Chavez v. LLC et al

Northern District of California, cand-4:2015-cv-02186

ORDER GRANTING {{13}} STIPULATION Dismissing Entire Action. Signed by Judge Kandis A. Westmore on 07/27/2015. (kawlc2S, COURT STAFF)

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1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 ERIC CHAVEZ, et al., 7 Case No. 15-cv-02186-KAW Plaintiffs, 8 v. ORDER GRANTING STIPULATION OF 9 DISMISSAL GOLDEN STATE FC, LLC, et al., 10 Re: Dkt. No. 13 Defendants. 11 12 Northern District of California United States District Court 13 On June 26, 2015, the parties to the above-captioned case filed a "Stipulation for an Order 14 Dismissing Entire Action," Dkt. No. 13, seeking dismissal of the individual named plaintiff's 15 claims with prejudice and dismissal of the class claims without prejudice. 16 Because the parties did not address the factors set forth in Diaz v. Trust Territory of the 17 Pacific Islands, 876 F.2d 1401 (9th Cir. 1989), the Court ordered the parties to file a brief addressing those factors, along with any declarations that would satisfy the Court that dismissal is 18 appropriate in this case. (July 17, 2014 Order, Dkt. No. 17.) On July 24, 2015, the parties filed 19 their brief, along with a declaration from J. Jason Hill, co-counsel for the named plaintiff and the 20 prospective class. (Supp. Br., Dkt. No. 13; Hill Decl., Dkt. No. 18-1.) 21 Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(e) states that the "claims, issues, or defenses of a 22 certified class may be settled, voluntarily dismissed, or compromised only with the court's 23 approval." The Ninth Circuit has extended this court approval requirement to settlements made 24 before a class has been certified. Diaz, 876 F.2d at 1408. It has stressed, however, that a "court's 25 duty to inquire into a settlement or dismissal differs before and after certification" because, before 26 certification, the risk of prejudice to absent class members is significantly lower. Id. (noting that 27 pre-certification dismissals do not require "the kind of substantive oversight required when 28 1 reviewing a settlement binding upon the class"). 2 To determine whether pre-certification settlement or dismissal is appropriate, the court 3 must inquire into possible prejudice resulting from: 4 (1) class members' possible reliance on the filing of the action if they are likely to know of it either because of publicity or other circumstances, (2) lack of adequate 5 time for class members to file other actions, because of a rapidly approaching statute of limitations, (3) any settlement or concession of class interests made by 6 the class representative or counsel in order to further their own interests. 7 Diaz, 876 F.2d at 1408. 8 Having reviewed the parties' submission, the Court finds that the risk of possible prejudice 9 to potential class members is slight, if not non-existent. First, Mr. Hill is not aware of any 10 significant news coverage regarding this case, and he has not received any inquiries from potential 11 class members. (Id.) Under these circumstances, the Court finds that it is unlikely that potential class members knew about this action and relied on it for vindication of their own rights. Second, 12 Northern District of California United States District Court the parties seek to dismiss the class claims without prejudice, which would allow any absent class 13 members to assert their own claims in a separate action. The class action tolling doctrine ensures 14 that these claims would not be time-barred. See Lyons v. Bank of America, N.A., No. C 11-1232 15 CW, 2012 WL 5940846, at * 2 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 27, 2012) (citations omitted). Third, "[n]o 16 consideration or settlement was made, and neither [the named plaintiff] nor any of the proposed 17 class counsel received any money for the voluntary dismissal," see Hill Decl. ¶ 5, which 18 diminishes any risk that dismissal is sought to further the interests of the class representative or 19 counsel. 20 For the reasons set forth above, the Court GRANTS the parties' stipulation. The named 21 plaintiff's individual claims are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. All class claims are 22 DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. 23 IT IS SO ORDERED. 24 Dated: 07/27/2015 25 __________________________________ KANDIS A. WESTMORE 26 United States Magistrate Judge 27 28 2