Hannah FREDRICKSON, Ashley Krening, and Maurialee Bracke, Plaintiffs-Adverse Parties,
STARBUCKS CORPORATION, Defendant-Relator.
Original proceeding in mandamus. (CC 121215734)
and submitted April 11, 2018.
A. Shah, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, Washington
D.C., argued the cause for relator. Christopher R. McCracken,
David Wright Tremaine LLP, Portland, fled the briefs. Also on
the briefs were Daniel L. Nash, Pratik A. Shah, and James E.
Tysse, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, Washington
D.C., and Gregory W. Knopp, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer &
Feld LLP, Los Angeles, California.
Egan, Lake Oswego, argued the cause and fled the brief for
alternative writ of mandamus is dismissed as improvidently
allowed. The order allowing the petition for alternative writ
of mandamus is withdrawn, and the petition for a writ of
mandamus is denied.
Or. 811] Case Summary: Starbucks raised two questions in its
petition for a writ of mandamus: whether plaintiffs'
claims are prohibited by the AIA and whether they are
prohibited by the statutory immunity provisions. The court
issued an alternative writ of mandamus. Following briefing
and oral argument, however, the court concluded that the
questions raised in the mandamus petition were better
resolved in the ordinary trial and appellate process.
Held: The alternative writ of mandamus is dismissed
as improvidently allowed. The order allowing the petition for
alternative writ of mandamus is withdrawn, and the petition
for a writ of mandamus is denied.
Or. 812] PER CURIAM
original mandamus proceeding arises out of an underlying
wage-and-hour action. Plaintiffs in that action are former
Starbucks baristas. They sued Starbucks, claiming that it
improperly calculated state and federal tax withholdings and,
as a result, improperly deducted those withholdings from
plaintiffs' paychecks. Plaintiffs alleged that, because
of those improper deductions, Starbucks failed to pay them
the full wages that they had earned, violating state
wage-and-hour laws. As it related to those violations,
plaintiffs' complaint sought injunctive relief,
declaratory relief, and damages.
the case was removed to federal court and then remanded back
to state court, the trial court ruled on numerous issues.
Starbucks moved the trial court to dismiss plaintiffs'
claims on four grounds. First, Starbucks argued that
plaintiffs' complaint was a tax refund suit that was
preempted by a federal law, 26 USC § 7422(a), which
Starbucks argued requires plaintiffs to follow IRS refund
procedures before bringing such a suit. Second, because
plaintiffs are former, rather than current, employees,
Starbucks contended that they had no standing to seek
injunctive and declaratory relief. Third, Starbucks argued
that plaintiffs' claims were barred by the federal
Anti-Injunction Act of 1867, 26 USC § 7421(a) (AIA),
which prohibits claims attempting to restrain the assessment
or collection of federal taxes. Fourth, Starbucks maintained
that, because plaintiffs complained of conduct that occurred
in the course of tax-collection activities, Starbucks had
federal and state statutory immunity from plaintiffs'
claims. 26 USC § 3403; 26 USC § 3102(b); ORS
response to Starbucks' preemption argument, plaintiffs
abandoned any claim for damages in the form of a refund or
return of withheld wages. Plaintiffs explained that the money
damages that they had sought were only those provided by
state statutory law governing payment of wages. The parties
also filed cross-motions for summary judgment on a merits
question: whether Starbucks violated ORS 652.610(3), which
provides that "[a]n employer may not withhold, deduct or
divert any portion of an employee's [363 Or. 813] wages
unless *** [t]he employer is required to do so by law."
on plaintiffs' concession that they were not seeking a
return of the withheld wages, the trial court dismissed any
claim that plaintiffs had for a refund or return of the
withheld wages, but permitted plaintiffs' claims for
statutory damages to proceed. The trial court also agreed in
part with Starbucks' standing argument and dismissed
plaintiffs' claim for injunctive relief. But the court
held that plaintiffs had standing to seek a nonanticipatory
form of declaratory relief. The court also held that neither
the AIA nor statutory immunity barred plaintiffs'
remaining claims for statutory damages and nonanticipatory
declaratory relief. And, on the merits issue, the trial court
ruled in favor of plaintiffs, concluding that Starbucks'
withholding of taxes based on unreported tip income was not
required by either state or federal tax law.
petitioned this court for an alternative writ of mandamus. In
its petition, Starbucks raised two questions: whether
plaintiffs' claims are prohibited by the AIA and whether
they are prohibited by the statutory immunity provisions.
This court issued an alternative writ of mandamus. After the
trial court declined to vacate its order, the matter returned
to this court.
briefing and oral argument, however, we now conclude that the
questions raised in the mandamus petition are better resolved
in the ordinary trial and appellate process. Accordingly, we
exercise our discretion to decline resolving those questions,
and dismiss the petition as improvidently allowed. See
State v. Blok, 352 Or. 394, 400, 287 P.3d 1059 (2012)
("This court's exercise of its mandamus power is
discretionary"); Or Const, Art VII (Amended), § 2
("[T]he supreme court may, in its own discretion, take
original jurisdiction in mandamus [.]").
initial matter, there are questions about whether both issues
are appropriately raised in a mandamus proceeding. Mandamus
is appropriate only if there is no "plain, speedy and
adequate remedy in the ordinary course of the law." ORS
34.110. Generally, "[d]irect appeal is [363 Or. 814] an
adequate remedy unless the relator would suffer a special
loss beyond the burden of litigation by being forced to
trial." State ex rel Automotive Emporium v.
Murchison,289 Or. 265, 269, 611 P.2d 1169 (1980). To
determine whether direct appeal provides Starbucks with an