United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR STAY (DKT.
TERRENCE G. BERG UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the Court is Defendant John C. Heath Attorney at Law,
PLLC dba Lexington Law Firm's (“Lexington
Law”) Motion to Stay Proceedings (“Motion”)
pending the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C.
Circuit's decision in ACA Int'l v. FCC,
Appeal No. 15-1211 (D.C. Circuit) (filed on Oct. 13, 2015)
. The Court, having reviewed all materials and arguments
submitted pertaining to this Motion, NOW FINDS AND
RULES AS FOLLOWS: Defendant's Motion to Stay
Proceedings is GRANTED.
21, 2017, Plaintiff filed the instant action, asserting two
claims against Defendants: (1) violation of the Telephone
Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (“TCPA”),
particularly 47 U.S.C. § 227(a)(1); and (2) violation of
the Michigan Home Solicitation Calls Act
(“MHSCA”). The crux of each of Plaintiff's
claims is the allegation that Defendants used, controlled,
and/or operated automatic telephone dialing systems
“ATDS” to call Plaintiff without his consent and
solicit to him services that Plaintiff did not seek out.
See Compl. ¶¶ 60-63, 69-71.
Lexington Law contends that the decision of the United States
Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in
ACA Int'l is likely to be reached in the near
future, and may impact the course of this litigation. This
point is well-taken.
district 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) (citing Landis v. N. Am. Co., 299 U.S. 248,
254 (1936)). A court may “find it . . . efficient for
its own docket and the fairest course for the parties to
enter a stay of an action before it, pending resolution of
independent proceedings which bear upon the case.”
Leyva v. Certified Grocers of Cal., Ltd., 593 F.2d
857, 863 (9th Cir. 1979). The rule applies to judicial
proceedings and does not require the issues of such
proceedings be necessarily controlling of the action.
D.C. Circuit's decision in ACA Int'l is
significant because it will address the meaning of the term
“autodialer” under the TCPA. How this definition
is understood may well be dispositive of the case before the
Court and, at a minimum, the D.C. Circuit's
interpretation of the TCPA will provide persuasive authority
material to this Court's decision. Under such
circumstances, a stay is appropriate. See Jones v. Credit
Acceptance Corp., 2016 WL 7320919 (E.D. Mich. Oct. 31,
2016) (granting stay pending ACA Int'l
decision); see also Ricketts v. Consumers Energy
Co., 2017 WL 2351731, at *1 (E.D. Mich. May 31, 2017)
(same). A stay pending the D.C. Circuit's decision will
serve to conserve the resources of the parties and the court
while avoiding the wasted effort that may be involved in
proceeding under an uncertain legal framework. Plaintiff has
not articulated any concrete prejudice she might suffer if
these proceedings were stayed at this stage.Moreover, given
that the D.C. Circuit heard oral argument in October 2016,
the Court anticipates that a stay would be relatively brief,
ameliorating any prejudice to Plaintiff. See Jones,
2016 WL 7320919 at *3 (“In light of the uncertainty
surrounding the proper interpretation of the TCPA and the
lack of demonstrated prejudice to Jones, the interest of
judicial economy warrants a stay.”).
these reasons, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that
Defendant's motion to stay proceedings is
GRANTED. The parties shall inform the Court
immediately of the D.C. Circuit's ruling in ACA
Int'l v. FCC.
 The primary argument of prejudice that
Plaintiff advances relates to the potential spoliation of
evidence. In particular, Plaintiff argues that she
“may” have difficulty obtaining records from
third party cell phone carriers. However, it is unlikely that
a short stay would prevent Plaintiff from obtaining any
additional records from her own cell phone carrier, regarding
calls to her own phone number. Likewise, Plaintiff's
argument that she may be unable to obtain Defendants'
call records and or the records of any third party vendor
(which Plaintiff fails to identify) should a stay be granted
is also not well-taken. Defendants are under a continuing
obligation to preserve all records concerning their calls to
Plaintiff during the pendency of this stay. Any ...