Johnson v. Midland Funding LLC
Order granting 10 MOTION to Stay filed by Midland Funding LLC. This action is STAYED through 11/17/2014. Signed by Chief Judge William H. Steele on 9/2/2014. (tgw)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
ALEIDA JOHNSON, etc.,
MIDLAND FUNDING, LLC,
) CIVIL ACTION 14-0322-WS-C
The defendant has filed a motion to stay. (Doc. 10). The basis of the
motion is that the plaintiff’s claim rests on a recent Eleventh Circuit decision1 and
that the defendant in that case has sought rehearing and rehearing en banc. The
defendant stresses that the Eleventh Circuit ruling adopts the minority position on
an issue of central importance to this lawsuit, and the defendant is hopeful the
Eleventh Circuit ultimately will change its mind and adopt the majority view. The
defendant seeks a three-month stay of all proceedings in this action “pending the
outcome of the petition for rehearing.” (Id. at 5). The plaintiff consents to a stay
so long as it expires upon “the ruling by the Eleventh Circuit on the Petition for
Rehearing En Banc.” (Doc. 12).
“[A] district court [may] exercise[e] its discretion to stay a case pending the
resolution of related proceedings in another forum ….” Ortega Trujillo v.
Conover & Co. Communications, Inc., 221 F.3d 1262, 1264 (11th Cir. 2000). “An
appeals court should reverse a district court’s stay order only when the stay is
immoderate.” Hines v. D’Artois, 531 F.2d 726, 733 (5th Cir. 1976) (internal
quotes omitted). “[W]e believe that whether or not a stay is immoderate is a
Crawford v. LVNV Funding, LLC, ___ F.3d ___, 2014 WL 3361226 (11th Cir.
function of two variables – the scope of the stay, and the reasons cited for ordering
it.” Id. (internal quotes omitted) (cited in Ortega Trujillo, 221 F.3d at 1264).
A stay is immoderate when its scope is indefinite, as when it is to last “until
the Bahamian Courts conclude their review.” Ortega Trujillo, 221 F.3d at 1264.2
The defendant, which cites Ortega Trujillo, sidesteps this objection by requesting
a stay of a precise, three-month duration. Such a stay would not be immoderate
based upon its scope.
The Court thus turns to the reason cited for seeking a stay. This is not the
usual case in which there is an open question pending in another forum, which
question is expected to be answered in that other forum. Here, the question has
already been answered – the defendant simply dislikes the answer and hopes the
answer will change. The defendant has pointed to no case approving a stay in
Nevertheless, because the proposed stay is confined to three months, and
because the plaintiffs do not oppose it, the Court exercises its discretion in favor of
a stay. The parties should not assume that the Court would grant an additional
stay, or series of stays, should this stay expire without a ruling from the Eleventh
Circuit, although the parties remain free to seek such an extension.
For the reasons set forth above, the defendant’s motion to stay proceedings
is granted. This action is stayed through and including November 17, 2014.
Unless extended by Court order, the stay expires at midnight on November 17,
DONE and ORDERED this 2nd day of September, 2014.
s/ WILLIAM H. STEELE
CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
See also CTI-Container Leasing Corp. v. Uiterwyk Corp., 685 F.2d 1284, 1286,
1288 (11th Cir. 1982) (a stay “pending determination by the Iran-United States Claims
Tribunal of its jurisdiction to hear these [third-party] claims” is indefinite); Hines, 531
F.2d at 728, 733 (a stay pending the filing of an EEOC charge and the final conclusion of
EEOC proceedings is indefinite).
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