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Gaus v. Lumber Liquidators, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. West Virginia

January 29, 2018

BRYAN GAUS and DANIELLE GAUS, his wife, Plaintiffs,
v.
LUMBER LIQUIDATORS, INC. and LUMBER LIQUIDATORS HOLDINGS, INC., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO STAY, DEFERRING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO REMAND, AND DEFERRING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS

          FREDERICK P. STAMP, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This civil action arises out of plaintiffs' purchase of allegedly defective flooring from Lumber Liquidators for their home. In this civil action, plaintiffs assert claims for breach of express warranty, negligence, fraud, misrepresentation, and violations of the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act ("WVCCPA").[1]

         Now before the Court are three fully briefed motions: (1) defendants' motion to dismiss (ECF No. 4); (2) defendants' motion to stay (ECF No. 7); and (3) plaintiffs' motion to remand.

         For the reasons set forth below, this Court grants defendants' motion to stay (ECF No. 7), defers defendants' motion to dismiss (ECF No. 4), and defers plaintiffs' motion to remand (ECF No. 11).

         Plaintiffs filed their complaint[2] in the Circuit Court of Ohio County, West Virginia, and this case was removed to this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332. ECF No. 1.

         Defendants Lumber Liquidators, Inc. and Lumber Liquidators Holdings, Inc. (collectively, "Lumber Liquidators") then filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. ECF No. 4.

         Defendants also filed a motion to stay all proceedings in the action filed by plaintiffs Bryan Gaus and Danielle Gaus (collectively, "plaintiffs"), pending the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation's ("JPML") resolution of Plaintiffs' Opposition to Conditional Transfer Order ("CTO") 40 transferring this case to MDL 2627: In re: Lumber Liquidators Chinese-Manufactured Flooring Products Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation. ECF No. 7.

         Plaintiffs, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1446, filed a motion to remand[3] (ECF No. 11) this case to the Circuit Court of Ohio County, West Virginia asserting that defendants have "failed to satisfy their burden of proving the $75, 000 amount-in-controversy requirement." ECF No. 11 at 1.

         This civil action is subject to a Conditional Transfer Order (CTO-40, Document No. 579) as entered by the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation on December 11, 2017.

         By way of background, the plaintiffs Bryan Gaus and Danielle Gaus, previously filed suit in the Circuit Court of Ohio County, West Virginia, on February 28, 2017, against the defendants. That civil action[4] was removed to the United States District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332 before United States District Judge John Preston Bailey.[5]Defendants sought transfer of the action to the United States Court for the Eastern District of Virginia for inclusion in MDL No. 2627, pointing out that the factual allegations of the first complaint shared extensive common questions of fact with the cases already pending in the MDL, and moved to stay the action pending in the Northern District of West Virginia until the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ("JPML") ruled upon the transfer of the action to the MDL.

         Judge Bailey entered an order granting defendants' motion to stay[6] pending the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation's resolution of plaintiffs' opposition to conditional transfer order 29 transferring the case to MDL 2627: In re: Lumber Liquidators Chinese-Manufactured Flooring Products Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation. Judge Bailey noted in the order that plaintiffs' motion to remand was also pending before the Court, and deferred ruling on the motion to remand pending action from the MDL Panel.[7]

         On August 2, 2017, the first action was transferred to the United States Court for the Eastern District of Virginia for inclusion in the MDL assigned to Judge Anthony John Trenga. The JPML denied plaintiffs' objections to transfer, finding that the action had extensive factual overlap with the approximately 125 cases pending in the MDL, and transferred the case to the MDL over plaintiffs' objections.

         Here, as a threshold matter, while plaintiffs' arguments may be different, this Court finds that this instant action involves the same plaintiffs[8], the same defendants, and arises out of the same operative facts as the first action brought by plaintiffs which was previously pending before Judge Bailey in the Northern District of West Virginia and then transferred to the MDL in the Eastern District of Virginia. This Court agrees with Judge Bailey's analysis and finds that the same reasoning is applicable here. This Court is also fully of the opinion, like Judge Bailey, that staying this case pending the MDL Panel's decision on the ...


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