United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
A. ROSS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
putative class action is brought on behalf of various
Missouri insureds, for damages incurred as a result of the
alleged misconduct of their respective insurance companies,
and the insurance companies for unnamed third-party
tortfeasors, in connection with an arbitration services
company. The action was originally filed on July 27, 2017 in
the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis, State of
Missouri, entitled White Knight Diner, LLC, et al. v.
Arbitration Forums, Inc., et al., Case No. 1722-CC10901.
On September 14, 2017, Defendant State Farm Mutual Automobile
Insurance Company (“State Farm Auto”) and State
Farm Fire and Casualty Company (“State Farm
Fire”) removed the action to this Court pursuant to the
Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”). 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332(d). (Doc. No. 1). On September 15, 2017,
co-defendants Acuity and Owners removed the identical state
court case on the basis of diversity and CAFA, resulting in a
separate case being opened, Case No. 4:17-CV-02416 RLW.
Acuity and Owners move for an order consolidating Case No.
4:17-CV-02416 RLW into a single case number, Case No.
4:17-CV-02406 JAR, and directing that all future filings be
made in Case No. 4:17-CV-02406 JAR (Doc. No. 17). Plaintiffs
have not opposed the motion.
Rule of Civil Procedure 42(a) provides that a court may
consolidate actions if those actions “involve a common
question of law or fact.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 42(a)(2). The
decision whether to consolidate is committed to the
court's discretion. Disher v. Citigroup Global
Markets, Inc., 487 F.Supp.2d 1009, 1013 (S.D. Ill.
2007). In exercising that discretion, courts consider factors
such as the similarity of questions of law and fact, the
goals of judicial efficiency and avoidance of inconsistent
verdicts and whether consolidation will delay the
proceedings. Id. The matters before the Court
clearly present common questions of fact and law since Case
No. 4:17-CV-02416 RLW and Case No. 4:17-CV-02406 JAR are
identical, created by successive timely removals of the same
state court action. Thus, consolidation is warranted under
Rule 42(a) and the motion to consolidate will be granted.
September 15, 2017, Defendant Acuity filed a motion to
dismiss (Doc. No. 12); Defendant State Farm filed a motion to
dismiss on September 19, 2017 (Doc. No. 19); Defendant Owners
filed a motion to dismiss on September 21, 2017 (Doc. No.
21); and Defendant Arbitration Forums filed a motion to
dismiss on October 6, 2017 (Doc. No. 28). To date, Plaintiffs
have not responded to Defendants' motions, or moved for
an extension of time to respond. On October 11, 2017,
Plaintiffs filed a motion to stay the Court's ruling on
the motions to dismiss pending resolution of its motion to
remand, also filed on October 11, 2017 (Doc. Nos. 32, 34).
Acuity, Owners and State Farm oppose the motion to stay (Doc.
Nos. 39, 40, 42).
move to remand the case on the ground that it falls under the
“local controversy” exception to federal
jurisdiction set forth in CAFA. One of the exhibits to
Plaintiffs' motion to remand is a notice of deposition
directed to Defendant AAA, the only Missouri defendant,
listing several proposed topics of examination, to be held on
October 24, 2017. Deposition topics include Defendant
AAA's subrogation practices and relationship to Defendant
Arbitration Forums. Plaintiffs assert that the deposition
testimony of Defendant AAA will be offered in support of
their motion to remand. Defendant Acuity moves to quash the
notice of deposition as improper (Doc. No. 44). Because
Plaintiffs' attempt to seek discovery from Defendant AAA
is premature and in violation of Rule 26, which governs the
timing and sequence of discovery, and because the Court has
not otherwise granted Plaintiffs leave to take AAA's
deposition, Acuity's motion to quash the notice of
deposition will be granted.
accordance with the rulings herein, IT IS HEREBY
ORDERED that Defendants Acuity Insurance Company and
Owners Insurance Company's Motion to Consolidate  is
GRANTED and White Knight Diner, LLC, et
al. v. Arbitration Forums, Inc., et al., Case No.
4:17-CV-02416 RLW is consolidated with Case No. 4:17-CV-02406
JAR for all purposes.
IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk of the Court shall
take all necessary steps to administratively close Case No.
IS FURTHER ORDERED that Defendant Acuity's
Expedited Motion to Quash Notice of Deposition of Automobile
Club Inter-Insurance Exchange  is
IS FINALLY ORDERED that Plaintiffs shall file a
response to Defendants' Memoranda in Opposition to
Plaintiffs' Request for Stay of Defendants' Motions
to Dismiss Pending Remand (Doc. Nos. 39, 40, 42)
by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, October 23,
 Under the local-controversy exception,
a district court must decline to exercise jurisdiction over a
class action in which more than two-thirds of the class
members in the aggregate are citizens of the state in which
the action was originally filed, at least one defendant
“from whom significant relief is sought by members of
the plaintiff class” and “whose alleged conduct
forms a significant basis for the claims asserted by the
proposed plaintiff class” is a citizen of the state in
which the class action was originally filed, the principal
injuries were incurred in the state in which the action was
filed, and no other class action alleging similar facts was
filed in the three ...