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Ali v. Trump

United States District Court, W.D. Washington

May 22, 2017

JUWEIYA ABDIAZIZ ALI, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
DONALD 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 proceeding pending resolution of the appeal of the preliminary injunction in Hawaii v. Trump, No. CV 17-00050 (D. Haw.). (Mot. (Dkt. # 85)); see also Hawaii v. Trump, No. 17-15589 (9th Cir.). The court has considered Defendants' motion, Plaintiffs' opposition to the motion (Resp. (Dkt. # 92)), Defendants' reply (Reply (Dkt. # 93)), the relevant portions of the record, and the applicable law. Being fully 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] On January 30, 2017, Plaintiffs filed a putative class action complaint challenging Section 3 of EO1. (Compl. (Dkt. # 1).) On March 6, 2017, President Trump issued EO2, which expressly revoked EO1. See EO2 ¶ 13. Following the President's issuance of EO2, Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint incorporating new allegations and claims with respect to EO2. (FAC (Dkt. # 52).) On March 10, 2017, Plaintiffs filed a motion seeking a temporary restraining order (“TRO”) against enforcement of certain provisions of EO2, including Section 2(c). (TRO Mot. (Dkt. # 53).) On March 15, 2017, the court held a hearing on Plaintiffs' motion for a TRO. (Min. Entry (Dkt. # 78).)

         Later that 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, this court stayed 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. # 79).) 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 a 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. When considering a stay 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 constitutional and statutory challenges to Sections 2 of EO2. (See FAC ¶ 98; id. at 45 (Prayer for Relief); Prop. TRO (Dkt. # 53-1) at 2 (seeking an injunction of Section 2 of EO2); Hawaii v. Trump, No. CV 17-00050 DKW-KSC, 2017 WL 1011673, at *17 (D. Haw. Mar. 15, 2017) (issuing a 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 7-8.) First, Defendants argue that Plaintiffs are seeking internal government records that Defendants do not believe are relevant 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 the issue of whether internal government documents are relevant to Plaintiffs' claims when it rejected application of the Mandel standard in Washington v. Trump, 847 F.3d 1151, 1162 (9th Cir. 2017). (Resp. at 3 n.4.) 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 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.

         Further, even if the Ninth Circuit determines 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.”[3] 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 argue that the Ninth Circuit's ruling in Hawaii v. Trump will assist the court in other aspects of the litigation as well. (Mot. at 8.) For example, Defendants have moved for dismissal under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) (see MTD (Dkt. # 94)) and Plaintiffs have moved for class certification (MFCC (Dkt. # 58)).[4] For the same reasons that the Ninth Circuit's decision in Hawaii would be helpful in resolving Plaintiffs' TRO motion, see Ali v. Trump, No. C17-0135JLR, 2017 WL 1057645, at *5 (W.D. Wash. Mar. 17, 2017), the Ninth Circuit's decision is also likely to be helpful to the court in resolving Defendants' motion to dismiss and Plaintiffs' motion for class certification. Further, failing to stay this case could result in “inconsistent rulings” that would need to be “disentangle[d]” later. Washington, 2017 WL 1050354, at *5. For example, if the court determined that discovery of internal government documents is relevant to Plaintiffs' claims and proportional to the needs of the case, see Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1), but the Ninth Circuit's decision is inconsistent with that ruling, then the parties would have wasted resources on irrelevant discovery, and the court may have wasted time and resources on ...


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