United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Christy L. Hall, Jill R. Gaulding, and Lisa C. Stratton,
Gender Justice, Minnesota Women's Building; Katherine S.
Barrett Wiik and Lindsey Wheeler Lee, Robins Kaplan, LLP, for
J. Winter, Sara Gullickson McGrane, and Scott D. Blank,
Felhaber Larson, for Defendant Fairview Health Services,
d/b/a Fairview Southdale Hospital.
W. Strathman, Emergency Physicians P.A.; Jessica L. Roe and
Shannon N.L. Cooper, Roe Law Group, PLLP, for Defendant
Emergency Physicians, P.A.
RICHARD NELSON, United States District Court Judge
the Court are requests from Defendants Fairview Health
Services (“Fairview”) and Emergency Physicians,
P.A. (“EPPA”) to stay the instant litigation in
light of a recent injunction issued in Franciscan
Alliance, Inc. v. Burwell, No. 7:16-cv- 00108-O (N.D.
Tex. Dec. 31, 2016), Ex. 1 to Gaulding Decl. [Doc. No.
210-1], and the decision of the United States Supreme Court
to grant certiorari in Gloucester Cnty. Sch. Bd. v.
G.G., 137 S.Ct. 369 (2016). (See Def.
Fairview's Mem. [Doc. No. 208]; Def. EPPA's Mem.
[Doc. No. 211].) For the reasons set forth below, the Court
stays Plaintiff's claims under Section 1557 of the
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
(“ACA”), 42 U.S.C. § 18116, but exercises
its supplemental jurisdiction to proceed with dispositive
motion practice and trial on Plaintiff's claim under the
Minnesota Human Rights Act (“MHRA”), Minn. Stat.
detailed recitation of the underlying facts of this action is
found in this Court's Order of March 16, 2016 [Doc. No.
31] on Defendants' motions to dismiss, which the Court
incorporates herein by reference. In brief, in June 2013,
Plaintiff Jakob Tiarnan Rumble, a transgender man, sought
medical treatment from Defendants Fairview and EPPA. (Order
of 3/16/15 at 4-5.) He alleges that in the course of his
treatment, Defendants' care givers provided poor medical
care and subjected him to unnecessary trauma based on his
status as a transgender man. (Id. at 5-9.) Rumble
filed the instant action alleging sex discrimination under
the ACA's Section 1557 and sexual orientation/gender
identity discrimination under the MHRA. (Compl., Counts I
& II [Doc. No. 1].)
December 2, 2016, Fairview and EPPA filed motions for summary
judgment [Doc. Nos. 139; 143]. Shortly before Defendants'
reply memoranda were due, defense counsel filed a letter with
the Court, referenced above, arguing that a nationwide
injunction recently issued by the United States District
Court for the Northern District of Texas in Franciscan
Alliance mandated the dismissal of Rumble's Section
1557 claim or the issuance of a stay of this litigation.
(Def.'s Letter at 1.) The court in Franciscan
Alliance, in pertinent part, enjoined the nationwide
enforcement of the Department of Health and Human
Services' (“HHS's”) regulation under
Section 1557 that prohibits discrimination on the basis of
gender identity. Franciscan Alliance at 46.
response to letters from Plaintiff's counsel and
Defendants' counsel [Doc. Nos. 198-99; 203-05] regarding
the effect on this litigation of Franciscan
Alliance, this Court ordered the parties to file
supplemental briefing addressing: (1) whether, and in what
way, the Franciscan Alliance injunction is binding
on this Court; (2) whether a stay is warranted in this action
in light of the United States Supreme Court's grant of
certiorari in Gloucester Cnty; and (3) whether,
if the Court were to stay Plaintiff's claim under Section
1557, this action could proceed to dispositive motion
practice and trial on Plaintiff's MHRA claim.
argue that the Court must stay Plaintiff's Section 1557
claim because the Franciscan Alliance injunction is
binding on this Court because that ruling determined that the
federal agency regulation, applicable nationwide, unlawfully
violated the Administrative Procedure Act
(“APA”). (Def. Fairview's Mem. at 2-4; Def.
EPPA's Mem. at 3-5.) In such circumstances, Defendants
contend that a nationwide injunction is proper.
(Id.) (citing Lujan v. Nat'l Wildlife
Fed'n, 497 U.S. 871, 890 n.2 (1990) (observing that
a successful challenge under the APA to a final agency action
can affect the entire agency program and is not limited to
individual litigants); Greater Yellowstone Coal. v.
Bosworth, 209 F.Supp.2d 156, 163 (D.D.C. 2002)
(“As a general matter, an agency action that violates
the APA must be set aside.”); Nat'l Min.
Ass'n v. U.S. Army Corps of Eng'rs, 145 F.3d
1399, 1407-10 (D.C. Cir. 1998) (invalidating an agency rule
and granting nationwide relief)). They argue that a stay is
additionally warranted in light of the grant of certiorari in
Gloucester County, in which the Supreme Court will
consider whether Title IX's prohibition against
discrimination “on the basis of sex” includes
discrimination based on gender identity. (Def. Fairview's
Mem. at 5-8; Def. EPPA's Mem. at 5-7.) Finally,
Defendants assert that if the Court stays Rumble's
Section 1557 claim, his MHRA claim must likewise be stayed.
(Def. Fairview's Mem. at 8-10; Def. EPPA's Mem. at
however, contends that Franciscan Alliance has no
impact on non-parties' Section 1557 claims and that
Gloucester County does not require a stay.
(Pl.'s Mem. at 3-8.) However, if the court were to impose
a stay, Plaintiff requests that this Court retain
supplemental jurisdiction over his MHRA claim and proceed to
trial. (Id. at 10.)
Court has observed, the power to issue a stay of proceedings
is within a court's inherent power to control the
disposition of its cases “with economy of time and
effort for itself, for counsel, and for litigants.”
BAE Sys. Land & Armaments L.P. v. Ibis Tek, LLC,
124 F.Supp.3d 878, 889 (D. Minn. 2015) (quoting Cottrell
v. Duke, 737 F.3d 1238, 1248 (8th Cir. 2013)). While the
inherent power to manage a court's docket is within the
court's discretion, the party seeking a stay bears the
burden of establishing the need for a stay. Id.
Because a stay may potentially cause harm to the opposing
party, “the decision to stay should weigh ‘the
competing interests and maintain an even balance.'”
In re Wholesale Grocery Prods. Antitrust Litig., No.
09-md-2090 (ADM/AJB), 2013 WL 6533154, at *1 (D. Minn. Dec.
13, 2013) (quoting Landis v. N. Am. Co., 299 U.S.
248, 255 (1936)). Relevant factors to consider “include
the conservation of judicial resources and the parties'
resources, maintaining control of the court's docket,
providing for the just determination of cases, and hardship
or inequity to the party opposing the stay.” Frable
v. Synchrony Bank, No. 16-cv-559 (DWF/HB), __ F.Supp.3d
__, 2016 WL 6123248, at *2 (D. Minn. Oct. 17, 2016) (citing
Edens v. Volkswagen Grp. of Am., Inc., No.
16-cv-0750 (WMW/LIB), 2016 WL 3004629, at *1-2 (D. Minn. May
argue that a stay is warranted in light of the two recent
decisions in Franciscan Alliance and Gloucester
County. Resolution of this issue therefore requires an
understanding of ...