United States District Court, D. New Jersey
SALAS, U.S.D. JUDGE.
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
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).
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.
Certification for Interlocutory Appeal
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 shall so state in writing in such order.
“[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).
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).
The Order involves a controlling question of law.
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. ...