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MHG Hotels, LLC v. Studio 78, LLC

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

January 16, 2019

MHG HOTELS, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
STUDIO 78, LLC, Defendant. STUDIO 78, LLC, Counterclaimant,
v.
MHG HOTELS, LLC, et al., Counter Defendants. HOTELS OF SPEEDWAY, LLC, et al. Counterclaimants,
v.
STUDIO 78, LLC, Counter Defendant.

          ENTRY ON MOTION TO SEVER

          Hon. William T. Lawrence, Senior Judge

         This cause is before the Court on the Defendant Studio 78, LLC's motion to sever (Dkt. No. 82). The motion is fully briefed and the Court, being duly advised, DENIES the Defendant's motion for the reasons set forth below.

         I. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff MHG Hotels, LLC, filed suit in Marion County Superior Court on February 26, 2018, for claims related to the development of a hotel located in Speedway, Indiana (the “Indiana Project”). On March 16, 2018, the Plaintiff filed a motion to amend the complaint to add claims related to the development of a hotel in Deerfield Beach, Florida (the “Florida Project”). This motion was granted on March 19, 2018, and the Amended Complaint was deemed filed that day. The Defendant removed the case to this Court on April 19, 2018. On November 21, 2018, the Defendant filed the instant motion, moving to sever the portion of the lawsuit relating to the Florida Project, asking the court to either dismiss the claims or to transfer the severed portion to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         The parties agree that when deciding a motion to sever, the Court may consider the following factors:

(1) whether the claims arise out of the same transaction or occurrence; (2) whether the claims present some common questions of law or fact; (3) whether settlement of the claims or judicial economy would be facilitated; (4) whether prejudice would be avoided if severance were granted; and (5) whether different witnesses and documentary proof are required for the separate claims.

In re High Fructose Corn Syrup Antitrust Litig., 293 F.Supp.2d 854, 862 (C.D. Ill. 2003); see also Dkt. Nos. 83 at 7, 88 at 4 (expressing agreement with the standard).[1]

         III. DISCUSSION

         The Court will address the relevant factors in turn.

         A. Whether the Claims Arise out of the Same Transaction or Occurrence

         Both parties acknowledge that the claims related to the Florida Project arise out of a different transaction. This factor weighs in favor of severance.

         B. Whether the Claims Present Some Common Questions of Law or Fact

         The Plaintiff argues that the claims should not be severed because although the claims relate to different projects, the contracts at issue in the two projects are “nearly identical.” Dkt. No. 88 at 5. The Defendant responds by noting that the factual circumstances surrounding these contracts differ, and that these differing factual patterns call for severance. The Court disagrees. Clearly the interpretation of “nearly identical” contracts presents some common questions of law and fact; that the ...


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