United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
SUE E. GILL, individually and on behalf of all other similarly situated, Plaintiff,
CONVERGENT OUTSOURCING, INC. And MIDLAND FUNDING LLC, Defendants.
Michael H. Watson Judge.
OPINION AND ORDER
ELIZABETH A. PRESTON DEAVERS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Defendants', Convergent
Outsourcing, Inc. and Midland Funding, LLC (collectively
“Defendants”), Motion to Stay Proceedings Pending
Certification of Nationwide Class (ECF Nos. 29, 30),
Plaintiff's Memorandum in Opposition (ECF No. 43), and
Defendants' Reply in Support (ECF Nos. 37, 38), as well
as Defendants' Motion to stay Class Certification
Briefing Deadlines Pending Ruling on Defendants' Motion
to Stay Proceedings (ECF Nos. 31, 32) Plaintiff's
Memorandum in Opposition (ECF No. 35), and Defendants'
Reply in Support. (ECF No. 36.) For the reasons that follow,
the Court GRANTS Defendants' Motion to
Stay (ECF Nos. 29, 30) and DENIES
Defendants' Motion to Stay Class Certification Briefing
(ECF Nos. 31, 32) as moot.
Sue E. Gill, brings this putative class action against
Defendants on behalf of himself and others similarly situated
in Ohio for alleged violations of the Fair Debt Collection
Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1691 et seq.
Plaintiff alleges that, in violation of § 1692e,
Defendants wrongly attempted to collect a time-barred debt by
using a form collection letter which contained an ineffective
disclaimer. (Pl.'s Compl. ¶¶ 20-23, ECF No. 1.)
now move to stay this action pending certification of a
nationwide class in a similar case pending in the United
States District Court for the District of Colorado, Ross
v. Convergent Outsourcing, Inc., et al., No.
1:16-cv-00825-PAB-KLM, that was filed on April 12, 2016, six
months before Plaintiff filed her Complaint in this Court on
October, 28, 2017.
LAW AND ANALYSIS
district court has “the inherent power to stay
proceedings based on its authority to manage its docket
efficiently.” Ferrell v. Wyeth-Ayerst Labs.,
Inc., No. 1:01-cv-447, 2005 U.S. 2005 WL 2709623, *1
(S.D. Ohio Oct. 21, 2005) (citing In re Airline Pilots
Ass'n. v. Miller, 523 U.S. 866, 879 n.6 (1998)). The
district court's broad discretion “includes the
power to stay a matter . . . pending resolution of
independent proceedings which bear upon the case at
hand.” Unroe v. Vilsack, No. 2:11-cv-592, 2012
WL 357219, at *1 (S.D. Ohio Aug. 13, 2012) (citing Deluca
v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mich., No. 06-12552, 2007
WL 715304, at *1 (E.D. Mich. March 7, 2007) (quoting
Mediterranean Enters. v. Ssangyong Corp., 708 F.2d
1458, 1465 (9th Cir. 1983)).
determining whether it is appropriate to stay litigation, the
Court should consider the following factors: “ the
potentiality of another case having a dispositive effect on
the case to be stayed,  the judicial economy to be saved
by waiting on a dispositive decision,  the public welfare,
and  the hardship/prejudice to the party opposing the
stay, given its duration.” Michael v. Ghee,
325 F.Supp.2d 829, 830 (N.D. Ohio 2004) (citing Landis v.
North American Co., 299 U.S. 248 (1936)); see also
Canter v. Calderhead, Lockenmeyer & Peschke Law
Office, No 1:13-cv-514, 2014 WL 64155, at *1 (S.D. Ohio
Jan. 8, 2014).
contend Ross is based on nearly identical facts and
legal issues as this case. (Defs.' Mot. Stay at 4.)
Defendants therefore assert that if Plaintiff's action in
this Court is allowed to proceed concurrently with
Ross, Defendants will be prejudiced by having to
engage in duplicative litigation and discovery related to
overlapping classes, will suffer unnecessary financial
expenses, and will be subject to potential inconsistent
rulings. (Defs.' Mot. Stay at 4.)
in turn, opposes any stay and contends that the collection
letters at issue in Ross and in this case are
distinct, that Plaintiff will be prejudiced by the settlement
in Ross because it is unfair, and that a stay will
not promote justice or judicial economy.
contend the parties in the Ross have filed a motion
for conditional class certification and preliminary approval
of class settlement. Defendants, therefore, request a stay of
this case to allow the Colorado court to resolve the merits
of the proposed settlement. According to Defendants,
certification of Ross's nationwide class will
have a dispositive effect on Plaintiff's case because the
nationwide class definition absorbs all class members within
Plaintiff's class definition. (Defs.' Mot. Stay at
4.) Plaintiff brings her Complaint on behalf of a class of
Ohio consumers defined as:
[A]ll persons similarly situated in the State of Ohio from
whom Defendants attempted to collect a delinquent,
time-barred consumer debt, allegedly owed for a First Bank of
Delaware credit card account, via the same form collection
letter (Exhibit B), that Defendants sent to ...