United States District Court, D. Arizona
HONORABLE DIANE J. HUMETEWA, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on what appears to be a joint
Stipulation to Stay Proceedings. (Doc. 20).
parties wish to stay this action pending a series of appeals
of a state court action, which could take years to complete.
Based on the parties' stipulation, the Court understands
that there was a state court action in Maricopa Superior
Court in which Plaintiff sued a different defendant,
Brookfield Equinox, LLC., seeking to hold that entity liable
for the actions of a subsidiary entity.
September 13, 2019, Plaintiff commenced this action seeking a
declaratory judgment that Defendant NBS is an alter ego of
the defendant in the state court action. On October 16, 2019,
the state court granted summary judgment in favor of
defendant and dismissed the case. The parties now seek a stay
of this matter while Plaintiff pursues
“appeal(s)” which it cannot do until the state
court has entered final judgment.
initial matter, the Court is unsure why this case was brought
in Federal Court, and not in conjunction with the state court
lawsuit. Notwithstanding that concern, it appears
there is no active case or controversy on which this Court
could issue a declaratory judgment as to whether the
defendant is an alter ego of the state court defendant,
without it being an advisory opinion without redressability.
That is, “where the plaintiffs seek declaratory and
injunctive relief, past injuries alone are insufficient to
establish standing.” Dearth v. Holder, 641
F.3d 499, 501 (D.C. Cir. 2011); citing Los Angeles v.
Lyons, 461 U.S. 95, 105, 103 S.Ct. 1660 (1983). Rather,
an “injury in fact” must be pleaded that the
Court can redress with a ruling in favor of plaintiff.
Spokeo II, 136 S.Ct. at 1547. “Satisfaction of
this requirement ensures that the lawsuit does not entail the
issuance of an advisory opinion without the possibility of
any judicial relief, and that the exercise of a court's
remedial powers will actually redress the alleged
injury.” City of Los Angeles v. Lyons, 461
U.S. 95, 129, 103 S.Ct. 1660, 1679 (1983). The state court
has granted summary judgment in favor of the state court
defendant. The fact that “Plaintiff intends to
appeal” a state court decision does not confer to
Plaintiff standing in this Court.
the parties state they are currently litigating
attorneys' fees in state court, and
“anticipate” that final judgment will be entered
in early 2020. Thereafter, Plaintiff apparently intends to
appeal the state court decision to the Arizona Court of
Appeals and the Arizona Supreme Court, if necessary. This
process could take years. The Court also notes that summary
judgment was granted in the state court action on October 16,
2019, but the parties did not seek the stay in this action
until November 15, 2019, the day Defendant's Answer was
due. No. Answer has been filed to date, and it is now almost
a week late.
parties have not established, and the Court does not find
good cause to indefinitely stay this matter. The parties seek
to stay this case pending the outcome of the appeal/appeals.
In the first instance, the parties state that the Superior
Court has not even entered final judgment at this time and
therefore an appeal is not ripe. While the parties speculate
that final judgment will be entered in early 2020, they have
no way of knowing, with certainty, that date that final
judgment will be entered. Moreover, once Plaintiff does
appeal, first to the Arizona Court of Appeals, and then
conceivably to the Arizona Supreme Court, it is possible that
it would take years before the
parties are ready to litigate this case. This case was filed
a little over two months ago, and for whatever reason,
Plaintiff chose to file it in this way rather than suing
Defendant in the state court action. (Doc. 1). The stay
contemplated by the parties does not consider the consumption
of sparse judicial resources of this District. Accordingly,
the Court will not allow cases to linger on its docket in the
manner in which the parties propose.
Court will allow Plaintiff to brief the issue of standing,
and why this Court should not dismiss this case for lack of
standing. Moreover, Plaintiff shall brief the applicability
of any of the abstention doctrines to this case. As noted
above, as an Answer has not been filed and the deadline has
passed, Defendant is currently out of compliance with Federal
and Local Rules. Defendant shall Answer the Complaint by
November 22, 2019, but shall also file a Motion for extension
of time, explaining the reasons for the failure to file by
the deadline. Alternatively, Plaintiff is free to voluntarily
dismiss this action until such time that it is ready to
litigate the claims herein.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Stipulation to
Stay Proceedings (Doc. 20) is denied with
IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff shall submit a
brief of no more than seven (7) pages as to why this case
should not be dismissed and shall address the following
issues: (1) jurisdiction; (2) standing; (3) how the relief
they seek would not amount to an advisory opinion; and (4)
relevant abstention doctrine. Plaintiff shall file the brief
by November 29, 2019.
IS FURTHER ORDERED that Defendant shall Answer the
Complaint by November 22, 2019, and file the
appropriate Motion for submitting late filings to the Court