Physicians Life Insurance Company v. Beavers et al
ORDER granting 16 Motion to Stay case pending entry of final judgment in the case pending in Probate Court of Mobile County, AL; the parties shall file a joint status report within 7 days of final judgment; if final judgment has not been reach by 1/12/18 the parties shall fine a joint status report by 1/16/18. Signed by Magistrate Judge Katherine P. Nelson on 10/30/17. (srr)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
MARY MORRIS BEAVERS,
MICHAEL R. MORRIS, and
MICHELLE MORRIS MELVIN,
Individually and as TRUSTEES of
the Living Trust of MARY M.
BEAVERS, and THOMAS J.
CIVIL ACTION 17-00447-N
This matter is before the Court on Defendants Michael R. Morris and
Michelle Morris Melvin’s (“Defendants”) Motions to Stay (Doc. 13, 14, and 16)1 and
Plaintiff’ Physicians Life Insurance Company’s (“Plaintiff”) response (Doc. 17).
As detailed in the Complaint, this matter involves a dispute regarding
beneficiaries and owners of a number of annuities. (Doc. 1). Defendants move the
Court to stay this matter pending the outcome of a pertinent state probate
proceeding. As grounds, Defendants explain that Defendant Michelle Morris Melvin
has filed an Emergency Petition for Letters of Conservatorship and a Petition for
Letters of Conservatorship in the Probate Court of Mobile County Alabama. (Doc.
The Motion to Stay (Doc. 13) and First Amended Motion to Stay (Doc. 14) are MOOT, as they were
amended by the Second Motion to Stay (Doc. 16). Plaintiff was ordered to respond to the First
Amended Motion to Stay (Doc. 14). Ordinarily the Court would permit a response to the Second
Amended Motion (Doc. 16) before ruling. However, the Court has compared Doc. 14 with Doc. 16,
and there is no change in the substance of the Second Amended Motion to Stay. Thus, an additional
response is unnecessary.
16 at 2). Per the Second Amended Motion to Stay, “A determination of competency
has not yet been made by the Probate Court of Mobile County. Defendants expect
that this determination may be dispositive of the issues raised by the Plaintiff in
this suit, namely, who should be listed as beneficiaries of the annuities and who has
ownership of the annuities.” (Id.). Plaintiff’s response indicates that it “does not
oppose the imposition of an Order staying the case for a reasonable time with a
provision requiring the Movants to provide timely notice to the Court of
developments that would resolve this case or otherwise support lifting of the
proposed Order to Stay this proceeding.” (Doc. 16 at 2).
In general, a district court may stay an action as a means of controlling its
docket and managing its cases. Ortega Trujillo v. Conover & Co. Communications,
Inc., 221 F.3d 1262, 1264 (11th Cir. 2000) (citing Clinton v. Jones, 520 U.S. 681,
707 (1997) (“The District Court has broad discretion to stay proceedings as an
incident to its power to control its own docket.”). A district court may also stay an
action “pending the resolution of related proceedings in another forum.” Id. (citation
omitted). However, the “district court must limit properly the scope of the stay” and
the stay “must not be ‘immoderate.’” Id. “As the Supreme Court has explained, ‘[a]
stay is immoderate and hence unlawful unless so framed in its inception that its
force will be spent within reasonable limits, so far at least as they are susceptible of
prevision and description.’” Id. (quoting Landis v. North American Co., 299 U.S.
248, 257 (1936)).
Upon consideration, the Second Amended Motion to Stay (Doc. 16) is
GRANTED. This case is hereby STAYED pending entry of final judgment in the
case of In Re: The Estate of Mary Morris Beavers, pending in the Probate Court of
Mobile County, Alabama, Case No. 2017-1772. The parties shall file a joint status
report within seven (7) days of final judgment in the above referenced matter. If
final judgment has not been reached on or before Friday, January 12, 2018, the
parties shall file a joint status report on or before Tuesday, January 16, 2018.
DONE and ORDERED this the 30th day of October 2017.
/s/ Katherine P. Nelson
KATHERINE P. NELSON
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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