scrutiny of the merits of a
pending motion to ...