Myers v. Koopman
ORDER denying 183 Defendant's Motion to Stay Discovery Pending Ruling on Defendant's Request for Witness Immunity, by Magistrate Judge Michael E. Hegarty on 4/12/2012. (mehcd)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLORADO
Civil Action No. 09-cv-02802-REB-MEH
JEREMY C. MYERS,
BRIAN KOOPMAN, in his individual capacity,
ORDER ON DEFENDANT’S MOTION TO STAY
Before the Court is Defendant’s Motion to Stay Discovery Pending Ruling on Defendant’s
Request for Witness Immunity [filed April 10, 2012; docket #183]. The matter has been referred
to this Court for disposition [docket #184]. For the reasons that follow, Defendant’s motion is
The Plaintiff instituted this action on December 1, 2009, but filed an Amended Complaint
on March 2, 2011 following Judge Blackburn’s order resolving various motions for summary
judgment filed by the present and former Defendants. See dockets ##126, 127. The case arises
from an incident that occurred on Plaintiff’s property in Loveland, Colorado, on September 6, 2007.
Amended Complaint, docket #127 at 1. According to Plaintiff, who brings this action pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983, the Defendant obtained an invalid search warrant, and unlawfully and maliciously
prosecuted Plaintiff when Defendant attempted to “rid the community of a large-scale
methamphetamine production facility.” See id.
Defendant responded to the Amended Complaint by filing a motion to dismiss pursuant to
Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). On June 17, 2011, Judge Blackburn granted in part and denied in part the
motion, and dismissed the Defendant City of Loveland from the case. Docket #140. Defendant filed
a notice of appeal, and the case was stayed pending resolution of the appeal. See docket #164. The
Tenth Circuit issued an order on February 14, 2012 affirming Judge Blackburn’s decision. Docket
#166. Thus, the sole remaining claim against Defendant Koopman is Plaintiff’s claim for malicious
prosecution. See Amended Complaint, docket #127.
Defendant responded to the Amended Complaint by filing an answer and a motion for
judgment on the pleadings. Dockets ## 168, 169. Discovery commenced; this Court then set a
Status Conference to determine the status of discovery and any necessary scheduling in the case.
Docket #172. Subsequently, Defendant filed the present motion to stay discovery pending a ruling
on his request for witness immunity made in the pending dispositive motion. Defendant asserts that
he has “raised the issue of witness immunity pursuant to Rehberg [v. Paulk, -- S. Ct. --, 2012 WL
1069091 (Apr. 2, 2012)] in connection with Koopman’s testimony at plaintiff’s preliminary hearing
in the underlying criminal case, which serves in part as the basis for plaintiff’s sole malicious
prosecution claim.” Docket #183 at 1-2. He argues that, consequently, the Court should decide the
question of witness immunity prior to permitting any further discovery in this case. Id. at 2. The
Plaintiff does not object to the requested stay. Docket #186.
The decision to issue a protective order and thereby stay discovery rests within the sound
discretion of the trial court. Wang v. Hsu, 919 F.2d 130, 130 (10th Cir. 1990). Such protection is
warranted, upon a showing of good cause, to “protect a party or person from annoyance,
embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(c). Here, Defendant
seeks protection from the burden of discovery at this stage in the case. A stay of all discovery is
generally disfavored in this District. Chavez v. Young Am. Ins. Co., No. 06-2419, 2007 WL 683973,
at *2 (D. Colo. Mar. 2, 2007).
In this matter, staying the case while Defendant’s motion for judgment on the pleadings is
pending could substantially delay the ultimate resolution of the matter, with adverse consequences
such as a decrease in evidentiary quality and witness availability. As stated above, the case was
initiated more than two years ago in December 2009 and discovery has been stayed for the majority
of the litigation. Apparently, only some discovery has taken place since February 2012. See docket
#171 at ¶ 2.
A party seeking a protective order under Rule 26(c) cannot sustain the burden of
demonstrating good cause merely by relying upon speculation or conclusory statements. TolbertSmith v. Bodman, 253 F.R.D. 2, 4 (D.D.C. 2008).
The movant must show specific facts
demonstrating that the challenged discovery will result in a clearly defined and serious injury to the
party seeking protection. Id.; see also Exum v. United States Olympic Comm., 209 F.R.D. 201, 206
(D. Colo. 2002). In this matter, Defendant articulates no actual reason for a stay, but merely states
that “[t]he Court would act well within its discretion to decide the threshold question of witness
immunity prior to permitting further discovery.” Docket #183 at ¶ 2. Typically, movants for a stay
of proceedings assert a “burden” from the requirements of discovery; however, defendants always
are burdened when they are sued, whether the case ultimately is dismissed, summary judgment is
granted, the case is settled, or a trial occurs. See Chavez, supra. Here, there is no evidence of a
special burden on the Defendant.
Generally, it is the policy in this district not to stay discovery pending a ruling on dispositive
motions. See Ruampant v. Moynihan, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57304, *4-5 (D. Colo. Aug. 14, 2006).
This is particularly true in cases like this one, pending before Judge Blackburn, who instructs the
parties that motions having the effect of delaying proceedings “are strongly discouraged because of
the adverse effects they have on case management.” REB Practice Standards - Civil Actions, II.F.
and G. Trial dates have been vacated twice in this matter already. See dockets ##117, 163.
Moreover, Defendant concedes that the immunity defense applies to the Plaintiff’s claim only “in
part”; the Court sees no justification for staying the proceedings entirely based upon this partial
defense. Consequently, the general interests of controlling the court’s docket and the fair and
speedy administration of justice require that the present motion to stay discovery be denied.
Accordingly, for the reasons stated above, it is hereby ORDERED that Defendant’s Motion
to Stay Discovery Pending Ruling on Defendant’s Request for Witness Immunity [filed April 10,
2012; docket #183] is denied.
Dated at Denver, Colorado, this 12th day of April, 2012.
BY THE COURT:
Michael E. Hegarty
United States Magistrate Judge
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