United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
THE PARISH OF PLAQUEMINES, ET AL.
HELIS OIL & GAS COMPANY, LLC, ET AL.
ORDER AND REASONS
are three motions before the Court. First, Plaintiffs have
filed a “Joint Ex Parte Motion for Leave to File Joint
Memorandum in Support of Motions for Remand in Excess of Page
Limitations of Local Rule 7.7” (Rec. Doc. 23). Second,
Defendant Chevron U.S.A. Inc. has filed a “Motion for
Stay Pending MDL Determination” (Rec. Doc. 9), which
Plaintiffs have opposed (Rec. Docs. 13, 14). Third, Defendant
filed a “Motion for Extension of Time to Respond to
Plaintiffs' Motion to Remand” (Rec. Doc. 27). For
the reasons discussed below, IT IS ORDERED
that the motion to stay (Rec. Doc. 9) is
GRANTED and the above-captioned matter is
STAYED AND ADMINISTRATIVELY CLOSED pending a
decision by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation
(the Panel) on the motion (see Rec. Doc. 5) to
coordinate pretrial proceedings of potentially related cases
filed by various Louisiana parishes against various oil
above-captioned matter was removed from state court, for the
second time, on May 23, 2018. See Rec. Doc. 1. On May
25, 2018, Defendants joined a motion presently before the
Panel that seeks coordinated pretrial proceedings, pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1407, of various allegedly related cases.
See Rec. Doc. 5. Briefing before the Panel on that
pending motion, see Rec. Doc. 5, will be completed
by July 2, 2018. See Rec. Doc. 18 at 1. On May 30,
2018, Defendants filed the instant motion to stay the
above-captioned matter pending a decision by the Panel.
See Rec. Doc. 9.
pendency of a motion . . . before the Panel pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1407 does not affect or suspend orders and
pretrial proceedings in any pending federal district court
action and does not limit the pretrial jurisdiction of that
court.” Rule 2.1(d) of the Rules of Procedure of the
United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. But
neither does it deprive the Court of its
“inherent” “power to stay proceedings . . .
to control the disposition of the causes on its docket with
economy of time and effort for itself, for counsel, and for
litigants.” Landis v. North American Co., 299
U.S. 248, 254 (1936).
stay is appropriate when it serves the interests of judicial
economy and efficiency.” La. Stadium &
Exposition Dist. V. Fin. Guar. Ins. Co., No. 09-235,
2009 WL 926982, at *1 (E.D. La. Apr. 2, 2009). “When
considering a motion to stay, the district court should
consider three factors: (1) potential prejudice to the
non-moving party; (2) hardship and inequity to the moving
party if the action is not stayed; and (3) the judicial
resources that would be saved by avoiding duplicative
litigation if the cases are in fact consolidated.”
Id. Here, the factors weigh in favor of granting a
will suffer some prejudice from a stay because they will be
delayed in seeking remand and continuing to assert their
claims against Defendant. The prejudice here may be greater
than in the average case because the above-captioned matter
has been litigated in state court for the past three years.
But this prejudice is outweighed by the other two factors.
Defendant has exercised its statutory rights to remove the
above-captioned matter from state court and seek coordination
of pretrial proceedings. See 28 U.S.C. §§
1407, 1441. While Plaintiffs may dispute the merits of
Defendant's actions, the instant motion to stay is not
the appropriate forum for such arguments. Denying
Defendant's motion for a stay could interfere with
Defendant's ability to present its argument for
coordination of pretrial proceedings to the Panel.
granting a stay will save judicial resources by avoiding
duplicative litigation. This is one of 40 similar cases that
were removed from state court on the same day and are
currently pending in various sections across two judicial
districts. See Rec. Doc. 1-1 at 3-4. To move forward
with each case individually when they might soon be
consolidated would be a waste of judicial resources as many
judges “would have to spend time familiarizing
[themselves] with the intricacies of  case[s]
involving” complex allegations and years of history.
La. Stadium & Exposition Dist., 2009 WL 926982,
at *1. For example, Plaintiffs have sought leave to file a
motion to remand with a 38 page memorandum in support and
over 3, 000 pages of exhibits. See Rec. Doc. 23.
Given the potential complexity of the motion to remand, and
the fact that the motion to coordinate pretrial proceedings
will be fully briefed in a few weeks, a stay will conserve
judicial resources without unduly prejudicing
IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiffs' motion (Rec.
Doc. 23) for leave to file a motion to remand that exceeds
the Local Rules page limits is DISMISSED AS
MOOT because Plaintiffs subsequently filed a motion
to remand (Rec. Doc. 25) that complies with the Local Rules
IS FURTHER ORDERED that Defendant's
“Motion for Extension of Time to Respond to
Plaintiffs' Motion to Remand” (Rec. Doc. 27) is
DISMISSED AS MOOT.
 This same case was first removed from
state court in December 2013. See Plaquemines Par. v.
Helis Oil & Gas Co., No. 13-6715, Rec. Doc. 1 (E.D.
La. Dec. 18, 2013). It was remanded in November 2015. See
Helis Oil & Gas Co., No. 13-6715, Rec. Doc. 34 (E.D.
La. Nov. 20, 2015).
 At least two other judges have
recently reached the same conclusion with respect to similar
motions to stay. See Par. of Jefferson v. Exxon Mobil
Corp., No. 18-5257, Rec. Doc. 25 (E.D. La. June 11,
2018) (granting stay pending Panel decision); Par. of
Plaquemines v. BEPCO, L.P., No. 18-5258, Rec. Doc. 18
(E.D. La. June 11, 2018) (same); Par. of Cameron v.
Alpine Expl. Co., No. 18-684, Rec. Doc. 50 (W.D. La.
June 1, 2018) (same); Par. of Cameron v. Atl. Richfield
Co., No. 18-686, Rec. Doc. 19 (W.D. La. June 1, 2018)
(same); Par. of Cameron v. Auster Oil & Gas,
Inc., No. 18-677, Rec. Doc. 52 (W.D. La. June 1, 2018)
(same); Par. of Cameron v. BP Am. Prod. Co., No.
18-687, Rec. Doc. 21 (W.D. La. June 1, 2018) (same); Par.
of Cameron v. Ballard Expl. Co., No. 18-678, Rec. Doc.
45 (W.D. La. June 12, 2018) (same); Par. of Cameron v.
Apache Corp., No. 18-688, Rec. Doc. 47 (W.D. La. June
12, 2018) (same); Par. of Cameron v. Anadarko E&P
Onshore, LLC, No. 18-689, ...