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Greene v. Jacob Transportation Services, LLC

United States District Court, D. Nevada

April 20, 2019

ROBERT G. GREENE, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
JACOB TRANSPORTATION SERVICES, LLC, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          Gloria M. Navarro, Chief Judge

         Pending before the Court is the Motion to Enjoin, (ECF No. 351), filed by Plaintiffs Robert G. Greene, Thomas Schemkes, and Gregory Green (collectively “Plaintiffs”), on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated. Defendants Jacob Transportation Services, LLC (“JTS”) and Carol and James Jimmerson (collectively “Defendants”) filed a Response, (ECF No. 353).

         On April 11, 2019, the Court held a hearing on Plaintiffs' Motion to Enjoin and the parties were ordered to file additional briefing, by April 18, 2019, addressing whether the state court orders interfere with the Settlement Order, and addressing whether the All Writs Act or Anti-Injunction Act applies to this case. (Mins. Proceedings, ECF No. 354). Plaintiffs and Defendants submitted supplemental briefs, (ECF Nos. 355, 356).[1] Additionally, Defendants filed a Motion for Partial Relief Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (“Rule”) 60(b)(5), (ECF No. 360). For the reasons discussed herein, Plaintiffs' Motion to Enjoin and Defendants' Motion for Partial Relief Under Rule 60(b)(5) are DENIED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The instant Motion arises from the Court's Order granting final approval to the parties' class action settlement. (See Settlement Order, ECF No. 344). Plaintiffs are persons formerly employed by Defendant JTS as limousine drivers. (See First Am. Compl. ¶¶ 16, ECF No. 204). Defendants James and Carol Jimmerson are the sole officers and owners of JTS. (Id. ¶ 8). Plaintiffs initiated this class action suit (the “Greene Class Action”) against Defendants, asserting claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and Nevada wage-and-hour law. (Id. ¶¶ 32-99).

         Relevant here, the Court's Order on the parties' settlement (the “Settlement Order”) incorporated by reference the parties' settlement agreement (the “Settlement Agreement”) and provides that “Defendants shall fund the settlement by April 21, 2019.” (Settlement Order 3:20-21, ECF No. 344). The Court expressly “retain[ed] jurisdiction to enforce the terms of the settlement, including the payment of the settlement fund.” (Id. 3:22-23). The Court entered its Settlement Order on September 26, 2018, and the clerk of court entered judgment the following day, closing the case, (ECF Nos. 344, 345).

         JTS subsequently sued 17 class members (collectively the “Drivers”) in state court for allegedly stealing limousine rides during their employment with JTS and failing to report their earnings (the “State Actions”). In one of the State Actions, the class member, or Driver, moved to dismiss for JTS's failure to pursue a compulsory counterclaim in the Greene Class Action. (See Order Denying Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss, JTS v. Onofrietti, No. 18-C-011256 (March 19, 2019), Ex. 4 to Resp. to Mot. to Enjoin, ECF No. 353-6). In denying the motion, the court found that JTS did not waive and did not release any claims against the Drivers in the Greene Class Action. (Id. 2:21-23). Additionally, the court determined that JTS's claims for conversion, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, and unjust enrichment were permissive rather than compulsory counterclaims in the Greene Class Action. (Id. 3:21-4:7).

         In at least six of the State Actions, JTS successfully moved the Nevada state court for a writ of attachment and writ of garnishment in aid of attachment. JTS expressly sought to attach the class members' portions of their yet-to-be-distributed settlement awards. For example, in one of the cases, [2] JTS v. Gebrekiros, the court stated:

The Plaintiffs have alleged that there is now due and owing from Defendant to Plaintiffs [JTS and Bentley Transportation Services, LLC] the principle sum of at least $5, 056.27. The Plaintiffs have informed this Court that the Defendant's portion of the settlement in [the Greene Class Action] will be $518.20. Plaintiffs have also informed this Court that Plaintiff believes that his money is currently in the possession of James J. Jimmerson . . . .

(See Order 4:2-8, JTS v. Gebrekiros, No. 18-C-011252 (Apr. 2, 2019), Ex. A to Mot. to Enjoin, ECF No. 351-1). The court required that JTS post an undertaking as security in the amount of $518.20 and stated the persons upon whom writs of garnishment in aid of attachment may be served are JTS, James J. Jimmerson, and Carol Jimmerson. (Id. 4:12-17). The court described the property to be attached as “Solomon Gebrekiros' portion of the settlement in [the Greene Class Action] in the amount of $518.20.” (Id. 4:18-22). The court further ordered the clerk of court to issue a prejudgment writ of attachment upon posting of JTS's undertaking, and that “within 3 days after the Clerk of Court issues a prejudgment writ of attachment, the Sherriff issue a writ of garnishment in aid of attachment on James J. Jimmerson, Esq.” (Id. 5:1- 9).

         Plaintiffs filed the instant Motion to Enjoin shortly thereafter, contending, inter alia, that Defendants' initiation of the State Actions is an attempt “to attach the settlement proceeds so they can reduce their liability under the Court's Judgment.” (Mot. to Enjoin 5:1-5, ECF No. 351). The State Actions, Plaintiffs continue, therefore constitute an impermissible interference with this Court's Settlement Order and an encroachment on its continued jurisdiction over the Settlement Agreement. (Id. 12:19-15:11).

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Under the All Writs Act, federal courts “may issue all writs necessary or appropriate in aid of their respective jurisdictions and agreeable to the usages and principles of law.” See 28 U.S.C. § 1651(a). This authority is substantially limited by the Anti-Injunction Act, which prevents federal courts from enjoining “proceedings in a State court except as expressly authorized by Act of Congress, or where necessary in aid of its jurisdiction, or to protect or effectuate its judgments.” See 28 U.S.C. § 2283. “Any doubts as to the propriety of a federal injunction against state court proceedings should be resolved in favor of permitting the state courts to proceed . . . .” Atl. Coast Line R. Co. v. Bhd. of Locomotive Engineers, 398 U.S. 281, 297 (1970). Thus, an injunction may issue only upon “‘a strong and unequivocal showing' that such relief is necessary.” Sandpiper Vill. Condo. Ass'n., Inc. v. Louisiana-Pac. Corp., 428 F.3d 831, 842 (9th Cir. 2005) (quoting Bechtel Petroleum, Inc. v. Webster, 796 F.2d 252, 253-54 (9th Cir. 1986)).

         III. ...


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