Blevins et al v. Aksut et al
Order, re: Plaintiff's 100 Appeal of the Magistrate's Order of April 17, 2015 staying discovery. The Magistrates Order of April 17, 2015 (Doc. 95 ) is hereby AFFIRMED. Signed by Judge Callie V. S. Granade on 4/29/2015. (mab)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
ELIZABETH BLEVINS, et al.,
SEYDI VAKKAS AKSUT, et al.,
) CIVIL ACTION NO. 15-0120-CG-B
This matter is before the court on the Plaintiffs’ Appeal of the Magistrate’s
Order of April 17, 2015 staying discovery. (Doc. 100). For the reasons explained
below, the court finds that the Order of April 17, 2015 (Doc. 95) should be affirmed.
Upon a party’s appeal or objection to any non-dispositive matter assigned to
the magistrate judge, the district court “shall consider such objections and shall
modify or set aside any portion of the magistrate judge’s order found to be clearly
erroneous or contrary to law.” FED. R. CIV. P. 72(a); accord San Shiah Enterprise
Co., Ltd. v. Pride Shipping Corp., 783 F.Supp. 1334, 1335 (S.D. Ala. 1992); see also
28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A) (“A judge of the court may reconsider any pretrial matter
under this subparagraph (A) where it has been shown that the magistrate judge’s
order is clearly erroneous or contrary to law.”). The Magistrate Judge’s orders
“should not be disturbed absent a clear abuse of discretion that leaves the reviewing
court with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed.”
Rowlin v. Alabama Dept. of Public Safety, 200 F.R.D. 459, 460 (M.D. Ala.
The Magistrate Judge granted the motion of Defendant Vaughan Regional
Medical Center (“Vaughn”)(Doc. 13), “to the extent it seeks to stay discovery.” (Doc.
95, p. 5). Defendant Vaughn had asserted that facial challenges attacking the
sufficiency of a plaintiff’s claim should be resolved before any discovery begins.
Plaintiffs argued that they should be granted leave to conduct discovery in order to
respond to certain issues raised in the numerous motions filed by Defendants. The
Magistrate Judge noted the numerous dispositive motions pending, but found that
it was in the best interests of all involved to stay discovery because the harm caused
by a discovery delay was less than the possibility that some of the twenty plus
claims will be dismissed and eliminate the need for such discovery. (Doc. 95, pp. 45).
Plaintiffs argue on appeal that jurisdictional discovery is potentially needed
to respond to the motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction by LifePoint
Hospital (“LifePoint”) and that factual discovery is needed to respond to the
remaining dispositive motions that rely upon a finding of facts. Plaintiff asserts
that under Eaton v. Dorchester Dev., Inc., 692 F.2d 727 (11th Cir. 1982), the
“Plaintiff must be given an opportunity to develop facts sufficient to support a
determination on the issue of jurisdiction.” Ibid. at 731.
The court notes that Plaintiffs contend in their response to LifePoint’s motion
to dismiss that LifePoint is subject to personal jurisdiction in Alabama pursuant to
RICO’s provision for nationwide service of process: 18 U.S.C. § 1965(d). As such,
Plaintiffs assert that there is no need for a minimum contacts analysis that would
require a factual determination. Additionally, Plaintiff has moved to remand this
case and the motion to remand must be resolved before the court can address the
defendants’ dispositive motions. See Nichols v. Se. Health Plan of Ala., Inc., 859
F.Supp. 553, 559 (S.D. Ala. 1993) (holding that motions to dismiss cannot be ruled
upon when remand is proper). If this court were to grant the motion to remand,
then this court would never reach the other pending motions. The court also notes
that most of the issues raised in defendants’ motions are facial attacks for which no
evidence is needed. In fact, Defendant Vaughn only moved to stay the case pending
a determination of its motion to dismiss (Doc. 10), which it contends asserts only
facial challenges. Plaintiff is correct that in some of the motions Defendants have
asserted factual challenges in addition to facial challenges. For instance Baptist
Medical Center South asserts that some claims are due to be dismissed against it
because Dr. Aksut did not treat some of the plaintiffs at Baptist Medical Center
South and has supported such contentions with affidavit evidence. (Doc. 20-1).
However, the Magistrate Judge only granted Vaughn’s motion to stay discovery
pending the resolution of Vaughn’s facial challenges.
Although Plaintiffs apparently understood the Magistrate’s order as staying
discovery until all pending motions were ruled upon, the motion to stay only sought
a stay pending the resolution of Vaughn’s motion to dismiss and was only granted to
that extent. The Magistrate Judge did not indicate that the court would rule on any
factual challenges before Plaintiffs have an opportunity to conduct discovery. The
Magistrate’s Order stays all discovery, but if the court determines that factual
evidence is necessary to resolve LifePoint’s motion to dismiss or to resolve any other
pending motions, the court will lift the stay before ruling on those motions. Because
the motion to remand and Vaughn’s motion to dismiss could significantly change
the course of this action and alter the scope of discovery, the undersigned finds that
the Magistrate Judge did not abuse her discretion in granting Defendant Vaughn’s
motion to stay discovery until Vaughn’s motion to dismiss was resolved.
Accordingly, the Magistrate’s Order of April 17, 2015 (Doc. 95) is hereby
DONE and ORDERED this 29th day of April, 2015.
/s/ Callie V. S. Granade
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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