United States District Court, D. Kansas
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
F. MELGREN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court are Defendants' Notice of Filing and Request to
Hold Proceedings in Abeyance (Motion to Stay) (Doc. 19) and
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss or in the Alternative
Transfer based upon Forum Non Conveniens (Doc. 6).
For the reasons stated below, the Court denies both motions.
Factual and Procedural Background
Plaintiff, 3-B Cattle Company (“3-B”), is a
corporation incorporated in Kansas. The Defendants, Kelvin
and Susan Morgan, are individuals who reside and do business
2010, 3-B and the Morgans orally agreed that the Morgans
would keep, graze, feed, and manage 3-B's cattle. In
return, 3-B would pay the Morgans a per-head fee plus feed
costs. In December 2016, the parties disputed the number of
3-B's cattle in the Morgans' possession. 3-B alleges
that the Morgans overrepresented the number of cattle by at
least 803. On July 10, 2017, the parties met in Coffeyville,
Kansas, to resolve the matter. 3-B alleges that the Morgans
agreed to settle the dispute by paying 3-B a lump sum of
$865, 096 (the “Settlement Amount”). 3-B further
alleges that the Morgans signed a statement acknowledging
this Settlement Amount, paid $10, 000 of the Settlement
Amount that day, and orally promised to pay the remainder
within a week. The Morgans allege, however, that 3-B
unlawfully coerced them into signing a dictated statement and
paying the $10, 000.
Morgans paid 3-B $10, 000 on July 10, 2017, but they paid no
more of the alleged Settlement Amount within the next week or
any time thereafter. On April 18, 2018, 3-B sent a demand
letter to the Morgans, seeking the remainder of the alleged
Settlement Amount. A month later, on May 18, 2018, the
Morgans responded to the demand letter with a counteroffer.
On June 20, 2018, 3-B sent another letter to the Morgans,
proposing a new counteroffer, and enclosing a draft petition
to be filed in the District Court of Montgomery County. In
that letter, 3-B stated that the Morgans had 10 days to
respond, or else 3-B would file the petition.
before the deadline specified in 3-B's final offer, the
Morgans filed a lawsuit against 3-B in the District Court of
Nowata County, Oklahoma, seeking declaratory judgment and an
accounting. 3-B subsequently removed that action to the U.S.
District Court for the Northern District of
Oklahoma. 3-B then filed a Motion to Transfer the
case to this Court. On December 19, 2018, the U.S. District
Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma granted 3-B's
Motion to Transfer, holding that the Morgans anticipatorily
filed the Oklahoma lawsuit in an attempt to take advantage of
the “first-to-file” rule.
forewarned in its final demand letter, 3-B filed this action
in Kansas, in the Montgomery County District Court on July 3,
2018. 3-B seeks to enforce the alleged Settlement Agreement,
or alternatively assert claims for breach, fraud, fraud by
silence, negligent misrepresentation, conversion, and
replevin. The Morgans now have two motions pending before
this Court. First, they move to dismiss this case, or in the
alternative to transfer it to the U.S. District Court for the
Northern District of Oklahoma under a theory of forum non
conveniens. Second, the Morgans move to stay this case
pending the outcome of the prior case in the Northern
District of Oklahoma.
Court is the proper forum for the case. The Morgans argue
that the Court should dismiss this case because a previously
filed action was pending in the U.S. District Court for the
Northern District of Oklahoma. As mentioned above, that case
was transferred to this Court and consolidated into this
case. As a result, the Morgans' argument and motion are
moot. Likewise, the Morgans' motion to transfer this case
to the Northern District of Oklahoma under a theory of
forum non conveniens and their motion to stay this
case pending the outcome of the Oklahoma case are also moot.
As the Northern District of Oklahoma rightly noted, this
Court has jurisdiction over the parties, and this case
reflects the proper alignment of the parties in relation to
the dispute, with 3-B as Plaintiff and the Morgans as
Defendants. As such, the case shall proceed in this
IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Defendants' Motion to
Dismiss or in the Alternative Transfer based upon Forum
Non Conveniens (Doc. 6) is DENIED.
IS FURTHER ORDERED that Defendants' Notice of
Filing and Request to Hold Proceedings in Abeyance (Doc. 19)