United States District Court, D. Minnesota
IN RE CENTURYLINK SALES PRACTICES AND SECURITIES LITIGATION This Document Relates to Civil File Nos. 17-2832, 17-4613, 17-4614, 17-4615, 17-4616, 17-4617, 17-4618, 17-4619, 17-4622, 17-4943, 17-4944, 17-4945, 17-4947, 17-5046, 18-1562, 18-1565, 18-1572, 18-1573,
MEMORANDUM OF LAW
MICHAEL J. DAVIS UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.
August 20, 2019, the Court issued an Order [Docket No. 447]
granting the State of Minnesota's Motion for Continuance
and Extension of Time to Respond to Defendant and
Intervenors' Motion for Temporary Injunction [Docket No.
436]. In accordance with that Order, the Court issues the
following Memorandum of Law.
Minnesota Attorney General began an investigation into the
billing practices of Defendant CenturyLink, Inc.
(“CenturyLink”) in 2015. (Canaday Decl. ¶
1.) On July 12, 2017, the State of Minnesota (the
“State”) filed an action against CenturyLink in
Minnesota state court to enforce Minnesota's consumer
protection laws and its parens patriae authority to vindicate
the State's sovereign and quasi-sovereign interest to
protect the economic welfare of Minnesota's citizens.
MDL was transferred to this Court on October 10, 2017. The
first individual case in the MDL was filed on June 18, 2017
in the Central District of California. McLeod et al v.
CenturyLink, Inc., Civil File No. 17-4614 (MJD/KMM).
closes on October 11, 2019 in the state action, and the
State's motion for summary judgment must be filed on or
before October 10, 2019. (Canaday Decl. ¶ 5.)
CenturyLink represents that oral argument on the summary
judgment motion is set for November 7, 2019. Trial is
scheduled to begin in March 2020. (Id.) In contrast,
the motions to dismiss, to intervene, and to compel
arbitration are still pending in the MDL consumer cases,
full-scale discovery has not yet commenced, no class has been
certified, and no settlement has been presented to the Court.
a June 7, 2019 hearing, MDL lead counsel informed this Court
that the parties in the consumer cases had reached a
tentative settlement of the consumer MDL cases. ([Docket No.
410] June 7, 2019 Tr. 7.) Lead counsel represented that the
settlement included a $15.5 million fund and that there was
“a lot of work” remaining to establish the final
terms of the settlement. (Id. 7-8.) The parties have
not disclosed the final terms of the settlement to the Court
or to the State. (Canady Decl. ¶¶ 8, 10.) The State
did not participate in those settlement discussions.
(Id. ¶ 8.) CenturyLink represents that the
consumer plaintiffs and CenturyLink have agreed in writing to
the material terms of a nationwide class-action settlement in
a Term Sheet and will soon move for preliminary approval of
30, 2019, CenturyLink emailed the State and demanded that it
“withdraw” its claim for restitution in the state
action. (Canaday Decl. ¶ 9.) In response, the State
requested a copy of the current draft of the settlement
agreement in order to evaluate CenturyLink's proposal,
but CenturyLink refused to provide it. (Id. ¶
August 1, 2019, Defendant and Intervenors filed a Motion for
Temporary Injunction to Enjoin and Stay Minnesota Attorney
General's Duplicative Consumer Restitution Claims.
[Docket No. 421] Defendant seeks to enjoin the Minnesota
Attorney General from pursuing restitution claims in the
state court action.
on the Court's schedule and the represented availability
of all relevant parties, the Court set the hearing on the
motion for September 25, 2019. [Docket No. 428] On August 7,
2019, the State filed a letter request for a continuance,
which Defendant opposed. [Docket Nos. 430-31] On August 15,
the Court denied the State's request without prejudice on
the grounds that the Court would only consider a request for
a continuance contained in a formal motion. [Docket No. 435]
August 16, the State filed the current Motion for
Continuance. The State requests that the Court 1) continue
the hearing on Defendant's motion until after Defendant
files for preliminary approval of the putative class action
settlement and 2) alter the briefing schedule on the motion
so that the State is provided at least 30 days after such
filing to submit its response in opposition to the motion.