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Bedoya v. American Eagle Express

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

September 29, 2017

EVER BEDOYA, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
AMERICAN EAGLE EXPRESS, Defendant.

         Not for Publication

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          ESTHER SALAS, U.S.D. JUDGE.

         I. Introduction

          The parties are familiar with the facts and procedural posture of this case, so the Court will be brief. Plaintiffs are delivery drivers. Defendant is a logistics company that coordinates delivery services throughout several states (including New Jersey). Defendant employs Plaintiffs as independent contractors. Plaintiffs brought this putative class action to challenge their status as independent contractors; they contend that, under New Jersey law, they are employees.

         On August 7, 2015, Defendant moved under Federal Rule of Procedure 12(c) for judgment on the pleadings. (D.E. No. 69 (“12(c) motion”)). Defendant's 12(c) motion advanced a single, potentially case-dispositive argument: that Plaintiffs' Complaint is preempted by the Federal Aviation Authorization Administration Act of 1994 (“FAAAA”). (See generally id.). In a November 21, 2016 Order (the “Order”), this Court denied Defendant's 12(c) motion. (D.E. No. 110).

         Defendant now moves (i) to certify the Order for interlocutory appeal under 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b); and (ii) to stay this action pending appeal. (D.E. No. 112 (“Motion”)). Plaintiffs oppose Defendant's Motion. (D.E. No. 113 (“Pl. Opp. Br.”)). For the following reasons, the Court will GRANT Defendant's request to certify the Order for interlocutory appeal, but DENY without prejudice Defendant's request to stay this action at this time. If the Third Circuit agrees to hear Defendant's appeal, Defendant may move for reconsideration of its stay request.

         II. Discussion

         A. Certification for Interlocutory Appeal

         28 U.S.C. § 1292(b) provides, in relevant part, that:

When a district judge, in making in a civil action an order not otherwise appealable under this section, shall be of the opinion that such order involves a controlling question of law as to which there is substantial ground for difference of opinion and that an immediate appeal from the order may materially advance the ultimate termination of the litigation, he[1] shall so state in writing in such order.

         Thus, “[t]he statute imposes three criteria for the district court's exercise of discretion to grant a § 1292(b) certificate.” Katz v. Carte Blanche Corp., 496 F.2d 747, 754 (3d Cir. 1974). Specifically, the order must (i) involve a “controlling question of law”; (ii) offer “substantial ground for difference of opinion” as to its correctness; and (iii) if appealed immediately, “materially advance the ultimate termination of the litigation.” Id. (quoting § 1292(b)). “The burden is on the movant to demonstrate that all three requirements are met.” F.T.C. v. Wyndham Worldwide Corp., 10 F.Supp.3d 602, 633 (D.N.J. 2014) (citations omitted), aff'd, 799 F.3d 236 (3d Cir. 2015).

         “Certification, however, should only rarely be allowed as it deviates from the strong policy against piecemeal litigation.” Huber v. Howmedica Osteonics Corp., No. 07-2400, 2009 WL 2998160, at *1 (D.N.J. Mar. 10, 2009). Accordingly, a district court should certify issues for interlocutory appeal only “sparingly” and in “exceptional circumstances.” Cardona v. General Motors Corp., 939 F.Supp. 351, 353 (D.N.J. 1996). So, “even if all three criteria under Section 1292(b) are met, the district court may still deny certification, as the decision is entirely within the district court's discretion.” Morgan v. Ford Motor Co., No. 06-1080, 2007 WL 269806, at *2 (D.N.J. Jan. 25, 2007).

         1. The Order involves a controlling question of law.

         The parties agree that the Order involves a controlling question of law. (D.E. No. 112-1 (“Def. Mov. Br.”) at 7-8; Pl. Opp. Br. at 3 n.3). The Court also agrees that the Order involves a controlling question of law. ...


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