Radish Seed Growers' Association et al v. Northwest Bank, No. 6:2017cv00716 - Document 41 (D. Or. 2017)

Court Description: OPINION AND ORDER: Adopting Findings and Recommendation 30 . All proceedings in this case are STAYED, including consideration of defendant's Motion to Dismiss 6 , pending the resolution of the Ninth Circuit's decision in Northwe st Bank v. McKee Family Farms, 9th Cir. Case No. 16-35879. Defendant's Motion to Strike 18 is DENIED, without prejudice to its renewal should defendants prevail on appeal. Defendant's request for oral argument is denied as unnecessary. Signed on 12/5/2017 by Judge Ann L. Aiken. (ck)
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Radish Seed Growers' Association et al v. Northwest Bank Doc. 41 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF OREGON EUGENE DIVISION Case No. 6:17-cv-00716-JR OPINION AND ORDER RADISH SEED GROWERS' ASSOCIATION, an Oregon cooperative; MID VALLEY FARMS, INC., an Oregon corporation; and KCK FARl\ifS LLC, an Oregon limited liability company, Plaintiffs, vs. NORTHWEST BANK, a Pennsylvania statechartered savings association formerly known as Northwest Savings Bank, Defendant. AIKEN, District Judge: On October 3, 2017, Magistrate Judge Russo filed her Findings and Recommendation ("F&R"), recommending that (1) defendant's motion to strike the complaint be denied and (2) this action be stayed pending the resolution of the pending appeal in a related proceeding. Both parties filed objections, and the matter is now before me. Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b). Under the Magistrates Act, cettain types of pretrial decisions-including recommendations to dismiss for failure to state a claim-are subject to de novo review by the 1 - OPINION AND ORDER Dockets.Justia.com district judge. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1 )(C). If a pretrial matter is not specifically designated for de nova review, however, the district judge "may revisit" the decision only if it is "clearly erroneous or contrary to law." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(l)(A). Defendant's motion to strike is, essentially, a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. The decision to stay proceedings, by contrast, is not included in the list of matters subject to de nova review. Accordingly, I review the recommendation to stay proceedings for clear error and the recommendation to deny the antiSLAPP motion de nova. I am mindful, however, of the close relationship between Judge Russo's reasoning regarding the motion to strike and her reasoning regarding the need for a stay. As a result, I have carefully examined the reasoning underlying all sections of the F &R. Having reviewed the F &R, I find no enor, clear or otherwise. The pending appeal prevents me from determining, at this stage, whether the absolute litigation privilege or the antiSLAPP statute bar plaintiffs' claims; both issues turn on whether plaintiff can make out a claim for wrongful initiation of civil proceedings. Judge Russo correctly noted that the great weight of authority holds that such a claim cannot proceed while the appeal of the supposedly wrongful lawsuit is pending. In addition to being consistent with the weight of authority, waiting for the resolution of the pending appeal has obvious benefits: it minimizes the risk of conflicting judicial decisions, conserves judicial resources, and will aid the Court in reaching the correct result in this case. Although I fully understand why plaintiffs oppose a stay and do not doubt the cost that waiting imposes on them, I nonetheless agree with Judge Russo that a stay is warranted here. Reviewing de nova, I agree that defendants' motion to strike should be denied, without prejudice to its renewal should defendants prevail on appeal. I find no clear enor in Judge Russo's recommendation to stay proceedings. I ADOPT the F&R (doc. 30) and STAY all proceedings in this case, including consideration of defendant's motion to dismiss (doc. 6), 2 - OPINION AND ORDER pending the resolution of the Ninth Circuit's decision in Northwest Bank v. McKee Family Farms, 9th Cir. Case No. 16-35879. Defendant's motion to strike (doc. 18) is DENIED. Defendant's request for oral argument is denied as unnecessary. IT IS SO ORDERED . . Dated this V day of December 2017. AnnAiken United States District Judge 3 - OPINION AND ORDER