United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Ocala Division
S. MOODY. JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
CAUSE comes before the Court on Defendant's Motion to
Stay Proceedings (Doc. 15), and Plaintiffs response (Doc.
16). Defendant seeks a stay of this action while a federal
case potentially impacting this one awaits resolution. Upon
review, the Court denies Defendant's motion.
February 23, 2017, Plaintiff Thomas Petras filed this action
alleging violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act
("TCP A") and the Florida Consumer Collection
Practices Act ("FCCPA"). In his Complaint (Doc. 1),
Plaintiff alleges Defendant Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC
repeatedly called him in an attempt to collect a debt.
Plaintiff further alleges that Defendant made each of these
calls using an automatic telephone dialing system
("ATDS") or an artificial or pre-recorded voice.
Finally, Plaintiff alleges that he verbally revoked his
consent for Defendant to contact him, but Defendant called
him at least another 100 times.
now asks the Court to stay these proceedings until ACA
International v. Federal Communications Commission, Case
No. 15-1211 before the D.C. Circuit, is adjudicated. In
ACA International, the D.C. Circuit will review
challenges to the Federal Communications Commission's
July 2015 Declaratory Ruling and Order, which interpreted
several provisions of the TCPA. In that Order, the Federal
Communications Commission ("FCC") expanded the
definition of an ATDS. Defendant argues that a stay is
warranted because the D.C. Circuit could invalidate the
FCC's Order, and this would limit Plaintiffs claim under
district court has "broad discretion to stay proceedings
as incident to its power to control its own docket."
Clinton v. Jones, 520 U.S. 681, 706 (1997) (citing
Landis v. N. Am. Co., 299 U.S. 248, 254 (1936)).
Deciding whether to stay a case "calls for the exercise
of judgment, which must weigh competing interests."
Landis, 299 U.S. at 254-55 (internal citations
omitted). Courts should not grant stays that are immoderate.
Id. at 256-57. However, in appropriate
circumstances, temporary stays can promote judicial economy,
reduce confusion and prejudice, and prevent inconsistent
outcomes in related cases. Rodriguez v. DFS Servs.,
LLC, No. 8:15-CV-2601-T-30TBM, 2016 WL 369052, at *2
(M.D. Fla. Feb. 1, 2016) (citing Amer. Mfrs. Mut. Ins.
Co. v. Edward D. Stone, Jr. & Assoc, 743 F.2d 1519,
1525 (11th Cir. 1984)).
argues that the Court should issue a stay because the ruling
in ACA International could affect a key issue in
this case-whether Defendant used an ATDS to call Plaintiff.
Defendant has not demonstrated that a stay is warranted, in
part because the D.C. Circuit's ruling mACA
International will not be dispositive in this case.
to the TCP A, Plaintiff can state a claim by alleging that
Defendant called him using an ATDS, PTDS, or an artificial or
pre-recorded voice. In the Complaint, Plaintiff alleged that
Defendant used either an ATDS or an artificial or
pre-recorded voice each time it called him. So, even if the
D.C. Circuit's ruling impacts the definition of an ATDS,
Plaintiff's claims will remain intact and the Parties
will still have to engage in discovery.
addition, it is far from certain that the D.C. Circuit will
invalidate the FCC's expanded definition of an ATDS. The
D.C. Circuit will not invalidate the FCC's July 2015
Order "unless it is 'arbitrary, capricious, an abuse
of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with the
law.'" Vernal Enters., Inc. v. Fed. Commc
'ns Comm 's, 355 F.3d 650, 658 (D.C. Cir. 2004)
(quoting 5 U.S.C. § 706(2)(A)). The Circuit Court's
review under this standard is highly deferential, and it must
presume the validity of the FCC's action. Id.
(internal citation omitted).
with this Court's orders in several other cases,
Court concludes a stay under these circumstances will not
promote judicial economy, but it will harm Plaintiff. Staying
these proceedings will require Plaintiff to stand aside for
an indefinite period of time, waiting first for the D.C.
Circuit to make its ruling and then (possibly) for the
Supreme Court to review that ruling. There is no compelling
reason to require this of Plaintiff. The stay requested by
Defendant is immoderate.
it is ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that Defendant's Motion to
Stay Proceedings (Doc. 15) is DENIED.