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State v. Trump

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

May 17, 2017

STATE OF WASHINGTON, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
DONALD J. TRUMP, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR STAY

          JAMES L. ROBART United States District Judge

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Before the court is Defendants' motion to stay these proceedings pending resolution of the appeal of the preliminary injunction in Hawaii v. Trump, No. CV 17-00050 (D. Haw.). (Mot. (Dkt. # 175)); see also Hawaii v. Trump, No. 17-15589 (9th Cir.). The court has considered Defendants' motion, Plaintiffs' opposition to the motion (Resp. (Dkt. # 180)), Defendants' reply (Reply (Dkt. # 184)), the relevant portions of the record, and the applicable law. Being fulling advised, [1] the court GRANTS Defendants' motion.

         II. BACKGROUND

         This lawsuit arises out of President Donald J. Trump's recent issuance of two Executive Orders on immigration: Executive Order No. 13, 769 (“EO1”) and Executive Order No. 13, 780 (“EO2”).[2] This lawsuit began as a challenge to EO1. (See Compl. (Dkt. # 1).) On February 3, 2017, this court issued a nationwide temporary restraining order (“TRO”) enjoining enforcement of sections 3(c), 5(a), 5(b), 5(c), and 5(e) of EO1. (TRO (Dkt. # 52).) On appeal, the Ninth Circuit construed this court's TRO as a preliminary injunction and declined to stay the preliminary injunction pending Defendants' appeal of the preliminary injunction in the Ninth Circuit. See Washington v. Trump, 847 F.3d 1151, 1158 (9th Cir. 2017). On March 6, 2017, President Trump issued EO2, which expressly revokes EO1. See EO2 ¶ 13. In addition, Defendants withdrew their appeal of this court's injunction with respect to EO1. (9th Cir. Order (Dkt. # 111) (granting unopposed motion for voluntary dismissal of appeal).)

         Following the President's issuance of EO2, Plaintiffs filed a second amended complaint incorporating new allegations and claims with respect to EO2. (SAC (Dkt. # 152).) On March 15, 2017, Plaintiffs filed a motion seeking a TRO against enforcement of Sections 2(c) and 6(a) of EO2. (TRO Mot. (Dkt. # 148).) Later that same day, in a separate suit, the federal district court in Hawaii enjoined the enforcement of Sections 2 and 6 of EO2. See Hawaii v. Trump, No. CV 17-00050 (D. Haw.), Dkt. ## 219-20. On March 17, 2017, the court entered a stay of Plaintiffs' motion for a TRO in part because the federal district court in Hawaii entered a nationwide injunction that provided Plaintiffs with the relief they sought. (3/17/17 Order (Dkt. # 164) at 8-9.) The court also noted that “the Ninth Circuit's rulings on EO2 in Hawaii v. Trump will likely have significant relevance to-and potentially control-the court's subsequent ruling here.” (Id. at 10.) Accordingly, the court concluded that “granting the stay of Plaintiffs' TRO motion while the nationwide injunction remains in place . . . pending the outcome of appellate proceedings in [the Hawaii] case would facilitate the orderly course of justice.” (Id.)

         Defendants now seek a stay not just of Plaintiffs' motion for a TRO, but of the entire case pending resolution of the appeal in Hawaii v. Trump. (See Mot.) Plaintiffs oppose a stay. (See Resp.) The court now considers Defendants' motion.

         III. ANALYSIS

         The court “has broad discretion to stay proceedings as an incident to its power to control its own docket.” Clinton v. Jones, 520 U.S. 681, 706 (1997); see also Landis v. N. Am. Co., 299 U.S. 248, 254 (1936). This power applies “especially in cases of extraordinary public moment” when “a plaintiff may be required to submit to delay not immoderate in extent and not oppressive in its consequences if the public welfare or convenience will thereby be promoted.” Clinton, 520 U.S. at 707. In determining whether to grant a motion to stay, “the competing interests which will be affected by the granting or refusal to grant a stay must be weighed.” Lockyer v. Mirant Corp., 398 F.3d 1098, 1110 (9th Cir. 2005) (citing CMAX, Inc. v. Hall, 300 F.2d 265, 268 (9th Cir. 1962)). Those interests include: (1) “the possible damage which may result from the granting of a stay, ” (2) “the hardship or inequity which a party may suffer in being required to go forward, ” and (3) “the orderly course of justice measured in terms of the simplifying or complicating of issues, proof, and questions of law which could be expected to result from a stay.” Id. Here, the court finds that these factors weigh in favor of granting Defendants' motion pending resolution of the appeal of the preliminary injunction in Hawaii v. Trump.

         A. The Orderly Course of Justice

         The court begins with the last factor-the orderly course of justice and judicial economy. District courts often stay proceedings where resolution of an appeal in another matter is likely to provide guidance to the court in deciding issues before it. See Landis, 299 U.S. at 254. Where a stay is considered pending the resolution of another action, the court need not find that the two cases involve identical issues; a finding that the issues are substantially similar is sufficient to support a stay. See Landis, 299 U.S. at 254; see also Leyva v. Certified Grocers of Cal., Ltd., 593 F.2d 857, 863-64 (9th Cir. 1979) (stating that the court's authority to stay one proceeding pending the outcome in another “does not require that the issues in such proceedings are necessarily controlling of the action before the court”). Here, the appeal in Hawaii v. Trump involves many issues that overlap with the present litigation. Indeed, both cases involve challenges to sections 2 and 6 of EO2. (See SAC ¶¶ 196, 203, 209, 218, 224, 235, 240); Hawaii v. Trump, No. CV 17-00050 DKW-KSC, 2017 WL 1011673, at *17 (D. Haw. Mar. 15, 2017) (issuing nationwide TRO regarding sections 2 and 6 of EO2).

         Defendants argue that waiting for the Ninth Circuit's decision in the Hawaii case will likely provide guidance to the court in resolving discovery disputes relevant to Plaintiffs' claims. (Mot. at 6-8.) First, Defendants argue that Plaintiffs are seeking internal government records that Defendants believe are irrelevant because under Kleindienst v. Mandel, 408 U.S. 753, 770 (1972), Defendants need only demonstrate a “facially legitimate and bona fide reason” for the Executive's exclusion of aliens. (Mot. at 6.) Plaintiffs contend that “the Ninth Circuit has already resolved . . . against Defendants” the issue of whether internal government documents are relevant to Plaintiffs' claims when it rejected application of the Mandel standard in Washington, 847 F.3d at 1162. (Resp. at 7-8.) However, in the Hawaii appeal, Defendants argue that the federal district court in Hawaii misread [the Ninth Circuit's] stay ruling in Washington. (See Mot. at 1 (citing appellants' brief).) Plaintiffs obviously disagree with this position, but the salient point for purposes of Defendants' stay motion is that resolution of the Hawaii appeal is likely to provide guidance to this court on that issue and by extension on the appropriate scope of discovery.

         Further, even if the Ninth Circuit were to determine in Hawaii that Mandel does not provide the applicable standard and that courts may look beyond the four corners of EO2, the Ninth Circuit's decision is likely to provide guidance on the scope of that review. Although the Ninth Circuit is not considering discovery issues on appeal, it is likely to decide legal issues that will impact the court's resolution of the parties' discovery disputes here by clarifying “the applicable law or relevant landscape of facts that need to be developed.” See Washington v. Trump, No. C17-0141JLR, 2017 WL 1050354, at *5 (W.D. Wash. Mar. 17, 2017) (quoting Hawaii v. Trump, No. CV 17-00050 DKW-KJM, 2017 WL 536826, at *5 (D. Haw. Feb. 9, 2017)).

         In addition, Defendants are likely to move for dismissal under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). (Mot. at 8.) Defendants are likely to raise the same arguments that they would have raised in opposition to Plaintiffs' TRO motion had the court not stayed consideration of that motion. (Id.) For the same reasons that the court determined that the Ninth Circuit's decision in Hawaii would be helpful in resolving Plaintiffs' TRO motion, see Washington, ...


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